Jack O'Regan Kenny from Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, at his stand.

National success for all Westmeath students in Croke Park – Westmeath claims three national prizes

Ireland’s largest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs took place in Croke Park at Student Enterprise National Final last week (May 3), co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices

Students from CBS Mullingar, St Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge and Moate Community School all won awards at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) for secondary schools. 

The students took second place in the Intermediate Category, Best Display in Junior Category and Most Commercial Product in Senior Category and were presented with their awards by the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, Oisin Geoghegan of the Local Enterprise Offices, and Michael Nevin, chair of the Enterprise Education Committee for the LEOs.

The winning students for Best Display in Junior Category were first years Katie Hamm and Leya Fox from Moate Community School, who worked under the guidance of their teacher, Louise Costello. 

Their enterprise was called: ‘Copperworks’, which is the manufacture of unique bookmarks and jewellery fabricated from decorative copper wire.

The students who came second in the Intermediate category were third years Joshua Smullen, Ciara Doyle and Jack Donoghue from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rochfortbridge, who worked under the guidance of their teacher, Mary Marshall. 

Their student enterprise was called: ‘JCJ – Get a Grip’, which is the design and manufacture of a cover for the top of Irish dance shoes to reduce the risk of slipping.

Ciara Doyle, Jack Donoghue and Joshua Smullen from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rochfortbridge at their stand.

The winning student for Best Commercial Product in the Senior Category was Jack O’Regan Kenny from Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, who worked under the guidance of his teacher, Eva Acton. 

His enterprise was called: ‘MIRR’, which is the invention, design and manufacture of a unique, first to market voice and touch activated smart mirror.

Jack O’Regan Kenny from Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, at his stand.

The programme, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the LEOs, had a total of 222 teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 13 and 18, from 78 different enterprises, competing at today’s National Final, with every local authority area represented. 

This year’s Student Enterprise Programme attracted 26,000 student participants from 480 secondary schools around the country. 

Starting every September, the enterprise education initiative helps students gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business. 

Minister Breen said; “These student entrepreneurs are the future of Irish business and job creation across the country. 

“The skills attained during the Student Enterprise Programme will be invaluable to these young entrepreneurs and provide them with a fantastic foundation for a future in business. 

“Many congratulations to all the students here. By making it to Croke Park you have shown you can create and run a business. 

“And congratulations also to their teachers, who play such a significant role in sparking and encouraging their entrepreneurial imagination.

“If these students decide that being an entrepreneur is the path they want to take in their future, I can assure them their Local Enterprise Office will be there to support them every step of the way.”

Christine Charlton, head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Westmeath, said: “Congratulations to the students of all three schools on winning these national awards – this recognises all their hard work. 

“We have seen 200,000 students learn how to successfully run a business in the 17 years of the Student Enterprise Programme, thanks to a long-term partnership between schools and Local Enterprise Offices. 

“This is the first year that Westmeath has brought home a prize in all three categories, so, judging by this year’s finalists and winners, the future is bright for entrepreneurs here in Westmeath.”

The three main category winners were: ‘Smooth Remove’ from Boherbue Comprehensive School in Mallow, representing Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West (Senior Category Winner); ‘Críos Mhadra’ from Presentation Secondary School in Castleisland, representing Local Enterprise Office Kerry (Intermediate Category Winner); and ‘Specrest’ from Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together School, representing Local Enterprise Office Fingal (Junior Category Winner). 

Awards were presented for intellectual property awareness by the Irish Patents Office and for social media by Essential French. 

Twenty students in the Senior Category also win a place at the residential ‘Winners’ Business Bootcamp’ over the summer to help them further develop their business skills. 

Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September through the Local Enterprise Offices, are available through www.studententerprise.ie

Judging Panels for Student Enterprise Programme National Final 2019

Junior Category: Ciara Donlon (CEO and founder of Theya Healthcare); Fiona Donnelly (management consultant and entrepreneur); John Byrne (SAOL Mind Coaching).

Intermediate Category: Caroline McHale (education consultant); John Russell (Russell and Co); Ciara Clancy (Beats Medical – winner of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition in 2017).

Senior Category: Peggy McGlynn (former business adviser in Local Enterprise Office Louth); Orla O’Carroll (Orla O’Carroll Ltd); John O’Dea (CEO Tech Ireland).