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25 Jan 2022

WATCH: Offaly's top student entrepreneurs honoured at Student Enterprise Programme Final

Local Enterprise Office Offaly has announced that winning teenager entrepreneurs from Birr Community School will represent Offaly at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on May 14.

The students all took part in the Offaly Final this week, which was held live online for the first time ever in the history of the competition. Almost 500 students from 10 schools took part in the annual programme locally. You can watch the programme above.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, sees on average 25,000 students from over 500 secondary schools across the country take part each year. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals.

Offaly will be represented on May 14 by Hology Photography from Birr Community School which is owned by Damien Delaney and Alex Byrne. They run a photography business selling pictures framed, unframed and on canvas of the local area and more. They also plan to become a service provider taking pictures in the local area and expanding to even more products when Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

As well as sharing the prize fund of over €1,500, the winners received a specially commissioned trophy designed by local craftsperson Ross Hathaway of Metal Meyham, and every student receives a certificate to mark their participation in the competition.

A special teachers’ prize draw was held and gift vouchers went to John Lowndes of Tullamore College and Patsy Griffin of St. Mary’s Secondary School in Edenderry.

Offaly has a very successful track record in the Student Enterprise competition. Recent awards won at the National Final include Overall Winner in 2018 with Manus Heenan’s “Abbey Bread” from Cistercian College.

The full list of those who picked up awards is as follows

Winner
St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr - Hology Photography - Damien Delaney, Alex Byrne

Runner Up
Tullamore College - Untangled Books - Una Hughes, Nera Grgurev, Tracy Hannon, Grace Tierney, Lucy Cullen Nolan

3rd
St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry - Designs To Dye For - Leah Daly, Katie Byrne , Ross Anthony, Maria Macari

“Ones to Watch” Award
Cistercian College, Roscrea - Power Cakes - Charlie Naughton, Fabien Fleetwood

Sustainability Award
St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr -  Creativity le Cairde - Mary MacCartáin, Jack Kirwan

Best Report Award
Tullamore College - The Next Chapter - Caitlin Dunne, Róisín Farrell, Kate Tracey, Nancy Flynn

Best Product Award
Ard Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Clara - Home Tweet Home - Gavin Bennett

Innovation Award
Ard Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Clara - Sew Perfect - Conor McEvoy

Merit
St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr - Medal Minders - Meg Delaney, Laura O'Donoghue, Caoimhe Carroll Chloe Tooher

Merit
Tullamore College - F.A.B.B. Wooden Crafts - Eamon Bolger, Fionán Redmond, Aaron Gorman, Ben Gilmartin

Merit
Ard Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Clara - Crafty Giftzz- Zelda Utangec, Holly McCloskey

Merit
St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry - Jingle Bell Pops - Elyse Halligan

Merit
St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry - Thread It Shauna Comerford, Ruby Foran, Olivia Craig, Jessica Cannon Mooney

Speaking at the final, Mr John Carroll Cathaoirleach Offaly County Council, commended the students for their efforts, trying to set up a business in these very challenging circumstances. Each student is a winner just to reach the final. He thanked their teachers and parents for their support. “It’s a great opportunity for you (the students) to develop your business skills. Hopefully many of you will go on to set up your own businesses in the future and avail of the services of the Local Enterprise Office, which is now an integral part of the County Council.” he commented.

The local students will be competing against hundreds of other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland in the Annual Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in May.

Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.

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