Northern Ireland Ulster Bank Enterprise Award
The Ulster Bank Enterprise award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.
Winner: Rory Girvan
A few years ago Rory suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. When he lost his job because of mental health stigma, he decided to return to exercising and start his own business.
Rory used his experience of adversity to motivate him. He soon achieved the title of overall Powerlifting Champion for Northern Ireland and narrowly missed taking the top title at the World Powerlifting Championships in 2013.
He then decided to draw on his background experience of competing in sport and use how it helped his mental health to create a unique gym model, offering a solution to health and fitness problems.
Rory attended Enterprise and left with a solid business plan, a business mentor and a £4,000 loan to found Hench, a strength and conditioning gym that caters for athletes and provides quality coaching, nutritional advice and recovery.
Rory now says he is 'living the dream' as a top athlete and is planning to open a second business.
Finalist: Tony and Rebecca Rodgers
Siblings, Tony and Rebecca are two of nine children. They experienced a difficult childhood which left them feeling unsettled and unhappy.
Tony’s experience in logistics prompted them to explore the idea of running their own shipping bookings service and after doing some research, they signed up to the Enterprise programme. After presenting their business plan to The Trust’s launch group they were awarded a business mentor and two £250 grants to market-test their idea and gauge interest in their proposition.
Tony and Rebecca founded Put it on a Pallet, a courier service specialising in shipping heavy or bulky items across in Europe.
They have overcome many difficulties, and although it cost them financially, they have become stronger and savvier because of it and still managed to make a profit.
Carefully growing their business organically, Tony and Rebecca now have a stable lifestyle and a bright future.
Finalist: Paul Allen
Urban sports’ fan, Paul, had got it all sussed. He had been in talks with his local enterprise centre, had written a business plan and was about to go self employed teaching parkour. But then an accident stopped everything in its tracks.
He had spent his spare time researching and teaching himself parkour - a similar discipline to free-running - and one day decided to seize the moment. He contacted The Prince’s Trust and asked to join its Enterprise programme.
Paul founded JumpNI, an urban sports academy that specialises in teaching people one of the fastest growing sports in the world – parkour.
Networking at every opportunity and sticking closely to his business plan, JumpNI is going from strength to strength. Paul is now the leading advocate for parkour in Ireland and is 'buzzing' about his future.