Twenty-three schools from across the greater Belfast area came together recently at La Mon Hotel to take part in the final stage of the Irish FA’s enterprise programme.
Now in its second year, the ground breaking three year project is aimed at 15-16 year-olds and uses football to engage students on key business and enterprise awareness, from innovation and product design, to sales and marketing, to physically developing prototypes for the programme.
This year’s programme is funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), run by the Irish FA and sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland.
Over the last few months, in addition to developing and creating a Northern Ireland branded product; the pupils have received a number of enterprise and football related workshops on sales, marketing, manufacturing and business administration.
Pupils from the 23 schools presented their products and business plans on production, distribution and sales to six dragons from the world of business and marketing in a Dragons Den situation – Tracey Campbell, Irish FA Commercial Manager; Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions; Alice Quinn, NCBC CEO; Jill Crawford, BITC Director; Stephen Downey, Outsider Games and Elaine McKeown, Secure Ring.
After a day of excellent presentations, the six dragons had to select one winner and after some discussions everyone agreed that the pupils from Lagan College Belfast should receive the overall award. The team from Lagan College designed Bright Buddy and will now receive a grant to produce and sell 100 of the winning products in their school for school funds.
The programme has been made possible due to the generous support of the NI Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure through the ‘Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ programme.