IlumiNight Named Company of The Year 2014

Northern Ireland’s top young entrepreneurs were recognised at the Young Enterprise Northern Ireland Company of the Year Awards held at Belfast City Hall on Wednesday 14th May with support from Invest NI, Ulster Business School and EY. The students were the finalists in the Company and Team programmes, part funded by the Department of Education, which provide the ultimate entrepreneurship experience for young people.

Students from Christian brothers Grammar School, Omagh were named as Company of the Year for 2014 at the prestigious awards ceremony. Their business, named ‘IlumiNight’, developed a range of fashionable high-visibility clothing and accessories with an aim to keep people safe at night. The company were also presented for the ASDA Retail Excellence Award. The company will now represent Northern Ireland in the Young Enterprise Innovation Awards in London on 1st July.

Awards were also presented to students with special educational needs who took part in the ‘Team Programme’. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Mohammid Islam from Tor Bank School while the Company of the Year accolade was presented to ‘Foybels’ a company from the to-be-amalgamated Belmont House and Foyleview Special School’s in Derry-Londonderry.

The Entrepreneur of the Future Award was presented to Mary Thompson from Lisneal College who was chosen by a panel of top business people for having shown great potential as a future leader.

Young Enterprise is the leading charity for business education in Northern Ireland, offering young people the chance to start businesses alongside volunteer business mentors from the local business community.

Young Enterprise NI Chief Executive Carol Fitzsimons commented: “We are proud of our 2014 winners and all who have taken part our programmes this year. Each of these young people has worked with our volunteers to develop skills in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship that they will take forward as they build their future careers. They demonstrate strongly how we can create an entrepreneurial culture, encouraging business start up as a strong career option.”

Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of Ulster Business School commented on the school’s relationship with Young Enterprise NI: “Working alongside Young Enterprise is an ideal way to prepare our young people for the world of business. The Ulster Business School is delighted to support the Company of the Year Awards and to help celebrate the many outstanding achievements of students on the Company and Team Programmes, inspiring them to create and run their own business.

By providing students with the opportunity to gain an early insight into business, we hope to influence their views in terms of employment opportunities and career prospects. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are important components of economic growth and development in Northern Ireland, and the Company programme is an ideal way to encourage and to foster the entrepreneurial flair of our young people.

The Company and Team Programmes complement the work that we do at the Ulster Business School, and it gives students a flavour of the exciting programmes that we have on offer at what is a most innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial business school.”

George Rankin, Senior Director for Asda Northern Ireland commented “I’m delighted that Asda is supporting Young Enterprise Northern Ireland – an organisation which does such a fantastic job of supporting young people into employment and helping them to gain business and life skills. Having participated in a Young Enterprise project myself as a teenager, I fully support the Company Programme as an excellent initiative for young people, and for Asda it sits perfectly alongside our ‘Community Life’ programme – aimed at making the areas around our Asda stores, better places to live, work and grow up in. We’d like to wish all the young people taking part in the programme the very best of luck, and look forward to celebrating their successes.”

Invest NI’s Sharon polson said: “Entrepreneurship is core to any growing economy and it is important that we inspire our young people through the world of business and provide them with the skills and confidence they need to pursue their ambition.

Invest NI believes that young people have a huge role to play in developing the successful businesses of the future. Innovative new business start-ups are an important source of wealth creation and employment.

The Young Enterprise NI Company Programme is a great way to introduce young people to the idea of entrepreneurship and to give them the experience of running their own business with the help and support of Volunteer Business Advisers.”

See below the full list of winners and photographs from the evening:

Young Enterprise NI Company of the Year 2014

  • Winner: IlumiNight, Christian brothers Grammar School, Omagh
  • Runner Up: Chronos, Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards

Entrepreneur of the Future

  • Mary Thompson, Lisneal College

Asda Retail Excellence Award

  • IlumiNight, Christian brothers Grammar School, Omagh

Team Programme Company of the Year 2014

  • Foybels, Foyle View School & Belmont House School, Derry-Londonderry

Team Programme Entrepreneur of the Year 2014

  • Mohammid Islam, Tor Bank School, Dundonald