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FSB 2015 awards Posted on 11/12/2015 00:00:00 The 2015 ‘Future Student of Business’ was announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 9th December at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast. The top prize went to Belfast Met student Cathryn Bartolovic. She received a cheque for £1,350 for her business Celtic Dance Diva Dress Designs.

Celebrating Success with the Future Students of Business

Overall Winner - Cathryn Bartolovic - Belfast Met

Cathryn is currently studying a BSc Hons in Fashion Management at Belfast Met.  Her Celtic Design business operates through social media.  As part of her application for the Future Student of Business Awards, Cathryn plans to expand her online presence and open business premises.  Cathryn specialises in making Irish Dance dresses for both Festival and Feis Dancers. She has conducted extensive market research to test her idea and has returned to education to improve her fashion design skills.

Cathryn Bartolovic, FSB Winner 2015 from Belfast Met along with Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning, Gerry Campbell CEO Colleges NI, Glyn Roberts, Chair of Colleges NI, John Friel, Regional Chairman, FSB Northern Ireland and John Allan, FSB National Chair and Brenda Duffy, from BMC. 

Cathryn Bartolovic at her exhibition stand earlier during the Awards Ceremony

Presenting the prize to the overall winner, Dr Stephen Farry, MLA, Minister for Employment and Learning said:

“These awards are an excellent opportunity for further education students to gain recognition for their business skills and their future potential for business success. Entrepreneurship is of vital importance to the economy and it is only right that it is recognised and rewarded. Our local Colleges are pivotal to the development of a strong and vibrant economy through the provision of professional and technical skills which are increasingly required at higher levels. My Department is shortly due to publish a new strategy for further education – ‘Further Education Means Success’ – which will set out the future direction of further education in Northern Ireland, and this will provide a significant opportunity to drive positive economic change and promote social inclusion.”

Brenda Duffy Head of Faculty of Technologies & Academic Studies in Belfast Met said:

“Belfast Met are very proud of Cathryn’s achievement and her progress on her course. She has demonstrated tenacity, focus and enthusiasm in order to build her business and the reward from the FSB prize will be a great support to her company’s success. We also congratulate and encourage her fellow Belfast Met FSB finalists Sarah Johnston and Kiara Madden to continue to pursue their proposed businesses ambitions. Cathryn is passionate about building her career and she is a strong testament to the calibre of the creative Fashion Management students that enrol at Belfast Met. The College would also like to commend the FSB finalists across all of the colleges who have demonstrated innovative business plans to an incredibly high standard.”  

FSB Connect Award Winner - Ciara Connolly, South Eastern Regional College (SERC)

This year a new Award was announced – the FSB Connect Award which recognises a student who displays particular entrepreneurial flair and has created an innovative business idea. The inaugural award was presented to Ciara Connolly from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) for her business idea which is to develop a pet tracking App – simply the insertion of a micro-chip into an animal’s neck to facilitate the tracking of the animal should it ever get lost – Ciara is currently exploring the potential to extend this device to farm animals.

Ciara Connolly, student at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) winner of the FSB Connect Award. She is pictured with John Allan  - FSB National Chairman, John Friel FSB and  Gerry Campbell  - CEO Colleges NI.

Gerry Campbell, Colleges NI Chief Executive, said:

“I was delighted with the standard of applications this year which is testament to the dedication, hard work and professionalism of the lecturers across our six regional FE colleges. The awards are recognition to the excellent work in the sector in terms of fostering the spirit of enterprise and giving learners the skills they need to become the successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow.  We had a strong judging panel with representatives from Colleges NI, FSB and NI Local Government Association.  The judges described the winning business idea as ‘in its infancy and ready to grow’, ‘great business understanding’, ‘substantial market research’ and ‘has identified a real gap in the market locally’”.

FSB Media Winner - Northern Regional College (NRC)

Each year the finalists are required to submit a video, one per college, which captures them summarising their business idea.  The videos were assessed on creativity, innovation and interpersonal skills. The winner of this year’s Media Award went to Northern Regional College. The video is available to view Click Here.

