Student award winner in a field of his own

Daniel Sawyers from Omagh overall winner of this year's Future Students of Business awards , is congratulated by Gerard Campbell, Colleges NI, John Friel, FSB, and Dr Stephen Farry, DEL Minister
Daniel Sawyers from Omagh overall winner of this year's Future Students of Business awards , is congratulated by Gerard Campbell, Colleges NI, John Friel, FSB, and Dr Stephen Farry, DEL Minister

A Tyrone student’s dedication and commitment to developing his own agri-business has helped him secure the top prize of £1,000 at this year’s Future Students of Business awards.

Daniel Sawyers, who is currently undertaking a BTEC Extended Diploma in Business at South West College in Omagh, scooped the award at the annual competition organised by the Federation of Small Businesses and Colleges NI after impressing the judges with his business acumen, innovative thinking and planning for the future.

As well as excelling in his studies, the Sixmilecross man has been busy establishing his own livestock business and is already selling his produce to two local abattoirs. The young entrepreneur is hoping to expand his business in the near future and is currently looking into a number of options aimed at reducing his energy costs while increasing his profit margins.

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry presented the joint Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Colleges Northern Ireland awards to eighteen of Northern Ireland’s top business students.

Held in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, the prestigious competition, which is now in its ninth year, celebrates the cream of business talent from Northern Ireland’s six regional Colleges and offers them an unrivalled platform to develop their skills and have them recognised by their peers and the public.

Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA said:

“The Northern Ireland economy needs young people with original ideas, to drive our economy forward.

“We need the spark that entrepreneurs provide, to help our economy emerge from this recession stronger than ever, to start new business and adopt innovative approaches, whatever their chosen career path.”

FSB Regional Chair, John Friel said year on year the business organisation was consistently impressed and encouraged at the sheer wealth of talented students and their business ideas found within the Further Education system.

“This year is no exception and once again the FSB is delighted to be able to reward the most promising business entrepreneurs Northern Ireland has to offer.

“Through our work with Colleges NI we provide college students with the ideal platform for progression into a business related discipline or the opportunity to run their own small business in the future.

“The FSB will continue to ensure our business and political leaders are fully aware of this important link between the economy and further education and will encourage them to invest in the economic future of Northern Ireland and fully realise the value of the Colleges here, the courses they provide and their positive contribution to the economy and world of business.”

Colleges NI Chief Executive, Gerry Campbell said:

“There is growing recognition of the fantastic entrepreneurial talent that continues to progress through our Regional Colleges. I am pleased and excited that many of Colleges NI’s graduates continue to make the leap from Further and Higher education into the world of business. I am confident that these students will progress further to become the business leaders of tomorrow.

“Colleges NI are delighted to work with the Federation of Small Businesses in promoting and delivering this innovative event. We know that support for our SMEs is essential as our economy works its way out of recession and the FSB’s investment in Northern Ireland’s students and support for the Regional Colleges is an endorsement in the bright and positive future of Northern Ireland. “

“The ‘Future Students of Business Awards’ is an example of the strong emphasis that Colleges give to supporting entrepreneurship and an economically relevant curriculum. Our Colleges continue to deliver exceptionally high quality learning opportunities and skills that remain vital to the future of Northern Ireland plc.”