A NUMBER of students from Strabane Academy recently participated in the Young Enterprise programme, showcasing their products for sale to the public at St George’s Market, Belfast.
St George’s Market hosted over 700 students from over 60 schools across Northern Ireland, who showcased their start-up businesses at the event, as well as their products, which they developed from conception to production in just three months.
The programme takes each student on a business start-up journey that enables the development of business and entrepreneurial skills, while giving them their first opportunity to trade by launching their product for sale at St George’s Market.
The students are responsible for developing an initial product idea, developing it into a real product for sale, creating a business plan, raising capital to fund production, before marketing and selling their product to the general public – hopefully generating a profit.
Young people from the ages of 10 to 18 were selling everything from handmade jewellery to a new brand of locally sourced coffee, and from wooden mobile phone cases to a new app for dog walkers.
Dylan Hamilton (16) is a student at Strabane Academy, and was the managing director of the school’s company, Baby Essentials. Dylan, along with fellow classmates Zara O’Neill, Jake Hendly, Harry McCrossan, William McAuley, and Rebekah Coyle, came up with the idea to make baby hampers for newborn boys and girls, as well as hampers for newborns when the gender is unknown.
He said, “The thought of getting hands-on experience in running a business is what made me interested in the project.
“More and more babies are being born each year, so the market for baby products is growing.
“The idea behind our hamper is to make it faster and easier to get the essentials, without having to buy them individually.”
Dylan encourages others to get involved in the Young Enterprise programme in the future, saying, “I would 100 per-cent recommend the programme to others. It’s a wonderful experience that shows you what it’s like to run a business and make important decisions.”
Carol Fitzsimons, CEO of Young Enterprise, said that every year the Young Enterprise programmes “raise the bar when it comes to product creation, innovation, development, and selling techniques.”
She added, “From fairy doors to craft packs, and artisan coffee to jewellery, mobile apps, gift sets, and more, the selection of products on show at The Big Market 2017 was nothing short of excellent.”