Limavady teen’s plans for start-up business progress

St Mary's Limavady student, Erin Bennett.
St Mary's Limavady student, Erin Bennett.
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A Limavady teenager has secured her place on a high-profile summer internship at the Northern Ireland Science Park.

The Science Park’s Generation Innovation programme is hosting six teenage interns this summer who will each have a unique opportunity to progress their own start-up business throughout July and August.

Erin Bennett, a 17-year-old student at St Mary’s, Limavady, is developing a device which allows medical practitioners to continually monitor and evaluate the condition of an asthmatic patient.

The Internship Prize Fund is a collaboration between the NI Science Park and two local entrepreneurs, Tom O’Gorman and Jim Finnegan. Each of the six finalists has been awarded a summer internship worth £2,000. In addition, the six teenage entrepreneurs have been assigned a mentor and will receive 8 weeks of business coaching, including marketing, finance, legal and pitch training.

At the end of the summer, all six will pitch their business idea to a panel of judges with one teen securing an additional £10,000 prize and a year of mentoring to develop their business further.

Erin said: “By analysing the breathing patterns of an asthmatic patient using graphical analysis, the medical professional will be able to advise the patient on how they can improve their breathing technique so that their medication may be absorbed sufficiently into their respiratory system.

“If the patients breathing technique is correct, the medical practitioner will know that the patient is taking their medication correctly. By using this methodology, medical professionals would be able to predict when a patient would get sick because their medication isn’t being absorbed correctly. I hope to make impact on the biomedical engineering field and secure a significant position and reputation within this speciality.”

Dr Joanne Stuart, Director of Development at the Northern Ireland Science Park, said: “The chosen six will now get the chance to develop their business further, with mentoring and guidance from our successful entrepreneurs in the Science Park network. It is this invaluable advice which will help them to challenge and ultimately refine their current business models.”

Tom O’Gorman, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful business investors, and Jim Finnegan, a key investor in local start-ups, both worked with the NI Science Park to develop the unique initiative.

Tom said, “It was inspiring to listen to all of the pitches and it was a hard task to pick our final six, but we believe that we have selected a strong and diverse mix of business ideas, all with commercial potential.”

Jim said, “Having the opportunity to hear from all of the shortlisted entrants re-iterated my belief that in Northern Ireland, we have many talented people with quality ideas. This programme will enable us to provide the type of support to help our young entrepreneurs to have the best chance of success with their business ideas.”

For more information on Generation Innovation, visit Facebook.com/geninnovators or Twitter @geninnovators