Students take first steps to setting up own enterprises
23 May 2012
A number of students are on their way to setting up their own businesses after taking part in a specialised enterprise programme, run by the Council.
The 23 entrepreneurs have completed the latest round of the Belfast Enterprise Academy (BEA) which gave them first-hand experience of the work of businesses, helping them build contacts and providing them with the motivation to take their business ideas forward.
The Belfast Enterprise Academy was developed by Belfast City Council in partnership with Queen`s University, the University of Ulster and Belfast Metropolitan College. It was funded by the council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
The students were presented with certificates, at an end-of-year Celebration Event in the City Hall, on Friday.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Development Committee, said: “This is the third year of the Belfast Enterprise Academy with 130 applications for 20 places on this year`s programme – a demonstration of the demand for student enterprise support and the popularity of this programme.
“The students are all studying different courses and have varied interests but they have a common interest in taking responsibility for their future career. Their business ideas range across lots of different sectors – sustainability and waste management; event management; architecture; creative industries; tourism and marketing.
“Through the programme, they have been developing plans for how to take those ideas forward and meeting people who can help them along the way. I`d like to congratulate the BEA students for taking their career into their own hands and wish them every success with their business ideas,” he added.
Claire Kelly is in her final year of a BSc Degree in Business Studies at the University of Ulster. She joined Belfast Enterprise Academy with a few different ideas and has now a firm plan for a service to help Northern Ireland businesses access global markets.
"Many small companies find that a lack of knowledge about language, culture and red tape prevents them from trading with other countries,” she said. “My business idea is to provide them with a bespoke service to help them overcome the barriers that may be holding them back from lucrative markets.”
Natasha McCartan is another final year student at the University of Ulster, working towards a BA in Fine and Applied Art.
“The Belfast Enterprise Academy allowed me to get access to places I could never have experienced on my own. We saw behind the scenes at George Best City Airport and met the people behind the Titanic Quarter and Botanic Inns.
“Some of the contacts we made will be really useful. I have a business idea but going out on my own is really daunting - this programme has given me a lot more confidence,” she said.
Set up in 2009, over 60 students have completed the Belfast Enterprise Academy during this time. For further information on the BEA, contact the Council on (028) 9027 0229 or visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessprogrammes
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