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Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast recognise the role the charity plays in building the entrepreneurial culture of NI and crucially how this goes on to develop the economy.

Young Enterprise has built the skills of young people in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years. Last year the charity delivered 2,000 financial, enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes, reaching 90,000 young people aged 5-25.

Young Enterprise supports young people to develop vital skills for employment and entrepreneurship. Social impact is at the core of the work, ensuring young people of all backgrounds, communities and abilities benefit from enterprise and entrepreneurship skills to raise aspirations and capabilities for a successful future career.

Due to budget cuts, the Department of Education ceased all funding to the charity. This left an income gap of £550,000. This funding supported 47,000 young people in areas of greatest social need to take part in Young Enterprise.

The two Vice-Chancellors have agreed to contribute £50,000 from each University in the year ahead to maintain the work of the charity whilst it transforms its funding model. The Universities are calling on the business community to demonstrate their support for the value of the work for Young Enterprise by financially contributing to address the funding gap.

Carol Fitzsimons, MBE, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said, “Young Enterprise is indebted to Ulster University and Queen’s University for their joint endorsement of our work. This valuable financial support addresses some of our funding shortfall while we transform our funding model. We welcome their leadership and recognition of our contribution in developing an entrepreneurial culture through our work in developing the skills of young entrepreneurs.”

Professor Paul Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University said, "We believe it is vitally important to encourage our young people to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age. Young Enterprise NI has been a beacon of inspiration, equipping school pupils with essential skills that go far beyond the classroom. In line with our People, Place and Partnership Strategy, we are delighted to support this well-established programme and together with Queen’s University Belfast, to contribute to shaping the future leaders and innovators of Northern Ireland through Young Enterprise NI."

President and Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Ian Greer said, "At Queen's, we are fully committed to and understand the importance of supporting our young people to develop their skills and reach their full potential. We are delighted to be supporting this important initiative, offering the next generation the opportunity to enhance their entrepreneurial skills, which will no doubt be of benefit to us all in the future as they drive our economy forward."