Bright young entrepreneurs!

Pupils from Portrush PS.
Pupils from Portrush PS.

OVER 700 pupils from 18 primary schools and 11 post primary schools from across the borough of Coleraine attended a series of three Enterprise Roadshows organised by Causeway Enterprise Agency to introduce students to the concept of entrepreneurship.

For these unique events Causeway Enterprise Agency whisks local pupils off to the Golf Links Hotel Portrush for a full day of enterprising workshops. Throughout the day pupils move from zone to zone to meet real life business people and take part in discussions and simulations that will help them to understand what it’s really like to set up and run your own business. Each of the activities and business people are carefully selected to encourage students to ‘think outside the box’.and consider career options for the future that they may not have previously considered.

Each year in March Causeway Enterprise Agency funded by Causeway Business Education Partnership and the Department of Education runs the Enterprise Roadshows for both Primary and Secondary Schools. These events are a highlight in the school calendar and in 2013 the agency also introduced the STEM roadshow which focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths disciplines.

Schools attending the various Roadshows at Lush came from Coleraine, Portstewart, Kilrea, Macosquinn, Garvagh, Bushmills, Castlerock, Portrush and Ballycastle.

These events offer a new prospective to learning, offering experience-based inquiry and therefore provide a major opportunity for practical learning. The road shows require students to participate in taking part in simulations and solving age appropriate problems that encourage original thought.

Through the 5 workshops the business professionals introduce creativity and innovation to help students with career exploration and development and inspire students to take an early look at what it would be like to own their own business.

When asked why the Enterprise Roadshows have been developed and continue to attract bigger numbers each year organiser Jayne Taggart of Causeway Enterprise Agency and Secretary of Causeway Business Education Partnership responded:

“It is essential for our young people to learn about entrepreneurship and self-employment and engage with real life business people to learn from their experience. The private sector has an ever increasingly vital role to play in the future stability of the NI economy which is currently over reliant on public sector jobs. In the NI economy, the private sector consists of a very large number of small and micro-businesses, with an estimated total of 68,500 businesses of which 89% have less than 10 employees. These micro businesses form the lifeblood of the NI economy.

Recent statistics also show that the number of people becoming self-employed to earn a living having grown by 10% since the start of the economic downturn therefore it is more important than ever for our young people to understand the meaning of entrepreneurship and to be aware of the challenges and opportunities that self-employment can offer.

The children, teachers and facilitators alike take away valuable lessons from the day and we are delighted to be able to continue to offer this initiative each year thanks to funding from Causeway Business Education Partnership and the Department of Education.

CEA’s long history of providing business support combined with our network of contacts is a priceless resource and we are perpetually thankful to our entrepreneurs for facilitating the event and to the Golf Links Hotel for providing such a fabulous venue ever year, Lush gives the event that extra WOW factor with the students. As I walk around the zones throughout the day and observe the pupils getting involved in the tasks I take great pride in knowing that they are the future innovators, bright stars and business leaders of tomorrow and hopefully our Roadshows have helped to inspire them.”