Offaly students set for national entrepreneur finals at Croke Park

Recognising the entrepreneuring spirit of Irish teenagers

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly students set for national entrepreneur finals at Croke Park

Offaly students set for national entrepreneur finals at Croke Park

23,600 students from 480 Irish secondary schools take part in Student Enterprise Programme through the Local Enterprise Offices every year, bringing the world of business into the classroom.

Some of Offaly's most enterprising teenagers are ‘counting down’ to the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on Wednesday, May 2 in Croke Park.

Starting every September, students across three age categories (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) research, set up, and run their own businesses with the help of their teachers and supports from Local Enterprise Office Offaly.

Nationwide, 230 students from 77 different student enterprises have now reached this year’s National Finals, having qualified through school and county finals earlier in the year.

Student entrepreneurs from Kilcormac, Edenderry and Mount St Joseph, Roscrea will be representing Offaly on May 2 nd , including: Gnó Jó from Colaiste Naomh Cormac in the Junior Category; Seasonal Stationery Company from St. Mary’s Secondary School in the Intermediate Category and; Abbey Bread from Cistercian College in the Senior Category.

Working under the guidance of Tommy Spollen from Colaiste Naomh Cormac, Kilcormac, the Junior Category finalist is first year student Joanne Cushen. Her business provides clubs with fund raising opportunities.

In the Intermediate Category, the students competing in Croke Park under the guidance of Fiona Farrell from St. Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry are Ava McCormack, Tara McDermot, Jordan Judge, Aaron Gorry and Jake O’Callaghan. These students have produced a range of hand-made stationery and gifts.

And finally, Manus Heenan is competing in the Senior Category, under the guidance of Catherine Smyth from Cistercian College, Mount St. Joseph, Roscrea. Manus produces a yeast bread mix based on the original recipe used for over 100 years at the Mount St Joseph monastery.

Run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area, the Student Enterprise Programme is the biggest enterprise education initiative of its kind in the country, with 23,600 students taking part every year from 480 second-level schools. Funding for the programme is provided by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland, and since
it started in 2003, over 150,000 students have now taken part.

Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office in Offaly said: “The National Final in Croke Park is the biggest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs in the country every year and we want to wish the students from Offaly the very best of luck in judging on May 2."

"Thanks to the support of teachers from over 480 schools, including nine local schools here in Offaly, the Student Enterprise Programme links in with the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom and really helps students gain skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business," she added.

"The programme also encourages more students to consider entrepreneurship as a future career choice, with Local Enterprise Office Offaly on hand to help.”

The special guest at this year’s National Final is the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D.

Last year’s Senior Category nationally was won by ‘ROC Protection’ from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, with a protective base layer for hurling and camogie players.

The 2017 Junior Category winner was Blathnaid Murphy of ‘Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties’ from Our Lady’s Secondary School in Louth, and the Intermediate Category winner was Cillian Scott of ‘Scott Engine Tables’ from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Wicklow.

Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie, with free resources available for teachers and schools.

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