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Who Will Be Ireland’s Next Great Entrepreneur?


Who will be Ireland’s next big entrepreneur?
In September 2014, the Student Enterprise Programme was launched by An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, to get the ball rolling for this years’ Student Enterprise Awards National Final. More than 17 000 students from every county have been running their own enterprises around the country in the bid to make it to April’s finals.
These young entrepreneurs come from 370 different secondary schools across the country and have been very busy getting their enterprises off the ground. They are being supported by their teachers and the Local Enterprise Offices who are overseeing and co-ordinating them.
From an early age, we are asked to understand that education will be one of the most important activities we will be engaging in. In some countries it is compulsory that one gets an education, but it is generally understood that you have a greater chance at survival with some form of education.
School starts for most of us in our toddler years and then we go on to primary and secondary school. After the leaving cert exams have come and gone, students are advised to take up college or university degrees so that they can take up employment or start up a business.
All of this toil and trouble is for the purpose of entering the work force and to start earning money. Money is what it is about, buying a house, paying for our children’s education and covering living costs.
The Student Enterprise Awards National Final is all about encouraging young students to orientate themselves in the world of business and enterprise and to think of new and innovative ways of making money.
The Student Enterprise Awards Programme has been going for 11-years now and is a competition for second level students. Many young entrepreneurs have achieved success in their enterprises.
The 2014 2nd place winners were transition year students from Beara Community School, Castletownbere, who published and designed My Little Adventure – an illustrated children’s book where the reader can write stories for the pictures in the book.

In 2013, the creators of the Squeasy – Luke Sheridan, Fergus Munday and Matthew from Comprehensive School in Manorhamilton created a game for primary school children, based on the classic science experiment ‘Cartesian Diver’ claimed first prize.
In 2012 Senior Category Winner, Ciara Whooley from St. David’s Secondary School Wicklow came up with a design called Irish Baubles – souvenirs from Ireland, now selling her product on all five continents.
The 2011 winner Tara Haughton, created the Rosso Solini pack – a designer pack that allows women to customise their shoes with a red heel. In Spanish Rosso Solini means red sole.
Getting young students to think of new concepts and business initiatives like these is a wonderful and exciting way to prepare our future employers and business owners.
300 finalists will get an opportunity to exhibit their displays at the National finals in Dublin at Croke Park on the 22nd April, and the young entrepreneurs can look forward to impressive prizes that will be awarded to those who succeed in impressing the judges.  For the winning students there will be awards – prizes include:

  • A European trip for a maximum of 5 team members worth over 10,000 euro.
  • National Trophy and Cash Prizes
  • Local and National Media Profile including TV and Radio appearances

The objective of this programme is to give to give students the opportunity to experience the business world in its realist way and to gain practical experience by running their own business. The students are encouraged to consider self-employment and classes in schools where business are taught are changed into real working environments.

There are three categories in the Awards – The Senior Category for the 4th, 5th, 6th years and Youthreach. The Intermediate Category for 2nd and 3rd years and the Junior Category for 1st years.

The Final for the Students Enterprise Award Programme will take place at Croke Park Conference Centre on Wednesday the 22nd April and this month – March – the Local Enterprise Awards finals take place where one overall winner will be chosen to present the region at the National Final. The deadline for winning entrants is the 27th March 2015.

Supporting young people and assisting them into new and creative ways of thinking about their futures is pertinent for the promotion of self-employment and creating a bright future for the next generation.

We are looking forward to see what these young entrepreneurs have come up with this year and who will take the title for Student Enterprise 2015!

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