A Newtownabbey student has reached the final of a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition for his sustainable joinery business idea.
Twenty-four-year-old Michael Hogan, from Belfast Metropolitan College, was one of seven entrepreneurial students who pitched his expansion plan to a panel of “Business Launchpad” judges at the new e3 building of the Springfield campus.
Michael’s idea to grow his bespoke joinery and interior fit-out company, which focuses on using sustainable and recycled materials and products, secured him a place in the final.
‘Big Small Bespoke’ is already up and running and builds on Michael’s five years’ experience in joinery, through which he developed his emphasis on fine craftsmanship and traditional woodworking methods.
Recently, he completed work at One Hyde Park, one of London’s most exclusive and expensive development schemes, while working for Mivan.
This year, Michael will start his HND in construction to expand his professional expertise in the industry.
Michael said: “Business Launchpad really appealed to me because it gave me relevant and real experience in progressing my business idea from conception to launch, allowing me not only to learn about business planning, but also try my hand at real experience opportunities like the live pitching to local entrepreneurs. It has given me a real sense of the challenges involved in growing a business and introduced me to some valid routes to success. I am delighted to have made it to the final.”
Business Launchpad allows students enrolled on a full-time or part-time course at Belfast Met or North West Regional College to develop their business ideas and provide stepping stones for setting up a business.
Throughout the programme, students explored potential business ideas, held interactive workshops with local entrepreneurs, availed of tailored guidance and mentoring and wrote a business plan.
Seven students from over 170 reached the final stage of the programme and pitched their business idea to a panel of four business owners - Mary McCall, founder and managing director of TreatTicket.com, Jacqui O’Doherty, investment executive at eSynergy, Dr. Paul Beaney, project manager at VITAL, and Frankie McCourt, regional economic development at Invest NI.
Business Launchpad was formed through partnership of Belfast Met, North West Regional College, Advantage and Invest NI.