Dr Catherine O’Mullan NRC Deputy Director, Gerry Campbell CEO Colleges NI and Wilfred Mitchell FSB NI Policy Chair

Federation of Small Businesses, Northern Ireland Regional Chairman, John Friel said:

“I was delighted that the standard of entrants this year was once again so high, demonstrating the real quality of entrepreneurial talent being cultivated within our FE Colleges.  I would like to congratulate Cathryn on winning the overall prize, in recognition of the fact that her business was not only scalable but also had export potential.  I would also like to commend Ciara Connelly on winning the inaugural FSB Connect award, recognising the entrepreneurial flair she displayed in her submission. If the calibre of the entrants is anything to go by the Northern Ireland economy will reap the rewards in the long term.”

FSB Awards - Highly Commended Finalist - Katie McLaughlin, South West College (SWC)

The standard of competitors for this event was very high and as a result a Highly Commended finalist was also announced.  This was awarded to Katie McLaughlin, SWC for her millinery business – Katie May McLaughlin.

Katie McLauglin SWC pictured with representatives from FSB, CNI and Minister Farry

Key Speakers at the Awards Ceremony....

Key speakers at the awards ceremony included:

  • Glyn Roberts, Chair of Colleges NI, 
  • Gerry Campbell, Chief Executive Officer at Colleges NI 
  • John Friel, Regional Chairman, FSB Northern Ireland. 
  • The guest Speaker was Tom Griffiths, Founder of who gave a speech particularly focused at the young entrepreneurs.  
  • The keynote address of the day was given by Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning immediately before the award winners were announced.

Jamie Hall and Nathan Fairgrieve are studying BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music at South Eastern Regional College (SERC).  The two students kindly provided acoustic music during the drinks reception and student exhibitions. 

Each of the 17 finalists received a cheque for £350 and are listed below at the end of this article. 

The 17 FSB finalists pictured along with Dr Stephen Farry - Minister for Employment and Learning, Glyn Roberts  - Chair of Colleges NI,  Gerry Campbell - CEO Colleges NI, John Allan - FSB National Chair and John Friel - Regional Chairman, FSB Northern Ireland.

Finalists exhibitions

Each college had an exhibition stand where the 17 finalists showcased their business ideas.  These are shown below.

FSB Awards - Judges

The judging of the applications for the Future Student of Business 2015 took place in November 2015. 

On the judging panel were Derek McCallan, CEO, Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), Mairaid McMahon, FSB Development Manager for  Northern Ireland, Colin McAuley, Business Support Manager, Colleges NI and Wilfred Mitchell FSB NI Policy Chair.

List of finalists per College

Each Finalist will receive a cheque for £350, a trophy and a framed certificate. The FSB Branch representative from each FE College area will be invited on stage to present the Awards.


Name of College

Student Name

Title of Business Idea



Cathryn Bartolovic

Celtic Dance Diva Dress Designs


Sarah Johnston

Fashionable Orthopaedic Shoes


Kiara Madden

MADD Clothing Company



Adam Moore

Segway Boards NI     


Sean Brady

Brady Bakes


Jonathan Hanna

JH Strength and Fitness



Sean McCarron

Click & Eat App  

Derry / Londonderry

Tyrone McCafferty

Light Bulb Adaptor

Derry / Londonderry

Ryan Mercer

AlphaMale Men’s Makeup and Cosmetics



Chloe McCauley

Technocure – Mobile Phone Repair Comparison Site


Nicole Allen

Natural Beats Animals – Skin Product


Ciara Connolly

PetTrax – Pet Tracking App



Niamh Murphy

Silent Valley Funeral Home


Georgia Hamill

‘Tune In’ Music Therapy Service


Joshua Black

Milkshake and Munchies Bar



Katie McLaughlin

Katie May Millinery


Ciara O’Neill

COA Accounting and Professional Services Services


Finalists in each College collecting their prizes


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