A teenage entrepreneur from Banagher College is on his way to Croke Park in Dublin next month, to represent the county and the Local Enterprise Office at the National Finals of the Student Enterprise Programme.
In the Senior Category of the competition, Offaly will be represented on May 3 by Ciarán Corcoran of EasyTag from Banagher College, Colaiste na Sionna. Ciarán has developed a new and innovative product that allows farmers to easily record animal births. He also won the special “Student Prize” which was chosen by all the students on the day.
The runner up was Matthew Moran of Buzzbox Industries, also of Banagher College. He has produced a range of bird, bat and bee boxes for use with the GLAS scheme.
Under the Student Enterprise Programme, which starts every September, budding secondary school entrepreneurs set-up and run their own enterprises, learning about the world of business with help from their teachers and Local Enterprise Office Offaly.
The students were all competing at the Offaly Final which was held at the Tullamore Court Hotel. An estimated 400 students from nine schools took part in the annual programme locally.
Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices in every Local Authority area, the competition is the most successful student enterprise programme of its kind in the country. Offaly has a very strong record in the student enterprise competition. Recent awards won by local secondary schools have included last year’s Senior Category Innovation Winner, Daniel Carroll from Colaiste Choilm, Tullamore with Caballis Equine Feeder and Gallen Community School’s Farm Friendly Feeder who won the Innovation award in the Intermediate Category.
Speaking at the final, Mr Pat O’Gorman, member of the LEO Offaly Evaluation & Approvals Committee, and formerly of Teasgasc commended the students for their efforts. He also thanked their teachers and parents for their support. “It’s a great opportunity for you (the students) to develop your business skills and knowledge” he commented.
Praising local schools for helping to foster student enterprise in the classroom, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise of the Local Enterprise Office Offaly, said: “Our local schools are very committed to supporting youth entrepreneurship. Principals, teachers, boards of management and importantly, the student entrepreneurs themselves deserve huge credit for their dedication and hard work”.
The other winners in the competition were:
3rd Place – M&O Number Plates from Killina Presentation Secondary School who developed magnetic number plates for use with trailers
Educational Award – Emocolet from Ard Scoil Chiarain, Clara who have produced emotion themed bracelets for young children
Scientific Award – Fat Score Tester from Tullamore College, who developed an animal fat manual grading device
Environmental Award – EmbR from Colaiste Choilm who have made children’s toy seats made from recycled retail mayonnaise tubs.
Innovation Award – Klever Kubes from St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry who made Braille Rubix Cubes, based on a need identified for toys suitable for visually impaired children
Best Craft Business Award – White Grass Designs from Gallen Community School, Ferbane who have produced unique handmade greeting cards using bog cotton and lavender.
The National Finalists will be competing with up to 300 other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland on May 3. Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme, which is run by the Local Enterprise Offices, is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.
As part of the ‘first stop shop’ business support model, the Local Enterprise Offices deliver services and support to the micro and small business sectors with the guidance of the Centre of Excellence at Enterprise Ireland under the policy direction of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.