Young Enterprise and Startacus kick off Exporting Founders programme for early stage exporters

Posted By:
Young Enterprise N.I. Ltd.

17th Nov 2021

Young Enterprise and Startacus launched the Exporting Founders programme this week with Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons.

Targeted at early stage entrepreneurs aged 18-30, the pilot programme seeks to educate and inform those developing their business ideas about the benefits of an international market for their business.

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, CEO of Young Enterprise explains, “the Young Enterprise charity is well known for our work in schools to develop entrepreneurial intent, and this programme is built to build on this foundation. We recognise that those early in their entrepreneurial journey, whether alumni of our programmes or not, value additional support to build their network and gain knowledge on important topics such as export, before they start their business”.

Run over a proposed 12-14 week period, the ‘Exporting Founders’ programme provides founders and potential founders with the knowledge to start, grow and sustain a business and create relevant business connections and pathways to build a route into developing a business that includes cross border and international trade as part of their initial plan.

Speaking at the launch at Clockwise Belfast co-working space, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said, “I am excited to launch this pilot with Young Enterprise and Startacus. The initiative connects well with my Department’s 10X Skills Strategy by seeking to create a culture of lifelong learning in our young people that have entrepreneurial intent, and supporting them to drive economic growth. Having met with some Young Enterprise alumni today, I can see the value in investing in the development of the entrepreneurs of the future through developing their skills at an early stage. I am keen to ensure that we continue to promote business start-ups within the NI market but also, as this pilot does, to equip them with the skills to trade internationally.”

The programme builds on the success of the NW female-focused Impacting Founders initiative which the Young Enterprise/Startacus team ran last year which connected early stage female founders with business specialists and support networks.

Alastair Cameron, Co-Founder of Startacus said “Startacus is delighted to be collaborating with Young Enterprise NI once again, following the success of the Impacting Founders programme.

We are keen to ensure that the Exporting Founders programme will provide early-stage startups and indeed anyone considering starting a business in NI, with the skills, knowledge and connections to make cross-border and international trade a core part of their business strategy.”

Raising awareness of wider links with other business networks is a key component to provide long lasting support networks that the founders can pathway into. If you are interested in finding out more, connect at