The stage is set for an exciting showdown at the National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme. Out of over 25,000 entrants, 82 Finalists will compete across three categories on Friday, 5 May in Croke Park.
Each of the 31 local enterprise offices have one representative each in the senior category with the remaining finalists spread across the junior and intermediate categories. The finalists span a whole range of sectors from agriculture and design to sustainability and healthcare.
Westmeath is proud to have two fantastic enterprises representing the County at the Nationals this year. The Senior Finalist is Paper4Nature, from Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan, who recycle wastepaper by turning it into beautiful new products like cards and bookmarks. The Junior Finalist is You Rock from Moate Community School, who make handmade frames using rocks for gifts and home décor.
These two outstanding businesses have proved their mettle by winning their respective categories at the Westmeath County Final last month. Now they are gearing up to compete at the national level. The Student Enterprise Programme has been a fantastic platform for young entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas, and the Westmeath representatives are excited to showcase their businesses at the Final.
An initiative of the local enterprise offices to encourage entrepreneurship in secondary schools, the Student Enterprise Programme has seen over 350,000 secondary school students take part in the programme since it first began.
Participating students compete across three categories, Junior (1st year), Intermediate (2nd and 3rd year) and Senior (4th, 5th and 6th year, LVA, LCA and Youth Outreach). Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up, and running their own business, which must show viable sales of their service or product. Following the conclusion of county and regional finals, student enterprises from across the country will now take part in the Final at Croke Park next month.
In addition to the three categories that students will be grouped under by class, students also had the option to take part in further ‘optional competitions’. This year saw the introduction of three additional categories of optional competitions including – the ‘Best Business Website’ sponsored by .IE, the “Green Go Getter Award” sponsored by the EPA, as well as the “SMART Business Idea” award sponsored by Folens. These three new awards categories are in addition to ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’, ‘Social Stars’ and ‘Intellectual Property’ competitions from previous years.
Last year’s winner of the Student Enterprise Programme were “Barrelda” - an eco-innovation created by two young farmers from Co. Meath. Barrelda specialise in revamping old, blue polythene drums and recycling them to create meal silos and teat feeders. The young entrepreneurs have won high praise from eco organisations and farming organisations nationwide for their sustainability focused project which also addresses the rising costs of farming equipment.
The Student Enterprise Programme is funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 local enterprise offices in local authorities throughout the Country. Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 350,000 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 2021 / 2022 at www.studententerprise.ie
which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of student enterprise resources for students and teachers.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 02/05/2023