Celebrating the best of RYE

Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill was guest speaker at an awards ceremony held in the An Creágan Visitor Centre, Omagh to celebrate the success of the Rural Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (RYE). 

Celebrating the best of RYE

Minister O'Neill with RYE Award winners (L-R) Catherine Power, Roisin O'Hara, Shane-Paul Devlin, Heather Boyd & Zoe Kidd.

RYE is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework.  The RYE model was designed initially as an awareness raising programme designed to promote the option of entrepreneurship in an environment where employment and getting a job often takes priority over creating an enterprise and creating a job.

One of the many challenges of rural living today is creating meaningful employment opportunities for young people.  When young people are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential they grasp it.  Young people are full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm the Rural Youth Entrepreneurship programme was designed to encourage and help young people turn a business idea from concept into reality.  

Speaking at the event Minister O’Neill said:

“I am delighted to have provided support to the RYE programme, through my Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme (TRPSI). To date, 110 young rural people have completed a Business Action Plan and an even greater achievement is the fact that eleven of these young people have started their own business, and I am sure that there will be others who will follow in their footsteps.”

By engaging young people in rural enterprise, we can empower them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to start their own business. This can provide an income not only for themselves but potentially lead to the creation of new employment opportunities for others. This snowball effect can gather momentum and significantly contribute to the vibrancy and sustainability of rural communities.”

Minister O’Neill presented awards to the five award winners;-

Best Pitch

Caroline Power, CAFRE Greenmount

Most Inspiring RYE Participant

Shane-Paul Devlin, Devlin Martial Arts

Spirit or Rural Youth Entrepreneurship

Heather Boyd, Maghera Cross Community Link

RYE One to Watch

Zoe Kidd, Scrumptious Little Bakes

Business Start Up

Roisin O’Hara, BowWow Beauty

Teresa Canavan, Chief Executive RDC said:

““Passion and creativity are two words I often associate with rural development in general and together with commitment, I believe are the essential ingredients to making things happen in rural areas. 

“Too often we see programmes that are inaccessible to our rural young people and a focus on numbers often results in the targeting of urban locations.  We are very supportive of the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation framework which shines a light on rural circumstance and it, together with the now agreed Rural Needs Bill will, we believe provide a strong foundation for rural affairs and as an organisation we are willing and ready to play our part.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate all the RYE participants, over 670 who took part in the workshops and to our 5 award winners.”

RYE is delivered by the Rural Development Council (RDC) and Advantage.  For further details on how the RYE Programme could help you on your journey to start your own business, contact the Rural Development Council on 028 8676 6980.