A Fermanagh farmer has been awarded a place in the final of the eircom Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards after a panel of business experts considered him one of the most successful and inspirational young entrepreneurs in the Southern region of Northern Ireland.

William Allingham(30) from Garrison will now compete for the prestigious "2009 eircom Young Entrepreneur of the Year" title, which will be presented at a gala awards ceremony in The Hilton Hotel, Belfast on Thursday, December 3.

The eircom awards programme, which is promoted across the province by Advantage in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland and eircom Northern Ireland , celebrates the spirit of enterprise that is alive and kicking in young people aged 16-30.

Darren Lemon , General Manager eircom NI, said: "Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the Northern Ireland economy and we, as a young innovative company, are delighted to be able to help these young people develop their ideas.

"The economy is in a difficult place right now but when the upturn comes, as it must do sooner or later, we need young business people like these, with drive and ambition, to put the province firmly back on the commercial map," he said.

As quad bikes become more popular for agricultural use, William's innovative product 'Quadcrates' offers a unique solution to users. The Quadcrate is a patented, foldable platform that can give the operator more options when working with their quads, livestock and equipment. The company plans to expand and manufacture the product in Northern Ireland , supplying what is a growing market for this first of its kind accessory.

Speaking of the final eight entrepreneurs who will now go forward to the national final, Gerry Ford, Director of Advantage said "We strongly believe in celebrating and encouraging the goals and ambitions of Northern Ireland 's young entrepreneurs as they are key to increasing the business birthrate and stimulating the future growth of the region's economy. This year's entrants have impressed us with their innovation, commitment and drive and we look forward to watching their businesses grow over the years and of course to see which of the final eight finalists will be crowned eircom Young Entrepreneur of the Year."