Young Enterprise and Startacus kick off Exporting Founders programme for early stage exporters

Young Enterprise and Startacus have launched the Exporting Founders programme with Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 5:00 pm

Targeted at early stage entrepreneurs aged 18-30, the pilot programme seeks to educate and inform those developing their business ideas about the benefits of an international market for their business.

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, CEO of Young Enterprise, explained: “The Young Enterprise charity is well known for our work in schools to develop entrepreneurial intent, and this programme is built to build on this foundation. We recognise that those early in their entrepreneurial journey, whether alumni of our programmes or not, value additional support to build their network and gain knowledge on important topics such as export, before they start their business.”

Run over a proposed 12-14 week period, the programme provides founders and potential founders with the knowledge to start, grow and sustain a business and create relevant business connections and pathways to build a route into developing a business that includes cross border and international trade as part of their initial plan.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Joel White, Young Enterprise alumnus, Carol Fitzsimons, CEO, Young Enterprise NI, Aimee Clint, Young Enterprise alumna, Alastair Cameron, co-founder, Startacus and Gordon Lyons, Economy Minister

Speaking at the launch at Clockwise Belfast co-working space, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, said: “I am excited to launch this pilot with Young Enterprise and Startacus. The initiative connects well with my Department’s 10X Skills Strategy by seeking to create a culture of lifelong learning in our young people that have entrepreneurial intent, and supporting them to drive economic growth. Having met with some Young Enterprise alumni today, I can see the value in investing in the development of the entrepreneurs of the future through developing their skills at an early stage. I am keen to ensure that we continue to promote business start-ups within the NI market but also, as this pilot does, to equip them with the skills to trade internationally.”

The programme builds on the success of the NW female-focused Impacting Founders initiative which the Young Enterprise/Startacus team ran last year which connected early stage female founders with business specialists and support networks.

Alastair Cameron, co-founder of Startacus said “Startacus is delighted to be collaborating with Young Enterprise NI once again, following the success of the Impacting Founders programme.

“We are keen to ensure that the Exporting Founders programme will provide early-stage startups and indeed anyone considering starting a business in NI, with the skills, knowledge and connections to make cross-border and international trade a core part of their business strategy.”

Raising awareness of wider links with other business networks is a key component to provide long lasting support networks that the founders can pathway into.

If you are interested in finding out more, connect at

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you