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30 Sept 2022

Offaly schools encouraged to enter Ireland's largest enterprise programme

CISTERICAN

Pupils from Cistercian College Roscrea who won the awards in 2018

Schools across County Offaly are being encouraged to sign up for this year’s Student Enterprise Programme. An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, the country’s largest enterprise programme for second level students begins its 21st year and over 300,000 students have taken part since it began.

Every year around 25,000 students take part from almost 500 schools all across the country, competing in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. Participants learn how to create and run their own business, picking up key skills along the way such as idea generation and evaluation, marketing, finance and sales.

Recent ambassadors for the programme have included Derval O’Rourke, Josh Van Der Flier and Limerick All-Ireland winner Sean Finn.

The programme is run through the network of Local Enterprise Offices, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities, with local coordinators in every area to support teachers and students through the year of the programme, which helps foster entrepreneurship in students and gives them key skills they can bring with them into later life. The programme is open to all secondary school students from 1st year through to 6th year.

Offaly has had success over the years with

2015 “An Tionchar” from St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr developed an impact hurling boot. The boot, designed to help with injury prevention won the top award in the Senior Category at the National Finals.

In 2018 a bread mix inspired by a 100-year-old recipe from the Cistercian Monks in Roscrea earned ‘Abbey Bread’ from Cistercian College, Roscrea the top award in the Senior Category at the National Finals.

2020 Intermediate Winner Santa’s Reindeers from Tullamore College was selected as one of the 5 national alumni to mark the 20 year anniversary of the programme last year.

2021 Senior Winner at county level Hology Photography from St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr went on to win a Social Media award at the National Finals.

2022 Cian Conway from Tullamore College won a county award and a national award in the My Entrepreneurial Journey competition

Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office, Offaly says “The Student Enterprise Programme is a great introduction to the world of entrepreneurship which allows students to develop new skills and uncover talents they might not have known that they possess – which builds confidence. It provides opportunities to run part-time or hobby businesses – that can continue long after the competition”

Last year the winners were Barrelda from Meath in the Senior Category with their business recycling poly drums from the farm for use as meal troughs and calf teat feeders. In the Intermediate category the winner was Earrings by Aoibheann from Dublin who created a range of jewellery for people who may be sensitive or allergic to traditional jewellery metals. The Junior category was won by Sew Stylish from Kilkenny who again recycled materials to create multifunctional scrunchies for hair that could also hold personal items such as keys and lip gloss.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme also has a new range of online resources for 2022/2023 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.

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