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Home » Wave Of Business Support Sees Young Enterprise Recover Lustre After Government Funding Slashed

Wave Of Business Support Sees Young Enterprise Recover Lustre After Government Funding Slashed

The Northern Ireland entrepreneurship charity which lost over half a million pounds of government funding has won backing from over 60 businesses for a new schools programme.

Young Enterprise Northern Ireland said its new Business Backers campaign will allow young people to access its schools-based business programmes and has called on other companies to throw their support behind the initiative.

The show of support represents a remarkable turnaround for the organisation which was a high profile victim of swingeing public sector spending cuts, losing an annual grant of £550,000 from the Department of Education, around half of its total funding.

Its aim to interest and encourage young people into entrepreneurship and business has been widely lauded by the business community in Northern Ireland and was even recognised by US President Biden on his visit to Belfast earlier this year.

The group’s chief executive Carol Fitzsimons MBE said the programme was developed specifically to address the raft of support show by companies throughout Northern Ireland following news of its funding cut.

“When we announced the cessation of government funding for our programmes, we had a significant number of local businesses reach out to offer their support,” she said. “In response, we developed our new Business Backers campaign to provide opportunities for large and small businesses to help.

“Our Business Backers invest in 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 future entrepreneurs each month, while benefitting from volunteering and networking opportunities for their employees and demonstrating their corporate responsibility and ESG commitments.”

Rachel McMillan is General Manager of Clockwise Offices in Belfast, one of the charity’s new Business Backers. She said becoming a Business Backer of Young Enterprise was an easy decision for her business.

“We’ve seen the benefits of what Young Enterprise brings to future entrepreneurs and what their volunteering opportunities have brought to me personally,” she said. “The confidence and enthusiasm that we see from these young people sets them up for a successful future and we are delighted to continue to play a role in that.”

Aimée Clint, a Young Enterprise alumna and ambassador who was mentioned in US President Joe Biden’s speech in Belfast earlier this year, said Young Enterprise helped her to launch her business, Books by Stellas, with her school classmates in 2017.

“Now I continue to operate our social enterprise, creating children’s books to educate neurotypical children on autism,” she said. “As an ambassador for the charity I see many talented future entrepreneurs first-hand and realise without the support of our business community Young Enterprise simply will not be able to provide them with the same opportunities I had.

“I would like to thank all of the companies who have pledged so far and encourage all companies in Northern Ireland to follow their lead.”

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