20th June 2018

Banbridge Academy Young Enterprise Team crowned Northern Ireland Company of the Year

Banbridge Academy’s Young Enterprise team Poppin’ was crowned the Young Enterprise Company of the Year 2018 at the prestigious awards ceremony in Belfast City Hall on Thursday 14 June 2018.  An absolutely tremendous accolade for Ms Elliott, Mrs Tully and the team, who have developed a fantastic Company throughout the past academic year.

The Year 13 pupils competed during the year in the Young Enterprise NI Company Programme which aims to help young people deepen their understanding of how businesses work, while developing their team-building skills and confidence.


The team of savvy young students from Banbridge Academy, trading as Poppin’, and selling ‘Pop Sockets’ – small, lightweight expanding grips attach to most smartphones to offer protection against falls, aid grip to allow users to better access applications and take selfies, and act as a useful stand for mobile devices, landed its first major order with a local Northern Ireland company, Moy Park, after coming top in their regional heat of the Young Enterprise NI ‘Company Programme’ competition.  They were also presented with the Company Growth Award.

Commenting on the order, Mr Brian Moreland, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Moy Park said,


“We were very impressed with the Poppin’ team’s business and commercial acumen, creativity and enthusiasm – traits which will stand these students in good stead as they embark on their respective career journeys.  Programmes like this are a great way to help young people understand how business works and the role of companies in the community, while helping them appreciate how supply chains work.  We are delighted to continue our support of Young Enterprise NI and its initiatives and we wish the Poppin’ company every success as they embark on the next stage of the competition.”

The company was very successfully managed by Managing Director Michelle Hamilton who guided the group of Year 13 students through the sometimes difficult and challenging tasks of starting up and running a business.


“Competing in the Young Enterprise Company Programme has been a fantastic experience and we are grateful to learn from some of NI’s most successful businesses. It’s been great to find out first-hand what it takes to start and run a company – from carrying out market research and financial planning to devising engagement strategies.”

Following its first successful order, Poppin’ were inspired to rise to the challenge and managed to win orders from other local companies; Almac, Mackle Pet Foods, Hampers By Kim and Teachers’ Union which has resulted in a very healthy profit as well as gaining numerous invaluable skills that can’t be learnt in a classroom. Current sales to date are 3100 Pop Sockets!


Having continued to grow their business through online platforms Poppin’ found themselves in attendance at the annual Awards Ceremony at Belfast City Hall on Thursday 14 June where Young Enterprise, with support from Ulster University Business School, staged this prestigious event and crowned the top businesses and individuals who have developed entrepreneurship skills this year. The elite of Northern Ireland’s young entrepreneurs were celebrating reaching this stage as thousands of students took part again this year.


Banbridge Academy’s Young Enterprise company Poppin’ were absolutely delighted to be crowned Company of the Year 2018 on the evening and received the award from YE Ambassadors Pete Snodden (Cool FM) and Sarah Travers (BBC).  A magnificent achievement – well done to the whole team!


Banbridge Academy, Ms Elliott and Mrs Tully wish to express their sincere appreciation and thanks to our Business advisors, Derick Wilson (Bank of Ireland) and Neil Davey (RANE Digital Marketing).