National Award Scooped for LEO Cork North & West Students

Media Release
17th May, 2021



Students from Cork County Council's LEO Cork North & West, have taken a social media aware prize in Senior Category at the National Final of this year’s Student Enterprise Programme. The finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were broadcast virtually on Friday 14th May from Croke Park with An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Ambassador Derval O’Rourke speaking with host RTE’s Rick O’Shea, as students and teachers watched on from across the country.

Supported by Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West, the students won a Most Interactive Business on Social Media Award in the Senior Category. The winning students were fourth year secondary school students Kate O'Connor and Emily Barry from Colaiste na Toirbhirte Bandon. The students worked under the guidance of their teacher Elizabeth O Dell and also the West Cork Student Enterprise Programme Co-Ordinator 2020-21 Christine Duggan, DMpr. 

Their student enterprise was called: "Hook R Strike". "Hook R Strike" is a handcrafted sports equipment storage rack for the home and can be purchased online: 

Kate O’Connor and Emily Barry, the two Bandon entrepreneurs behind the business "Hook R Strike" and have been building their business since September 2020,  as part of the Student Enterprise Programme 2020-2021. Their aim was to design a multi-purpose customised sports rack which neatly stores a range of sporting equipment for a tidier home. The idea for the business came from their own experiences of having sports gear all over the home which creates clutter and makes finding the equipment in a hurry difficult.  

There were 72 student enterprises competing in this year’s National 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 29,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students today; “Congratulations to not only the finalists being recognised here today, but to everyone who took part in the competition. To be a finalist in the Student Enterprise Programme is a fantastic achievement in normal times and its incredible given everything that’s happened this past year. Everyone who took part should be very proud of all that they have achieved. Special mention to their teachers, parents and all those who helped them along the way. The ability to create an idea, turn it into a business and to run that business is a skill that will be invaluable later in life. Ireland has a proud history of entrepreneurship and no doubt those here today will all go on to achieve great things. Government will back you every step of the way.”

Praising the winning students and all those representing the LEO Cork North & West at the National Finals, Head of Enterprise Mr Kevin Curran said “This is a proud day for student enterprise in Cork North & West.  We would like to congratulate Kate O'Connor and Emily Barry, of "Hook R Strike" from Colaiste na Toirbhirte Bandon on winning this national award in Croke Park. We would also like to pay tribute to all the other finalists and participants from the LEO Cork North & West who are impressive ambassadors for student enterprise in Cork North & West. 

He continued: “Year-on-year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to produce the very best of ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. It’s no surprise to see the challenges thrown up by the pandemic featuring in many of the businesses and the ongoing willingness for students to create businesses that not only sell services or products, but that help address ongoing issues in society. 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. From our class of 20/21 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”

The National Finalists, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, 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.

The three main category winners on the day were: ‘Coppercase’ from St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, representing Local Enterprise Office Monaghan (Senior Category Winner), ‘’T-Snappi” from Summerhill College, Sligo representing Local Enterprise Office Sligo (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Go Green Now’ from Salerno Secondary School, Galway, representing Local Enterprise Office Galway (Junior Category Winner).

This year’s Programme also saw the inclusion of two optional competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. The first, “My Entrepreneurial Journey”, was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition. It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved. This year’s winners were Pro Games, Spectro Robotics, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Monaghan in the Junior Section and Mark’s Productions, Colaiste Eaman Ris, Kilkenny in the Intermediate section.

In the Senior category, there was a Covid-19 themed “Creative Business Idea” competition, which was open to all senior students taking part in the wider programme. In this competition, students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service. The winners of this category were The Pocket Mask Cleaner, Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Galway.

Last year, the 2019/2020 Student Enterprise Programme National Final winners in the Senior category were Handy Hose Holders from CBS Thurles in Tipperary for their practical milking parlour hose solution that has since been picked listed by Glanbia. The Intermediate category was won by Aim It Board from Loreto College in Dublin City, while Sofatop from Ballybay Community College in Monaghan took the Junior category award.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 250,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. Full details of all this year’s 72 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme website at


Junior – Go Green Now – Salerno Secondary School, Galway
Intermediate – T-Snappi – Summerhill College, Sligo
Senior – Coppercase – St. Macartan’s College, Monaghan

Junior – Sofatop – Ballybay Community College, Monaghan
Intermediate – Aim It Board – Loreto College, Dublin City
Senior – Handy Hose – CBS Thurles, Tipperary

Junior – Specrest – Educate Together, Portmarnock
Intermediate – Crios Mhadra – Presentation Secondary, Castleisland, Kerry
Senior – Smooth Remove – Boherbue Comprehensive, North Cork

Junior – Complete Caman – Presentation Secondary School, CastleIsland, Kerry
Intermediate – Lift Arm Assist – CBS Kilkenny
Senior – Abbey Bread – Cistercian College, Roscrea, Offaly

Junior – Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties – Our Lady’s Secondary School, Drogheda
Intermediate – Scott Engine Tables - Colaiste Chill Mhantain, Rathnew, Wicklow
Senior – ROC Protection – Clonkeen College, Blackrock, Dublin