New-Bridge Students, Maria McAnearney and Gary McConville were invited to attend the annual Generation Innovation event held in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.
The event was attended by some of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and entrepreneurial school children from a wide range of backgrounds.
Budding entrepreneurs, Maria, ‘Fourteen 4’ and Gary were accompanied by Mrs H Harbinson, Senior Teacher and Head of CEIAG and Mrs A Bittle, Industry Links Co-ordinator.
The Initiative seeks to stem the flow of the most talented young people out of Northern Ireland by building networks of the country’s best young talent before, during and after their third level studies or initial career choice. It seeks to find talented students who are capable of becoming lead figures in a wide range of industries including engineering, medicine, software, law and languages.
One of the speakers on the night was Co Antrim-born Sarah Friar, director of San Francisco tech giant Square, who spoke to the students via skype. Sarah now works alongside Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of the social media website Twitter. She said: “the aim of Generation Innovation is to change the aspirations of Northern Ireland’s teenagers, those most likely to succeed in the new economy, to become leading entrepreneurial figures and business people.
“An event like the ‘Night of Ambition’ is not only about joining a network and getting connected, it is mostly about inspiring a ‘can do attitude’”.
One of the supporters of the event in business software SAP UK Ltd, is Maarten de Vries, one of the employees behind the project. He said the event helped ‘make ambition second nature’.
“Qualifications are just part of the story in our working lives. What really makes the difference in a company is an inspired young person with ambition and an entrepreneurial approach. As a company we applaud this kind of approach from NISP CONNECT and Generation Innovation. It’s getting to the heart and soul of young people and helping them to make ambition second nature,” he said.
Sheree Atcheson from Kainos, who has started up a Woman Who Code Belfast group, is helping young people to become more savvy.
She said: “At Generation Innovation we will be developing more events like this for young people. We would love to hear from young people who are interested in getting involved”.
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