Over 900 students from 20 secondary schools in Mayo are taking part in this year’s Local Enterprise Offices’ Student Enterprise Programme for 2019 / 2020 which was launched this week.
The programme, which is Ireland’s largest business and enterprise programme for second level students, is funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country. Over 25,000 students from 515 secondary schools across the country took part in 2018 / 2019 and this year's National Finals will take place in Croke Park on Friday, May 1.
Mayo has a strong track record in the Student Enterprise Programme. Last year’s winners included Máirtín Maloney from St Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina in the Junior category. His business, the Nephin Turf Company, creates souvenirs and gift products crafted from turf, while Anne Murphy and Áine Killeen from Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Gortnor Abbey, Crossmolina won the Intermediate category. Their business created a fireproof pouch for storing electrical devices when charging for long periods of time.
The Senior category of the competition was won by Laura Fox, Jennifer Burke, Eilidh Mac Phee, Mitchella Lacuesta and Ciara Sweeney from Worry Bear Co. at St Mary’s Convent, Ballina. Worry Bear Co. sells cuddly bears with a dedicated pocket, where a child can place a “worry note” in the bear’s pocket before going to sleep, the aim of the product being to help minimise anxiety and worry amongst young children.
This year’s programme will see two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot, will be run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and is open to any students involved in the wider competition. It requires them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and what is required.
In the Senior category there is a new “Most Creative Business Idea” section. Under the theme “Go Green: Be Sustainable” students can push their most innovative ideas, without having to produce a product or service.
Elaine Moyles, Acting Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Mayo, said: "The aim of the Student Enterprise Programme is to instill entrepreneurship in participants. The Local Enterprise Offices work closely with the schools to help spark their ideas but also ground them in what will help them make sales. These skills are invaluable and to see the amazing ideas, year on year, many of which have become viable businesses, is inspirational not only to their fellow students but to anyone involved in business and entrepreneurship."
Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 200,000 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 website for 2019 / 2020 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.