Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today presented the ‘Future Students of Business Award’ to South West College student, Leanne O’Neill.
The County Tyrone student’s dedication and commitment to open her own dance and fitness business has helped her secure the top prize of £1,000 at his year’s awards. Leanne, who undertook a Foundation degree in Business Services Management at South West College, Enniskillen scooped the award at the annual competition, which is organised by the Federation of Small Businesses and Colleges NI. This is the third year in a row that South West College has achieved the overall student accolade, highlighting the on-going success of the entrepreneurial teaching that is an integral part of the Business and Management Department.
Minister Farry said: "These awards are an excellent opportunity for further education students to gain recognition for their business skills and their future potential for business success. Northern Ireland needs young entrepreneurs in order to drive our economy forward. Entrepreneurs have the drive, determination, passion and the vision that we need in order to help our economy grow through the adoption of innovative approaches and potential new businesses."
"I congratulate Colleges NI and the Federation of Small Businesses on this initiative which helps to highlight the value we place on these dynamic individuals."
Describing her experiences, Leanne said: "I undertook the course to give me the skills and knowledge I needed to get my business up and running. The course has enabled me to look at my business from different angles and through the knowledge gained I have been able to understand, improve and advance my business to where it is today."
Over the next five years Leanne plans to open several franchises of The Dance Factory throughout Northern Ireland.
Gerry Campbell, Colleges NI Chief Executive, said: "This is the tenth year of these Awards and they have grown from strength to strength. The Awards show that Northern Ireland’s Colleges are preparing and supporting students for business incubation and development and represents a positive image of the role Further Education plays. This has been a fantastic showcase of the cream of entrepreneurial talent that exists within our FE colleges."
Federation of Small Businesses, Northern Ireland Regional Chairman, John Friel said: "The FSB is delighted once again to recognise and reward the most promising business students our Further Education Colleges have to offer. We need to celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the next generation. It is they who will facilitate and shape the long term social and economic development of Northern Ireland."
Tom McBride, Head of Department Business Services; "I am absolutely delighted that yet again our Business students have achieved this prestigious award. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our students and our teaching team."