LISMORE Comprehensive business studies pupils proved ‘it isn’t over till it’s over’, when they clinched two top awards, including best overall company, at last week’s Young Enterprise trade fair.
More than 150 young people from 14 schools took part in the trade fair at Rushmere Shopping Centre, where pupils had the opportunity to sell products they had marketed and financed.
By their own admission, the Lismore company, Tweet Tops, was initially “slow to get off the ground” but a restructure and refocus after Christmas put them back on track.
Their product, t-shirts with a personalised tweet, has been a huge hit with students in the school and many orders continue to be placed.
And at the southern regional trade fair, they beat off strong competition, including from a number of grammar schools, to clinch the awards.
The outstanding individual award went to managing director Owen Beattie for his performance and ability to articulate and communicate the main business principles of the company, while Tweet Tops were selected by judges for their ability as a team to manage all aspects of a real business from design and marketing to financing and connecting with their customer base.
Mr Francis McVeigh, link teacher and mentor, said, “The cohort of students concerned had a vision combined with dedication, enthusiasm and determination - success was inevitable. The Tweet Tops company has brought honour not only to themselves and their school but also to their families who are equally proud of them.
“Students have gained immensely from this programme to date and I have no doubt it will set them on a sound platform for university, work placements and their future careers.”
The Lismore team consisted of Erin Conway, Ciaran Rooney, Krzysztof Pietrzak, Kyle Norris, Paul McGinnell, Sean McGeown, Jason McCaughley, Niall Kerr, Judita Kazakuskaite, Conor Holland, Michael Henderson, Stephen Heaney, Luke Dowd, Kevin Curran, Amy-Louise Corden and Owen Beattie.
In the company programme section, Lismore’s win was followed by Sparks, Markethill High School, which won overall runner-up. The best product went to Cuddle Me Cosy, St Catherine’s College, Armagh; best marketing - Ignition, Banbridge Academy; and mystery shopper, Back to Basics, St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon. In the team programme, the overall winner was Rathore School, the runner-up was Lisanally School and the outstanding individual award went to Stephen Loughran, Lisanally School.
Other local schools which attended included Brownlow Integrated College, Ceara School, Clounagh Junior High School, Southern Regional College and St Paul’s Junior High School.
The competitors were judged by ‘dragons’ from local companies and Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Carla Lockhart and Jo-Anne Dobson MLA visited the trade fair to witness at first-hand the entrepreneurial talent of the young people.
The Lismore team will compete in the southern regional heats in March, which will entail a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style interview at Moy Park in front of judges from the business community.
The winners of the six regional heats will be announced at an event in March at Titanic Belfast, with the overall winner being revealed in May.