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Our students have Business nous

by Jimmy Rhatigan

LOCAL students had a champion day at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme (SEP) National Finals, with winners in junior and intermediate categories and also in My Entrepreneurial Journey Competitions.
The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were held physically for the first time in three years at the Helix, Dublin on May 18 with students and teachers travelling from all over the country.
At the Plenary Meeting of Kilkenny County Council on May 23, winning students, teachers and family members were formally congratulated by Councillor Fidelis Doherty.
Ciara Ryan, St Brigid’s College, Callan received the overall award in junior.
Her enterprise business Sew Stylish creates designed multifunctional hair scrunchies with a discrete zip pocket that can be used to store money, lip gloss or keys, but can also still be used to tie your hair up.
Ciara was supported throughout the programme by her teacher Ms Lorna Cody, family members and Rosie Dunne, the SEP Co-ordinator in Kilkenny.
In the Intermediate category, twin brothers Adam and Liam Doyle, Coláiste Éamann Rís, Callan with their painting service business Twin Painters Ltd won third prize overall along with the Best Poster Award with the support of teachers Ms Emer Hickey and Ms Joanne Biddy.
There were 15 student enterprises shortlisted for the final in what is Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students.
The initiative, funded by the Government through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw 24,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools take part.
The national final students who competed in junior, intermediate and senior categories, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions.
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.
Ned O’Meara, Coláiste Éamann Rís, Callan received the overall national winner in the intermediate category of My Entrepreneurial Journey.
This competition requires students to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.
Ned impressed the judges with his poster and his account of developing an eco-sportswear business which incorporates renewable energy sources and sustainable materials.
Saoirse Walsh was runner-up in the junior My Entrepreneurial Journey.
Saoirse interviewed local photographer Patrick McDonald as part of her entry and outlined how she developed Saoirse, a chain of cafés throughout Ireland.
At the council meeting, Cathaoirleach Fidelis Doherty congratulated students.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving here in Kilkenny amongst our students with all Kilkenny finalists receiving awards at the national final, a tremendous achievement.”
The Student Enterprise Programme is committed to fostering an enterprise culture among students in Kilkenny and we are delighted with the successful results”.

Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny told Kilkenny Press:
“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 ability to tell compelling stories.
“We see every year that the national finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey.”

The Student Enterprise Awards programme is committed to supporting student micro-enterprises in developing their ideas, creating new concepts and growing their businesses.
For over 12 years, the network of County and City Enterprise Boards has fostered an enterprise culture among students in Ireland.

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