Belfast Telegraph

Budding entrepreneurs go for gold with Olympic effort at BT’s business programme

BT Business of Science & Technology Programme recognises next generation of business leaders

Two students from Banbridge Academy are among five young entrepreneurs who have been awarded summer placements in two Irish universities following their success at the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2011 held at NovaUCD.

Students Romy Gerring and William Clackett from the county Down school underwent an intensive course in commercialisation skills, and displayed a natural flair for business when tasked with creating viable businesses from ideas on pioneering sports equipment, biomass fuel development and a flood barrier for domestic use.

A team comprising of Romy, Katie Pierce O'Shea from Coláiste na Sceilge, Co. Kerry, Barry Holland, from Clonakilty Community College, Co. Cork and Kate O'Regan, from Loreto College, St Stephens Green, Dublin won the overall group award. The group worked on P-row-tect, a specially designed rowing glove Katie had entered into the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January. The judging panel was impressed by the marketability and originality of the product and Katie’s identification of a gap not currently filled in the market. The budding young entrepreneur is getting ready to target teams competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

William Clackett was named best individual for the skills and business acumen he developed over the week of the programme. William’s project was based on research into the affects of loo roll choices on the environment.

Colm O’Neill, Managing Director, Business, BT Ireland, said, “Business executives that worked with the students this week were given a real uplift – these budding entrepreneurs don’t focus on the negatives, they are too busy inventing the solutions. We should look at as many opportunities as possible to give students business skills from an earlier age – whether it means changes to the school curriculum or more one week placements in enterprises across the island, for example.”

Devised by BT, and delivered by NovaUCD, the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme involved 31 students who were chosen from the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition which took place in January. The third level summer placements are organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprise of a one week placement at University of Limerick (UL)/National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD, said “This Programme, devised by BT and delivered by NovaUCD, has challenged the students’ thinking and helped them to understand and work through some of the critical steps required to transform ideas into commercial reality. NovaUCD is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with BT on this important initiative to help develop an entrepreneurial culture amongst second level students in Ireland.”

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