Young entrepreneurs learn about business

David Bell, Ryan Bowie, Shannon Lilley and Craig Osborne taking part in the social enterprise programme. INNT 09-002-PSB  Pic by Phillip Byrne
David Bell, Ryan Bowie, Shannon Lilley and Craig Osborne taking part in the social enterprise programme. INNT 09-002-PSB Pic by Phillip Byrne

Rathfern Activity Centre is running a special social enterprise programme for local teenagers.

The 20-week course gives young people aged 17 - 19 years the opportunity to learn about running a successful business with the primary aim of addressing a social problem locally.

The teenagers in Rathfern are exploring social enterprise ideas that could lead to them becoming young social entrepreneurs within their local area, potentially working to tackle serious problems within their community such as drug and alcohol abuse, animal cruelty and anti-social behaviour.

Supported by the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme, the innovative project at Rathfern Activity Centre is helping the young people explore their potential as social entrepreneurs. It is also allowing them to gain a new Social Enterprise Qualification in the process.

The SEQ Award, one of the first of its kind in the UK, allows students to go through the process of setting up a social enterprise step by step, supported by tutors and mentors, and culminates in the students running a social enterprise event where they put all their learning into action. Students create a portfolio of work which is then assessed by the Real Ideas Organisation - a social enterprise that brings imaginative and ethical business thinking to schools and educational programmes across the UK.

Commenting on the success of the ongoing programme, which the young participants have described as “fun and interesting”, George Thompson, Chairman of Rathfern Activity Centre, said: “This has been a very successful experience for our young people, and we hope that our second programme is just as successful.”

Recruitment for the second programme is now under way. Anyone aged 17 - 24 who is interested in taking part should contact Rathfern Activity Centre on 028 9086 5917.