Teenpreneur Alex Fitzpatrick (17) competing in the Great Irish Bake Off on TV3

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Foróige May 22, 2014

We are incredibly proud of Alex Fitzpatrick (17) who is one of 12 competitors in new TV3 series the Great Irish Bake Off. Alex participated in our Youth Entrepreneurship programme with Foróige's Blanchardstown Youth Service and was a finalist in our Youth Entrepreneur of the Year competition in 2013 with his business, "Love at First Bite". We caught up with Alex to find out how the programme has made a difference to his life. Here's what he had to say:

NFTE, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship is the programme that changed both my perspective on business and my perspective on my own ambitions and capabilities. My business is "Love at First Bite" an artisanal cake company that has grown in success since undertaking the programme. I've always wanted to be a pastry chef so when I found out about NFTE and the opportunity to start my own business, I jumped at the chance. Having never studied business in school, I went into the programme without any business knowledge whatsoever. The thought of having to organise, stratagise, develop and sell a product without knowing anything about the world of business was, to say the least, horrifying!

That's one of the joys of NFTE I suppose, it teaches you the skills needed in the life of a business person as you become the businessperson yourself. It's not any normal class with an overwhelming abundance of books and highlighted lines. I'm as shy as anything, but being given the opportunity to pitch products and ideas to experts in their field gives you the confidence required for business. Personally I've developed to an extent that is unexplainable with words, I've become a new and different person while at the same time maintaining my originality. That's one of the key selling points of my business as I feel I get my personality across in the form of my products.

At the start of the NFTE programme I was Alex Fitzpatrick, plain and simple. Now, I'm Alex Fitzpatrick who is confident, quirky, original and above all a businessman. NFTE has not only changed my perspective on business but my view on how we as people view and utilise our qualities and personalities for the better, something I feel I have achieved. The programme has taught me so much and for that I thank the people behind it, for they truly are the reason I am who I am today.