Jamie's innovative Entrepreneurship Programme to offer young start-ups a cutting edge
03 November 2020
Lisneal College student Jamie Smith has played a leading role in developing and securing funding for a support programme to encourage and guide young people through the process of starting up their own business.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme is Peace IV funded and is aimed at giving young people aged between 12-24 the skills to start their own business as an alternative pathway to employment through up-skilling, cultural experience and professional support.
Jamie developed the programme during his time as a student placement with Derry City and Strabane District Council's Skills Development Team and it will now be delivered by Derry based business consultants Enterprise North West.
"The idea had come about as there had been a suggestion to try and encourage young people to become entrepreneurs and to learn all about entrepreneurship which includes the features, benefits and drawbacks to setting up and running your own business," explained Jamie.
"It seeks to give young people the opportunity to grow their ideas and feel confident in their own ability, equipped with their newly acquired skills and have the capacity to envisage starting their own business as an alternative pathway to employment through skill development, cultural experience and professional support."
Jamie said his placement at Council gave him an important insight into a work environment and he had some practical advice for young people considering setting up their own business.
"I would highly recommend industry placements as it gives students a better understanding of what working in a job is like and this can give them an idea of the working environment.
"The advice that I would personally give to young people who want to set up their business would be to have an idea that would link in with a passion, and use your passion to create a business.
"To go one step further, I would suggest researching the market to check to see if anybody else is offering what you were going to offer so that you can have a competitive edge in the market and so that you stand out to all your competitors.
"As well as this, you should be very judicious with your capital as starting up can be very expensive and you should make sure that you are using your money for the right purpose and that you have a business that is very difficult to replicate as it means nobody else can copy you and that you are the very best at offering your goods and services.
"You can apply for Trademarks and patents if you are selling a product so this protects your business from competitors and means nobody else can copy what you're doing."
Michael Allen, Principal of Lisneal College, added: "We are incredibly proud of Jamie's achievement and are excited to learn that his hard work in developing the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme will benefit young people across the Derry City and Strabane District.
"Industry placements for students are essential for providing insight into the skills and personal qualities required for a successful career.
"Jamie's placement with DCSDC illustrates clearly what can be achieved when a young person's ideas are valued and supported.
Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, added:
"Jamie played a pivotal role in the development of the Entrepreneurship Programme and the funding application that made it possible for Council to now roll it out to young people in the Council area.
"His dedication and enthusiasm to the project and as someone from the target age bracket of the programme gave the team a valuable insight into the support and advice young people need to make their business dreams a reality.
"His placement also offered him a valuable, hands on insight into the workings of Council, connected him with industry and the practical challenges involved in rolling out a programme of this scale."
For full details of DCSDC business support services including grants and advice during the Covid 19 crisis visit derrystrabane.com/business.