Seven schools compete in regional competition

Tyler Lynch,  Adam Porter  Aaron Healey, Amy McCallion and Matthew Ferron, all from Ardnashee School and College, Derry.
Tyler Lynch, Adam Porter Aaron Healey, Amy McCallion and Matthew Ferron, all from Ardnashee School and College, Derry.

Over 180 pupils from seven schools have taken part in the north west heat of this year’s Invest Northern Ireland Step ‘N’ Zones competition.

The competition was organised to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 this week.

Dean Gallagher, St Joseph' s; Ethan Roddy, St Josephs; Conor Doherty, St Columb's;  Michael Mc Fadden, St Columb's.

Dean Gallagher, St Joseph' s; Ethan Roddy, St Josephs; Conor Doherty, St Columb's; Michael Mc Fadden, St Columb's.

Step ‘N’ Zones is a series of events across the north designed to inspire young people to be entrepreneurs.

The competition is aimed at students aged 11–14 (Key Stage 3) and challenges them to develop a business idea during a two and a half hour session.

Participating from the north west were Derry Schools Ardnashee School & College, St. Joseph’s Boys School, St. Columb’s College and Lumen Christ College.

St. Patrick’s College, Dungiven, St. Mary’s Limavady and Strabane Academy also took part.

Sharon Polson of Invest NI’s Enterprise and Employment Team said: “This is the fourth year we have run this competition as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and yet again we have been very impressed by the enthusiasm of all the students who took part.

“Entrepreneurship is vital to the future of our economy so it is important that we inspire our young people and provide them with the knowledge and confidence they need to pursue their ambition.

“The Step ‘N’ Zones competition is a great way to introduce young people to the idea of entrepreneurship and to help them develop skills such as communication, negotiation and problem solving.”

To help them with the process, the students pass through four Step ‘N’ Zones (Ideas & Research, Brand & Customers, Resources & Finance and Our Business) where they get expert guidance. The zones are facilitated by W5, YENI, Advantage NI, Sentinus and HDB Design.

Following the event the students can further develop their idea before finally submitting it online in December.

Up for grabs are cash prizes of up to £1,000 for the winning school and up to £100 in high street vouchers for each member of the winning team.

One group from each local event will be eventually be shortlisted to compete in a final Northern Ireland-wide event on Friday 23 January 2015.

The local heat of the competition was held in the City Hotel this week.

Each team member will receive £50 of high street vouchers, while the prize structure for final NI winners is a £1,000 cheque for the first prize school and £100 high street vouchers for each team member; £500 for the second place school and £50 vouchers for each team member; and £250 cheque for the third school, and £25 high street voucher.