This Friday February 24, over 100 students will gather in Golden Island Shopping Centre, Athlone to participate in the Student Enterprise Awards co-ordinated by Westmeath County Enterprise Board.
The students will be presenting their business ideas to a panel of judges in the hope of being chosen as the Student Entrepreneur of the Year. This year, the judges have a particularly hard choice to make as the students have shown a natural flair for entrepreneurship and their business ideas include functional shoes for sheep, apps to improve study skills, puzzles from recycled products, a hurling helmet visor, and a guard to protect your shoes while skateboarding.
All the participating students attend secondary schools from across Westmeath including Athlone Community College, Marist College, St Aloysius, St Joseph’s Summerhill, Mercy Convent Kilbeggan, Moate Community School, Loreto College Mullingar, Mullingar Community College, St Mary’s CBS, and Colaiste Cionn Torc.
The students have been working on their business ideas since last September and have been coached by their teachers and two local business advisors from Westmeath County Enterprise Board.
“The aim of the initiative is to give students a real understanding of what it takes to run your own business. They must come up with a concept, develop their idea, produce it, market it, and hopefully make a profit. Two of the teams this year went so far as to take a patent out on their idea so the students are learning real life skills that they can apply to business ideas throughout their life. The students also see the success their team mates and fellow colleagues have with business ideas and how by carefully planning and learning about your market, they can turn their ideas into sales. In the years to come, these skills are going to be so important to young students as they may find themselves in the situation of having to create a job for themselves,” said Christine Charlton, Westmeath County Enterprise Board.
All are welcome to the Golden Island Shopping Centre on Friday to view the competing projects and see who will be crowned Student Entrepreneur of the Year and represent Westmeath in the national finals in Croke Park in April. The event commences at 10am and the winners will be announced at 1.30pm.