Ireland’s largest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs took place in Croke Park at Student Enterprise National Final today (May 2nd), co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices
A bread mix inspired by a 100-year-old recipe from the Cistercian Monks in Roscrea has earned keen baker, 17-year-old Manus Heenan from ‘Abbey Bread’ in Offaly, the top award in the senior category at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals.
The three main category winners were: ‘Abbey Bread’ from Cistercian College Roscrea, representing Local Enterprise Office Offaly (Senior Category Winner), ‘Lift Arm Assist’ from CBS Kilkenny, representing Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Complete Camán’ from Presentation Secondary School Castleisland, representing Local Enterprise Office Kerry (Junior Category Winner).
The students were all presented with their awards on stage in Croke Park by the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. and Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices.
Intermediate Category Winner - Lift Arm Assist, developed by three teenage boys from Kilkenny, is a hydraulic arm that replaces the lift arm stabiliser on the back of a tractor; while the Complete Camán, developed by five teenage girls from Kerry, is an all-in-one training hurley.
The programme, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the LEOs.
It had a total of 230 teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 13 and 18, from 77 different enterprises, competing at today’s National Final, with every local authority area represented. This year’s Student Enterprise Programme attracted 23,600 student participants from 480 secondary schools around the country. Starting every September, the enterprise education initiative helps students gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business.
Congratulating this year’s winners and their schools, Minister Breen said: “Whether it’s generating business ideas, developing markets or selling to customers, students taking part in the Student Enterprise Programme throughout Ireland have consistently shown a passion and flair for business and enterprise. “, he said.
“Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the Irish economy and initiatives such as the Student Enterprise Programme are key to developing Ireland’s future enterprising culture. I’d like to congratulate this year’s winning students and schools. I hope their success will inspire more schools to sign-up for the next programme in September through their Local Enterprise Office.”, he added.
Sheelagh Daly, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices said: “We have seen over 150,000 students learn how to successfully run a business in the 16 years of the Student Enterprise Programme, thanks to a long-term partnership between local schools and Local Enterprise Offices. The Programme is by far the largest enterprise initiative for schools in the country, and year after year we see brilliant ideas and businesses that not only succeed at school level but that also succeed at national level. Judging by this year’s finalists and winners, the future is bright for Ireland’s entrepreneurs.”
In the Senior Category, for students from Transition Year to Leaving Certificate, the runner-up prize went to ‘The Roofing Safety Bar’ from St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan in Meath, and third place went to ‘Free Flow Bunkers’ from St. Macartan’s College in Monaghan.
Meanwhile in the Intermediate Category, which is for Second Year and Third Year students, ‘Inishowen Pens’ from Scoil Mhuire Buncrana in Donegal took the runner-up prize, and third place went to ‘U Shield’ from Coláiste Dún Iascaig Cahir in Tipperary.
For First Year students in the Junior Category, the runner-up award went to ‘Gnó-Jó’ from Coláiste Naomh Kilcormac in Offaly, with ‘Slimey Wonders’ from Dominican College Muckross Park in Dublin City taking third place.
Previous winner, Luke Byrne of ‘Headphone Helpers,’ spoke during the ceremony about how the programme has boosted his business skills both inside and outside the classroom.
Awards were presented for intellectual property awareness by the Irish Patents Office, and for social media by Essential French.
Twenty students in the Senior Category also win a place at the residential ‘Winners’ Business Bootcamp’ over the summer to help them further develop their business skills.
Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September, are available here.