THE enterprise and entrepreneurship of young people in Down District was celebrated at the prestigious Dermot Curran Young Achievers Awards, held at the Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, last Friday (21 November).
Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Colin McGrath, opened the event, which was sponsored by Down District Council, Down Business Centre and South Eastern Regional College.
“This event is a demonstration of the commitment shown by the Council and its partner sponsors to the promotion of entrepreneurship among young people in the Down area,” he said.
“I commend Councillor Dermot Curran for his enthusiasm and support in promoting young entrepreneurship in our district.”
The Dermot Curran Young Achiever Awards are designed to recognise outstanding individuals who have demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit and determination needed to achieve success in the world of business and specifically to recognise the contribution made by young people.
The Awards also address the need to acknowledge and encourage young people who have contributed to the economic development of the district and, through a cash award, enables them to develop their business skills.
Prior to the formal section of the awards ceremony, a selected ‘Question Time’ panel, chaired by Gerry Ford of Advantage NI, provided the expertise for a lively advice session.
The overall Dermot Curran Young Achiever Award for 2008 was presented by Eddie McGrady MP to Christopher Clarke of AJC Electrical in Newcastle, for his outstanding contribution to the economic development of the district.
The Down Business Centre Graduate Award was presented by Janice Symington of Down Business Centre to Eva McAlea of Eating Disorders Network.
The South East Regional College (East Down) Most Promising Enterprise Student was presented by SERC Principal, Ken Webb, to William Quinn.
The Dermot Curran Young Achiever Schools Award was presented by Debbie Trainor of South Eastern Education and Library Board under three team categories to: Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch (Science and Technology); St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick (Health Awareness); St Colman’s High School, Ballynahinch (Culture and Citizenship)
The following nominees received Certificates of Commendation at the awards ceremony. Highly Commended - Neil Logan, Bluestone Interior Solutions. Commended - Leanne Small, Hair Retro; Conal Duffy, DJ Duff Discos; Krissy Doyle, Kutz and Kurlz; Gary Harper, Mourne Bathrooms.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, South Down MP Eddie McGrady said it was fitting that the awards event recognised Cllr Curran’s 30 year continuous commitment to public service.
“During this time Dermot has unfailingly sought to promote the economic development of Down District, and to support the involvement of young people in business and enterprise,” Mr McGrady added.
Cllr Curran spoke about his delight at seeing so many potential young business people in the audience.
“Through meeting the challenges before them not only will our young people personally benefit, but the people around them will benefit, the customers they serve will benefit, the people they bring into their enterprises and employ will benefit, and the economy of the District will benefit,” he said.
He hopes the Awards will continue to act as a means of encouraging young people to consider a career in business, and he thanked the college and local schools for supporting the initiative.