Lismore Young Enterprise Students are celebrating after their Easy Lace Product made it through to the Northern Ireland Finals.
The success comes after Lismore’s two respective companies, Key Katchers and Easy Lace joined over 500 students from a range of secondary schools across Northern Ireland and made their way to the Titanic Quarter Belfast for ‘The Big Celebration ‘17’.
The main aim of this event was to congratulate students who have taken part in the Company and Team Programmes of Young Enterprise, with Lismore’s company Easy Lace crowned Best Overall Company, joining five other companies who will go on to the Northern Ireland Final in May at Belfast City Hall.
The exciting news comes as the talented pupils attended the ‘Invent NI’ innovation competition on Tuesday, April 25 where they were selected from an original pool of over 70, which was whittled down to 32 after rigorous interviews. The team will be told this week if they are one of the four groups chosen to go through to the final stage of the prestigious competition.
Link Teacher Mr McVeigh explained: “Students within ‘Easy Lace’ have been a fantastic group of individuals to work with. From the very beginning of their journey with the Young Enterprise Company Programme, students have been fully engaged in all aspects of their business, resilient with challenges and willing to embrace change.
“The Easy Lace product is a fantastic development that reaches a number of key market segments – children, athletes, elderly or anyone who struggles with the physicality of tying laces.
“Students have learned immensely from this experience and hope to continue developing their product and expanding their market.
“The students have made their family, school, and community very proud and have brought an entrepreneurial culture to the heart of everything they do.”
The recent accolades come as the innovative students prepare to pitch their products to shops and businesses across Northern Ireland, including the famous department store Debenhams.
The team already boasts Northern Pharmacies as official stockists after an initial trial period proved successful, with customer reviews and positive feedback resulting in a new contract set to expand across outlets including Cullyhanna, Poynzpass, Greyabbey, and Hollywood.
The business-minded students have even developed their own unique advert which is set to be released next week and have even gained a special sport star’s endorsement - none other than Northern Ireland Goalkeeper Roy Carrol.
Mr McVeigh explained that his pupils came up with the idea all on their own:
“We were told a story by a teacher in Lismore Comprehensive.
“This story was about how the teacher’s son, at just four-years of age, had his laces untied and his laces got caught whilst he was going up a moving escalator in a big supermarket.
“This was obviously a very traumatic experience for him and his family. As a company the pupils realised how big an issue untied laces can be.
“They then carried out peer reviews; and asked a group of students in our school what their opinions were on the magnetic buckle.
“All the feedback was positive and confirmed what we already knew - that we had discovered a gap in the market and we had to act upon it!”
This year Young Enterprise has supported 4,000 young people through its business start-up programmes as they make their first step towards a successful and prosperous future in life and in work. The annual awards ceremony will take place at Belfast city Hall on Thursday, May 18 which will recognise the Company of the Year, and the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Future will be announced.