Pupils' travel book wins two awards for Northern Ireland in 20-year first
A group of young entrepreneurs from Lisburn have walked away with two national awards at the Young Enterprise UK event in London.
The pupils from Friends' School set up their business, ActiKids, to publish and sell a travel journal for children called Around the World in 50 Pages.
Two high street retailers have already been signed up by the students to stock the book.
It is the first time in 20 years that a business from Northern Ireland has picked up a prize at the Young Enterprise UK Company of the Year Awards, which has more than 2,000 companies and 25,000 students taking part.
The sixth-form students scooped the production award, and the company's managing director, pupil Jake Lewis, took home the founder's award, which is given to those people who display exceptional personal development and leadership skills.
Jake said: "We were particularly excited to with the production award.
"Around the World in 50 Pages was designed by our team, and we held a competition among the younger classes at our school to design the mascot featured on the cover.
"The book was printed locally too, so it's been a real team effort and a shared success for us all.
"ActiKids has been a team effort throughout this whole journey, so to win the founder's award is a fantastic achievement for me personally. But it is also a testament to the whole team.
"I really feel that I've grown as a leader throughout the company programme experience and developed skills that I'll carry with me through my future in education and work.
"The experience has been fantastic and something I'll always remember."
Claire Burgoyne, generation innovation programme manager at the Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), who met ActiKids at an event in St George's Market in March, praised the fledgling company.
She said: "They are a perfect example of a young entrepreneurial company.
"We just thought that they were brilliant role models - and we have become real supporters."
Ms Burgoyne also highlighted the importance of a company from Northern Ireland winning a national prize.
"It is brilliant to see a young Northern Ireland team getting the recognition in the UK," she added.
"It's kids like these who are shining examples of a new type of role model."
The success feeds into NISP's ambition to grow employment in the knowledge economy here to 70,000 by 2030.