Savvy students face ‘dragons’

Pupils from Ballyclare Secondary School who won the 'Pitch It' event at Mossley Mill. INNT 51-414-RM
Pupils from Ballyclare Secondary School who won the 'Pitch It' event at Mossley Mill. INNT 51-414-RM

savvy entrepreneurial students from across Newtownabbey got the chance to pitch their business ideas at a Dragons’ Den style event in Mossley Mill.

The ‘Pitch It’ event was the last stage of an entrepreneurship programme which was developed for schools as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week which took place during November.

In all 35 pupils from Newtownabbey Community High School, Ballyclare Secondary School, Monkstown Community School and Edmund Rice College all participated in the programme which included an idea generation workshop which explained the principles of entrepreneurship, followed by further workshops which allowed the students to develop a business idea.

The final step for the young entrepreneurs took place at the ‘Pitch It’ event which was hosted by local businesswoman, Deirdre Fitzpatrick.

Groups from the schools presented their business idea to the panel, which included Simon Devlin, managing director of Full Circle Management Solutions, Lisa Mayne, recycling manager for Newtownabbey Borough Council and Mayor Victor Robinson, who were all thoroughly impressed with the calibre of the young entrepreneurs.

Alderman Robinson commented: “All of the pupils presented extremely impressive proposals with strong potential to become highly successful businesses if taken forward.

“As a council we are committed to supporting and creating new opportunities for growth and investment in our local community and that is why events such as ‘Pitch It’ are so important.

“It helps develop the next generation of entrepreneurs in our borough and is key to securing future economic success for Newtownabbey.”

Despite the outstanding potential in all of the ideas presented, the panel had the unenviable task of choosing a winner and the Ballyclare Recycling Team from Ballyclare Secondary were crowned the champions.

Creating individually tailored clocks from recycled bicycle wheels showed the team understood the entrepreneurial concept of developing creative ideas to add value to existing products.

Lisa Mayne from the council said: “We are always looking for new ideas to reduce waste within the borough.

“Ballyclare Recycling Team’s innovative idea was a fantastic way to recycle an old, unwanted item into something totally new.”