The hard work and creativity of future entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, is set to be acknowledged at the Future Student of Business Awards taking place at Titanic Belfast this week. The prestigious awards ceremony is jointly organised and sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses (UK’s largest business organisation) and Colleges Northern Ireland (the representative body for the six regional Further Education Colleges across NI).
With an increased focus on the value of education and training and the contribution it can make to the Northern Ireland economy, the event to be held on Monday 8th December, will herald the eleventh successive year of the Future Students of Business Awards. The Awards seek to recognise and reward the best business ideas from students at our FE colleges.
Leanne O’Neill, proud owner of The Dance Factory School of Performing Arts in Omagh and past student of South West College in Omagh (Foundation Degree in Business), was the overall winner in the 2013 awards ceremony.
“I am delighted to attend the launch of the FSB Awards for 2014. As the overall winner for FSB 2013, the prize enabled me to take on an additional member of staff on a part time basis, freeing me up to concentrate on expanding my business. Since winning the Future Student of Business last year, The Dance Factory has since expanded to premises which are four times our original size and I have now employed two staff members which has been indispensable to me in extending my business. I wish this year’s competitors all the best with their business ideas.”
Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA said:
“I congratulate both Colleges Northern Ireland and the Federation of Small Businesses for this initiative which demonstrates the value my Department and the Executive place on dynamic, enterprising individuals. Entrepreneurship has long been recognised as important in driving economic growth - it is one of the key forces for innovation and productivity growth. The Further Education sector is pivotal to this process - all six colleges are fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst their students, providing opportunities for them to put their ideas into practice.”
Northern Ireland FSB Regional Chairman, John Friel added:
“The FSB is delighted once again to recognise and reward the most promising business students our Further Education Colleges have to offer. As we look forward to the recovery gaining momentum in the next year, we need to celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the next generation because it is they who will facilitate and shape the long term social and economic development of Northern Ireland which has been over-dependant on the public sector for too long.”
Colleges NI Chief Executive, Gerry Campbell concluded:
“These awards are testament to the excellent work across our Colleges in terms of fostering the spirit of enterprise and giving learners from many backgrounds the skills they need to become the successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Colleges NI are delighted to work with the Federation of Small Businesses. I am pleased to say that the standard of entries this year is higher than ever which is testament to the dedication, hard work and professionalism of our College lecturers. We know that support for our SMEs is essential as we build on the foundations of economic recovery and the FSB’s investment in Northern Ireland’s students and support for the colleges is an investment in the future of Northern Ireland.”