- Ireland’s Finest Young Student Entrepreneurs Celebrated at National Finals
Students from Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan and Moate Community School represented Westmeath in the Junior and Senior Categories at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office Initiative took place on Friday 5 May in Croke Park.
In the Junior Category, the students representing Westmeath at the National Finals were Niamh Noone, Doireann Keena & Lucy Keane from ‘You Rock’ at Moate Community School. In the senior category of the competition, Westmeath was represented on 5 May by Aoife Mangan, Lauren Wrafter, Chloe Daly, Lucy Caulfield from ‘Paper4Nature’ at Mercy School Kilbeggan.
There were 82 student businesses in contention across three main categories for the final in what is Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students. The initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 local enterprise offices in local authorities throughout the Country, saw 25,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the Country take part.
Neale Richmond, T.D., Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students; “Congratulations to everyone who made it to today’s National Finals. With over 25,000 students taking part in this year’s programme, it is a huge achievement to make it to the Finals and shows a real flair for entrepreneurship. Some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs have come from this programme – the majority did not win any prizes but are still running successful businesses today. So, to those of you who won something today, a huge congratulations, but most importantly, to you all, this is the first step on the path, you are the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future, and everyone here today is excited to see what you do next.”
Christine Charlton, Head of Enterprise in Westmeath County Council said; “Year on year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to showcase the very best of Irish ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. This year produced a varied selection of businesses, from agricultural products and homemade gifts to products that were built on our unique ability to tell compelling stories. We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a steppingstone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 22/23 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”
The National Final Students, who competed across the three categories of junior, intermediate, and senior, were all in attendance on the day exhibiting their businesses which were judged by a team of national businesses experts and mentors. Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product. The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies.
The three main category winners on the day were: ‘McCompactors’ from Roscommon Community College, representing Local Enterprise Office Roscommon (Senior Category Winner), ‘’Clip Clop Designs” from Moyne Community School representing Local Enterprise Office Longford (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Grasper’ from Drumshanbo Vocational School representing Local Enterprise Office Leitrim (Junior Category Winner).
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.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 09/05/2023