Young entrepreneurs get into business
Budding young entrepreneurs are being supported by the local business community in their efforts to develop new enterprises. The 22 students from the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast are taking part in the Belfast Enterprise Academy (BEA), funded by Belfast City Council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
They met with their mentors – existing entrepreneurs from different business fields – at a special event in Madison’s Hotel where they were given advice on starting a new business and guidance on their business plans.
Programme participant Adelane Laoubi’s idea for a new business is within the construction industry and he is being mentored by Peter McCormick from the Oasis Group, an entrepreneur who started up and sold his first business when he was a student and has now set up several businesses.“Even during our first chat, Peter helped me to see how to make my business idea more innovative which is very exciting,” Adelane said.
Thom Dickerson is getting support from mentor Ken Magee from Gametheworld Ltd. “The BEA programme suits me because we get a package of support individually tailored to us and our needs. Everyone’s business ideas are at different stages so the spectrum of support we need varies massively yet the range of mentors and support the Belfast Enterprise Academy provides, caters for everyone,” he said.
Belfast Enterprise Academy is aimed at degree students living in Belfast who would like to become entrepreneurs. The students get to meet real entrepreneurs from different fields and have the chance to ask questions and get advice as well as learn how to overcome some of the challenges faced by new entrepreneurs.
The programme entails a residential business challenge; workshop sessions on making business work; one-to-one mentoring with expert business mentors; best practice visits to successful businesses across Ireland, help with a business action plan and signposting to further business support.