Ulster Bank boosts Young Enterprise’s Quickstart Programme

Ulster Bank is investing £25K in youth entrepreneur organisation Young Enterprise as part of round two of its £2.5 million UK and Ireland Skills & Opportunities Fund programme which was launched earlier this year.

The funding award will enable Young Enterprise to further expand and enhance its Quickstart programme which supports students from Year 8 upwards in schools and community groups developing their entrepreneurial skills and aspirations and preparing them for life and work.

1200 young people throughout Northern Ireland are currently involved in Quickstart and the 10 week programme offers active learning opportunities in business research and planning, product development, financial management and marketing combined with the support of a business advisor and mentor.

Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said, “Our Skills and Opportunities award from Ulster Bank will enable us to roll out Quickstart to more schools and groups giving budding young entrepreneurs confidence and employability skills at an early age, providing valuable business experience and helping them look at potential career paths and jobs for the future.

“Like all charity and community organisations Young Enterprise has faced funding shortfalls in recent years and this new cash boost from Ulster Bank will allow us to fully implement our Quickstart scheme which has proved hugely successful and beneficial for both young people and their teachers.  It’s one of our most popular programmes and without the Bank’s funding we simply wouldn’t be able to progress and expand the programme substantially.”

Ulster Bank’s Skills & Opportunities Fund supports local and disadvantaged communities by helping people to learn new skills, get into the world of work or set up their own business.  Alongside Young Enterprise, other round two winners include Belfast based organisation Co-operation Ireland who was awarded £9600 to support a youth leadership programme, Sligo Volunteer Centre and Culture Connect who each received £3k and Irish Youth Foundation which won £35K for its bike mechanic initiative in the Cork region.

Overall 790 applications were submitted to round two from across the UK and Ireland with 92 organisations reaching the shortlist. Following the judging process which included a public vote attracting 28,000 votes, forty-seven groups were selected to receive grant funding of over £1.3 million.

Congratulating Young Enterprise and all other award winners, Sean Murphy, Regional Managing Director Branch and Private Banking  said, “Once again we were extremely impressed by the diverse range of high quality entries in round two of our Skills & Opportunities Programme. We know that the best way to support local communities and to help them grow stronger is to provide people with the skills and resources to help themselves, develop business ideas and ultimately generate jobs and new opportunities within their local community.  I would like to wish all our award winners good luck with their projects now and in the future.”

Northern Ireland winners in round one of Ulster Bank’s Skills & Opportunities Fund were Lenadoon Community Forum and Ballybeen Women’s Centre for their projects on providing training for employment and personal development. The 11 organisations from across the island of Ireland shortlisted were: Young Enterprise NI, Business in the Community, Lisburn Enterprise Organisation, Dungannon Enterprise Centre, Sligo Volunteer Centre, Culture Connect, U-Casadh Ltd, Co-operation Ireland, Galway Simon Community, Irish Youth Foundation, Suas Educational Development.

Ulster Bank’s Skills & Opportunities 2015 grant funding has been distributed to 113 organisations throughout the UK and Ireland and it is anticipated it will help over 26,000 people to help themselves over the next 12 months. In addition to the organisations supported through rounds one and two, the programme has helped a further 24 groups by providing in-kind support and nearly £200,000 in grant monies.

To find out more about the projects being funded visit: www.skillsandopportunitiesfund.ulsternbank.com