From education to employment

Northern Regional College Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

Students from Northern Regional College students were treated to a packed programme of events to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) during November 13 – 17.

The College is the FE sector Hub for Entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland and the programme included events, both online and face to face, for students at Newtownabbey, Coleraine, Ballymena, Magherafelt and Ballymoney.

GEW is an international initiative designed to introduce entrepreneurship to young people. It Continues to grow, going from strength to strength.  Since it was established in 2008, upwards of ten million people from 170 countries have taken part in entrepreneurship-related events, activities and competitions during the annual celebration of entrepreneurship.

As FE sector Hub for Entrepreneurship, Northern Regional College is committed to raising standards of enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and leadership. By drawing on best international practice and embedding digital learning in the curriculum, the Entrepreneurship Hub aims to help students and staff develop the necessary skills and knowledge to embrace entrepreneurship and promote economic growth.

The Entrepreneurship Hub’s programme for GEW 2023 included drop-in information sessions to support business start-ups, Ideation workshops, as well as seminars with inspirational guest speakers.

Joanne McCourt, Northern Regional College’s Principal Lecturer for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and organiser of the comprehensive GEW programme, said she wanted to include events with broad appeal as the target audience were not all at the same stage of their entrepreneurship journey.

She continued:

“From working with students in the College via Entrepreneurship workshops events and the Entrepreneurship Club, I realised that some students who have already set up their own business are now ready to move on to the next level. Other students are still at the very start of the process, they have an idea but do not have the confidence or know how to take the leap of faith needed to make it happen. Whatever stage of the journey they are at, Global Enterprise Week presented an ideal opportunity for them to network and learn from others.”

Guest speakers included biochemist Dr Pragya Sharma, founder of Gran Lab who explained how she uses social media to market her business.

Joanne continued:

“Dr Sharma spoke about social media and the importance of having a good understanding of the target audience and how to use analytics to measure success. She also discussed how to create interesting and engaging content for the different social media platforms. After her talk, Dr Sharma admitted that it had been a two-way learning process as the students had made valuable suggestions and she had benefited from their insight.”

She continued:

“In the past, entrepreneurs were regarded as risk-takers but today, there is now a realisation and general acceptance that entrepreneurship can drive economic growth. Entrepreneurs can be job creators and their innovative ideas have introduced new and improved products, services and technology that have made valuable contribution to society. Everyone has heard of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk and how they introduced new products and services to the market but there are thousands and thousands of other successful entrepreneurs all around the world”.

Joanne added that the feedback from the students had been extremely positive:

“They were delighted to hear first-hand about the experience of others and it was also a great opportunity for the students to network and find out about the different kinds of support and potential sources of funding.”

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