Schools from across the area attended Lisneal college this week to take part in Young Enterprises annual ‘QuickStart Challenge’ . The ‘QuickStart Challenge’, which is supported by Ulster Bank and event sponsors Derry City & Strabane District Council, gives Year 10 students a taste of entrepreneurship with a fun interactive workshop where the students develop skills for life and work with the support of volunteer business advisers from local businesses.


Following an inspirational talk from guest speaker Aoife Doherty, who talked about her own journey in setting up her business ‘Sass & Halo’, the enterprise programme finished with a Dragons’ Den style event where each of the schools’ companies pitched their ideas to a panel of local business experts. The companies also faced questions from the panel, who asked about different business principles, overcoming challenges, as well as assessing their presentation skills.


Martin Kenny from Ulster Bank’s Culmore Road branch said, ‘QuickStart Challenge’ events provide schools with an excellent opportunity to hone their business skills as well as benchmark ideas and approaches with other school students and business mentors.

‘Working alongside Young Enterprise’s QuickStart initiative we have seen the long-term impact of these business programmes as young people take forward their business ideas following school and college. Some former Young Enterprise students are now an integral part of the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator and it’s fantastic to see how their creative and business skills have flourished and developed.’


‘Ulster Bank is pleased to work together with Young Enterprise NI to further grow and expand the QuickStart programme and encourage more secondary level schools and colleges to get involved.’

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise commented: “We are delighted to partner with Ulster Bank to support our QuickStart Programme. QuickStart is a fantastic way for the students to gain first-hand experience of how business works while developing their entrepreneurship and employability skills.


“This academic year, we had some our highest numbers to date, engaging 54 schools and community groups across Northern Ireland, with a total of 2,600 young people taking part in the programme. The support of Ulster Bank has been vital to the work of the charity for the delivery of our QuickStart Programme and we look forward to working with them over the next few years.”


Visit to see how you can get involved with Young Enterprise, empowering young people with the skills and confidence to succeed in life and work.

Young Enterprise NI is part funded by the Department of Education.