Enterprising students win top award

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The Young Enterprise company from Friends’ School has been named Young Enterprise Northern Ireland Company of the Year by the charity and its panel of volunteer judges.

At the prestigious Young Enterprise Awards 2015 held on Thursday May 7 at Belfast City Hall with support from Ulster University Business School and EY, they finished off an exciting year exploring entrepreneurship and developing their business skills with the top award of the night.

The company has secured the opportunity to represent Northern Ireland in the Young Enterprise UK Company of the Year competition finals held in London this July.

Managing Director of ActiKids, Jake Lewis commented: “This has been absolutely amazing, I couldn’t be any happier.”

Young Enterprise Chairman Ciaran Sheehan summed up the feedback from the judging panel who decided upon the winning company following a series of 6 presentations and interviews with the finalist companies.

“The head of one of the largest venture capital companies in Northern Ireland was chair of our judging panel,” he explained. “He said to me, ‘I’ve seen talent at this year’s competition that would actually be better than some of the professional companies that would come to me to present, looking for large scale multi-million pound investments’.”

The company was also awarded the ASDA Retail Excellence Award, having secured sales opportunities in both Waterstones and Smyth Patterson in Lisburn as well as attending many specially organised Young Enterprise Trade Fairs in some of Northern Ireland’s major shopping centres.

Local businessmen Roger Kennedy of Aiken Kennedy Financial Planning and Gavin Partridge, an experienced business consultant were Volunteer Business Advisers to the winning group.

Also on the night Parkview Special School student Junior Rooney was nominated for the Young Entrepreneur Award for his role in the school’s first Young Enterprise company ‘Chalkie-woccy-doo-dah’.