Young people get a ‘QuickStart’ into business

StudYoung Enterprise March 2017ents from Killicomaine Junior High School are preparing to start a real business through the ‘QuickStart Programme’ with local charity Young Enterprise NI.

The QuickStart Programme, supported by Ulster Bank, sees Year 9 students develop a marketable product and business plan under the guidance of a Young Enterprise volunteer business adviser over the course of 8-10 weeks.  The company will then produce and have the opportunity to sell their wares at specially organised Young Enterprise Trade Fairs across Northern Ireland.

Young Enterprise NI brings together companies and classrooms, encouraging students to be creative and begin to develop entrepreneurial qualities at a young age.  We are delighted that Gilfresh Produce are supporting this programme this year within Killicomaine Junior High School.  Gilfresh Produce is a great local success story, expanding from a small family business in Loughgall to a leading vegetable packer across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Thomas Gilpin, Owner of Gilfresh commented: “It is our pleasure to be part of the Young Enterprise Programme at Killicomaine. I started in a small 4 acre farm in Portadown, and my first machine was a modified cement mixer which was used for washing carrots! Gilfresh has since grown to have over 130 staff in a purpose built pack-house and high care processing facility. I feel it is really important to develop the same entrepreneurial spirit in our local young people. We hope to be able to inspire them with the vital skills, confidence and ambition to succeed both in life and whatever career they choose.”

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise commented: “We are delighted to partner with Ulster Bank on our QuickStart Programme. QuickStart is a fantastic way for the students to gain first-hand experience of how business works while developing their entrepreneurship and employability skills. I look forward to seeing what the young people come up with.”

Young Enterprise NI is a charity and is principally funded by the Department of Education. For more information, including volunteering and fundraising opportunities please visit

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