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Enlighten Hope named Company of the Year

The Young Enterprise company Enlighten Hope from St Patrick’s College in Dungannon, has been named Company of the Year by the charity and its panel of volunteer judges. The Company will go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Young Enterprise UK Finals at the Emirates Stadium in July. They finished off an exciting year exploring entrepreneurship and developing their business skills with the top award of the night. The Company Programme gives young people the chance to run their own business over the academic year with guidance from a business volunteer, sell their products at trade fairs and compete with other schools.

Local charity Young Enterprise, with support from Ulster University Business School and EY, staged the annual Young Enterprise Awards at Belfast City Hall to recognise the hard work and dedication from students who completed the Company Programme this year. Lauren Coleman from Belfast Model School for Girls, and magician Rodd Hogg provided entertainment on the night, while young Enterprise Alumnus Reuben McFeeters gave the audience an insight into how he started his business, Way North.

Enlighten Hope represented the Southern Area as one of 6 finalists, out of almost 100 companies, in the running to become the Best Overall Company. The process involved a daunting pitch and interview at Invest NI Headquarters in Belfast facing a panel of some of Northern Ireland’s top business moguls including David Elliott, Editor at Ulster Business, and Gerry McGinn, Chairman of the Strategic Investment Board.

It was a double success for St Patrick’s College on the night, as Enlighten Hope’s Managing Director, Iveta Liovinaite was named the Entrepreneur of the Future Runner Up. Iveta commented “It has been such a privilege to participate in the Young Enterprise Company Programme this year.  As Managing Director of Enlighten Hope I speak on behalf of the team when I say that this has been a life changing experience for us all.  We are more assured than ever that ‘Learning by Doing’ really is the best means of education.  Our personal development in terms of business acumen, confidence, ability and self-belief has surpassed our wildest dreams.  Although it is not always about the winning, we are absolutely thrilled to be in receipt of the NI Young Enterprise Company of the Year title for 2016.  There is no better feeling than to receive such a prestigious title which reflects the hard work and dedication we put into being successful business men and women this year.  We want to thank the organisers of Young Enterprise for providing us with the opportunity to become more educated, independent and organised as individuals and team players.” As part of winning this award, Iveta will go to Canada later this year to attend a global young leader’s conference.

Enlighten Hope have written and illustrated a series of three short stories which deal with the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a child friendly way. They have taken their product far and wide – visiting publishers in Dublin and New York, and securing a deal to sell the books on the Amazon Kindle Store. This group of determined young entrepreneurs even took it upon themselves to purchase an ISBN for their products. Enlighten Hope have been very successful since the beginning of the process, winning the Best Overall Company award at the Southern Area Trade fair in February and winning the Innovation Award, Best Social Enterprise, and Best Film at the recent Young Enterprise Big Celebration at Titanic Belfast.

Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of Ulster University Business School, commented “Ulster University Business School is delighted to support Young Enterprise, as it aligns with our desire to shape futures and create a more entrepreneurial economy within Northern Ireland.  Working alongside Young Enterprise Northern Ireland is an ideal way to prepare our young people for the world of business.  Having seen first-hand the next generation of entrepreneurs that are nurtured throughout the duration of the Programme, we strongly believe that it is an ideal way to encourage and foster entrepreneurial flair in our youth, and support the development of a more entrepreneurial society.

“The Company Programme complements the work that we do at Ulster University Business School, and it gives prospective students a flavour of the exciting programmes that we have on offer, at what is an innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial business school.”

Cary Wilson, from event supporter EY, commented “We are delighted once again to support this year’s Young Enterprise Awards.  We firmly believe at EY that supporting enterprise, education and entrepreneurship are fundamental to creating a better society.  We applaud the Young Enterprise Programme which really inspires young people throughout Northern Ireland to be creative, think outside the box and have the confidence to pursue a particular idea or ambition.  It is really inspiring to be part of a Programme which continues to go from strength to strength.”

The Young Enterprise Company Programme runs every year in schools across Northern Ireland, allowing students to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst connecting with local businesses.



Asda Retail Excellence – Campbell College, Aroma Candle Co.

Disney Creativity Award – Lisneal College, Keepsakes

Runner Up – Omagh Academy, Emerge

Overall Winner – St Patrick’s College, Enlighten Hope

START UP AWARD                 

Overall Winner – North West Regional College, Appmosphere Derry

TEAM AWARDS                    

UK Best Advertisement – Riverside School, BOOM!

Overall Winner – The Playtrail/Ardnashee School and College, Fairy Creative Company

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS                     

Entrepreneur of the Future Runner-Up Iveta Liovinaite, St Patrick’s College

Entrepreneur of the Future – Josh Donnell, Lisneal College

Young Entrepreneur – Joint Award – John Toal, Everton Day Centre and Emma O’Kane, The Playtrail

Company and Team Programme Judges:

David Elliott – Editor at Ulster Business Magazine, Greer Publications

Dr Michael McQuillan – Director of the Business Institute, Ulster University Business School

Judith Totten – Owner and Managing Director, Upstream Working Capital Ltd.

Gerry McGinn – Chairman of the Strategic Investment Board

David Hughes – Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, Department of Education

Shelley Martin – Director, 4 Beauty Group and Young Enterprise Company Programme Alumna

Cary Wilson – Transactions Advisory Services Partner, EY

Peter Shields – Director, Etain

Ewan Boyle – Director, Johnston Campbell

Karen Smith – Project Lead, Disability Action Northern Ireland

Robert Pierce – Managing Director, The Pierce Partnership


Young Enterprise would like to thank all Company business advisers, volunteers, judges, supporters, schools, teachers and of course students.

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