Big Market success for Downshire students

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Students from Downshire Community School recently participated in the Young Enterprise programme, showcasing their products for sale to the public at a ‘Big Market’ event in St George’s Market, Belfast, in December, when they achieved success.

Downshire Community School’s company, Culina, won runner up in the Company Programme Award category.

St George’s Market hosted over 700 students from over 60 schools across Northern Ireland, who showcased their start-up businesses at the event, as well as their products, which they developed from conception to production in just three months. The programme takes each student on a business start-up journey that enables the development of business and entrepreneurial skills, while giving them their first opportunity to trade by launching their product for sale at The Big Market.

The students are responsible for developing an initial product idea, developing it into a real product for sale, creating a business plan, raising capital to fund production, before marketing and selling their product to the general public – hopefully generating a profit.

Young people from the ages of 10 to 18 were selling everything from handmade jewellery to a new brand of locally sourced coffee, and from wooden mobile phone cases to a new app for dog walkers.

Downshire Community School student Rachel Watson said of their success: “We feel good. We didn’t expect to win anything but we all worked so hard at the whole project, so we are very happy.”

Funded by the Department of Education, the Young Enterprise Big Market Programme has become an important part of business learning for young people across the country.

Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive Officer of Young Enterprise, said that every year the Young Enterprise programmes “raise the bar when it comes to product creation, innovation, development, and selling techniques.”

She added: “From fairy doors to craft packs, and artisan coffee to jewellery, mobile apps, gift sets, and more, the selection of products on show at The Big Market 2017 was nothing short of excellent.”

“Throughout the day we watched young entrepreneurs execute all their learning from the programmes to connect with, not just their customers, but also their competitors and team-mates on the day.”

“A big thanks goes out to all the schools who support their students in taking part, as well as our mentors, sponsors, and judges, without whom The Big Market simply couldn’t be the success it is.”