A Co Antrim student has emerged as the winner of an all- island competition to find the business leaders of the future.
University of Ulster business and marketing student Clare McCollum from Lisburn clinched the top prize in the 2010 Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow awards.
She impressed judges with her DipStick project - a drinks stirrer to detect alien substances in consumable beverages and alert consumers to potential dangers of drug-related sexual assault. Clare will now participate in the global consulting firm's Global Leadership Experience, which involves a trip to New York this summer and a leadership development internship at Accenture Ireland.
Janice Edgar, senior executive at Accenture's Belfast office said: "We are living in a time when the fostering of young entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas has never been more important to the future of this country and the prosperity of our economy.
The 2010 judging panel featured business leaders from industries including John Herlihy from Google; John Moloney of Glanbia; Niamh O'Donoghue from the Republic's Department of Social Protection and Mark Ryan and Marian Corcoran from Accenture.
Ms Edgar added: "Now in its third year, the programme has become more relevant than we ever predicted given Ireland's turn in economic fortunes. We believe interest in our programme is growing because it gives graduates hands-on experience in developing the tools and skills necessary for a life in business. I want to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Clare on her outstanding project submission."
Accenture said there were several hundred applications for this year's awards from all the main universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The five finalists, comprising of both individuals and groups, were from Waterford Institute of Technology, University of Ulster, Dublin College University, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick.