South Dublin County students ready for Croke Park National Final

Stephen Walsh, Local Enterprise Offices and Minister Pat Breen T.D. with the finalists

The Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D., met with several enterprising teenagers ahead of tomorrows National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme, which is organised and run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across the country.

Now in its 15th year, an estimated 22, 000 pupils from 620 secondary schools nationwide participated this year. The aim of the LEO-run programme is to develop links between the education system and the real economy, so that school leavers gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a business, enabling more of them to consider self-employment as a future career option.

Having progressed through their local school finals and individual county finals, 200 students aged between 13 and 18 have secured their place at the National Final on May 3rd.

Selection for the South Dublin Winners was made on March 8th when the Institute of Technology campus in Tallaght buzzed with commercial endeavour as 14 schools from South Dublin competed at the regional finals.

56 businesses representing nearly 160 student entrepreneurs across the 3 categories showcased their enterprising acumen in the areas of Health & fitness, sport, technology, beauty, crafts and textiles.

Local Enterprise Office South Dublin will be represented in Croke Park by;

  • Junior – Wristpockets, (Ilyas Bwabaz from Rockbrook Park School)
  • Intermediate – Fit Appy – One Step at a time, Cian Byrne and Paul McArdle of Greenhills College
  • Senior – No Limits (Aoife Dardis, Katie Grogan, Caoimhe Currie and Sarah Robinson from St Josephs College)

Minister Breen met with budding entrepreneurs this week to see a remarkable showcase of innovation, such as protective base layers for hurlers (‘ROC Protection’ from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown), liquid fertiliser made with seaweed (‘Green Grow’ from Jesus and Mary Secondary School in Sligo), timetable pens for schools (‘Pentables’ from Scariff Community College in Clare), furniture made with recycled engine parts (‘Scott Engine Tables’ from Coláiste Chill Mhaintáin in Wicklow) and a spray to improve the grip on sports equipment (‘GripOn’ from Loreto College in Dublin City).

Minister Breen said:

“Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, and embedding this culture at an early age is crucial.

“This programme is the gateway to ensure that entrepreneurship becomes a natural option for our young people as they discover and develop their talent and business acumen. As Minister for Small Business, I want to nurture Ireland’s future entrepreneurial potential, and it is great to see teachers, young student entrepreneurs and the LEOs coming together to ensure that this starts in the classroom.”

Speaking ahead of the National Final, Head of Enterprise Colm Ward with Local Enterprise Office South Dublin wished the local students well and said:

“The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are celebrating fifteen years of the Student Enterprise Programme this year and it has already helped over 150,000 students since it started in 2003.

“The programme begins every September with free resources for teachers and students in local schools. With an increased emphasis in the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom, we are expecting even more schools and students to take part in the Student Enterprise Programme in the years to come.”

The Local Enterprise Offices have a total prize fund of €9,000 on offer tomorrow with judging taking place across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories that morning.

At last year’s National Finals, then 16-year-old Luke Byrne from Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Wicklow took the overall Senior Category for ‘Headphone Helpers’, a wearable silicone band that keeps earphones tangle free. The Intermediate Category was won by Sean Óg Harrigan and Oisín McLaughlin from ‘Inish Woodworking’ of Scoil Mhuire Buncrana in Donegal. The Junior Category top prize went to Emily Finegan, Kate O’ Reilly, Ava Caddan and Mary Freeman of ‘AMOR’ from St. Oliver Post Primary School in Meath for their stirrup guide for horse-riding.

Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from Local Enterprise Office South Dublin at www.localenterprise.ieand at www.studententerprise.ie.

The Local Enterprise Offices are co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.