Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Student entrepreneurs get a slice of business life

A number of students will get the chance to manage and run a busy restaurant in south Belfast over four days in February.



Having been successful in the Meximum Business Challenge competition, the budding entrepreneurs will make up four teams who will individually run Boojum restaurant on Wednesday February 1, 8, 15 and 22.

The student enterprise initiative has been organised by Belfast City Council with the support of Belfast Metropolitan College, Queen's University, the University of Ulster, St Mary’s College and Stranmillis College.

The student teams running Mexican eaterie ‘Boojum’ in the city’s Botanic Avenue will be tasked with promoting and selling a new breakfast burrito and other breakfast items for the restaurant. All profits from each day’s trading will be donated to the Make-A-Wish charity in Belfast.

They will take responsibility of all aspects of the business on these days from deciding on a pricing strategy for products, marketing the business to demonstrating best customer service.

Councillor Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The Meximum Business Challenge is a wonderful initiative as it gives our students and would-be entrepreneurs the chance to gain unrivalled enterprise experience from running an existing business for a day and seeing the challenges and rewards that this brings.

“The initiative is also a good example of the public, private and voluntary sectors working together to develop innovative ways to encourage business skills and acumen.”

John Blisard, owner of Boojum, said: “The students taking part in this competition will see how rewarding it is to run a business and yet how challenging it is to create and launch a new product offering.

“Marketing a new product is very much like marketing a new business and should prove to be a very difficult challenge. We're very excited to be taking part and wish all the entrants the best of luck.”

As part of the competition, all entrants attended a series of seminars on all aspects of running a business, from food hygiene and financing to marketing advice for their business. Following this, all teams were then invited to make their pitch to a panel of experts, who then chose the four team finalists.

The winning team of the competition will be announced at a special celebration event in the City Hall on February 29.

The business initiative is funded by Belfast City Council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund, under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

For more information on Belfast City Council's support for entrepreneurs and local business, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/business.

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