My business Creation should inspire others
University courses are not always the best option and at 19 you're old enough to start your own business - that is the confident message being spread by Londonderry entrepreneur Caroline Gilliland.
Her business, CG Creations, is doing well and is in constant demand.
Caroline completed her first year on a university Events and Leisure Management course, but decided it was not what she wanted to do. It didn't provide her with the practical basis that she wanted to build her career.
"I realised it wasn't for me," she said. Caroline wanted some hands-on experience to apply the theory, but was disappointed it was not being provided.
"I spoke to the university to ask for this and they said they couldn't help me," she added.
So Caroline decided she was best off obtaining the practical experience by starting her own business - and that approach is proving very worthwhile.
CG Creations is providing marketing, administration and associated services to a range of clients - one of the largest of which, Bang on the Door, helped inspire her to set up on her own.
While at school in Derry, Caroline did a work experience placement with Bang on the Door, a company established in London 26 years ago, which provides t-shirts for charities and various fashion accessories to its strongly committed clientele.
"They are doing really well in Brazil and Asia," she explained.
"After I left school I went back to them and then got some freelance work from them.
"Then I decided that I enjoyed what I was doing. So I created my own company, CG Creations, and set that up in February of this year."
Now CG Creations has a range of clients. As well as Bang on the Door, she is working for Foyle Learning Community and St Mary's College in Derry, where she is facilitating a 'Room 13' project.
This involves younger pupils running their own arts-based group and inviting members of other Room 13 operations in other countries to meet with them.
Another of Caroline's work engagements has been to build the website and promote a young online radio station, Legenderry Live, which broadcasts dance, trance and country music 24 hours a day.
She has also put together, with a colleague, a video called Brand New Day, which spreads the message of Derry's peaceful progress to an international audience in Europe and North America.
Caroline has now just returned from England, where she had two projects under way.
Despite being very busy on her business, Caroline also volunteers with the City of Culture company in its promotion of 2013 events.
She is happy to spread the word that starting your own business at 19 can be realistic and achievable.
"This has been successful and I hope other people will realise this is possible," she said.