Student Enterprise Programme

Galway’s student entrepreneurs begin online road to national success 

Student entrepreneurs across Galway have begun their journey to next years national final of the Student Enterprise Programme. This Local Enterprise Office initiative will be delivered differently given the current restrictions across the country, and the Final, which will take place on Friday 14th May 2021, will be a virtual event.

This is the 18th year of Ireland’s largest secondary school entrepreneurship programme which has seen over 200,000 students take part since it began. The Final usually takes place in Croke Park but in 2021, as with the 2020 Final earlier this year, the event will take place online in line with current guidelines.

The students, who will compete across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, will see judging take place virtually via electronic submissions.  Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product. 

The programme will also include two additional categories that students can enter. These are the “Most Creative Business Idea” video competition for the senior category and the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” category for the Junior and Intermediate categories. 

Schools from Galway taking part this year are Coláiste Bhaile Chláir Claregalway, Scoil Bhríde Mercy Secondary School Tuam, Presentation College Headford, Coláiste Cholmcille Indreabhán, Coláiste na bPiarsach Ros Muc, Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara Carna, Coláiste Ghobnait Inis Oírr, Coláiste Naomh Éinne Inis Mór, Coláiste na Coiribe Knocknacarra, Glenamaddy Community School Glenamaddy, Dunmore Community School Dunmore, Holy Rosary College Mountbellew, Coláiste an Chreagáin Mountbellew, St. Cuan’s College Castleblakeney, St. Killian’s College New Inn, Coláiste an Eachréidh Athenry, Clarin College Athenry, St. Raphael’s College Loughrea, Seamount College Kinvara and St. Mary’s College, Our Lady’s College, Solerno Secondary School, Coláiste Éinde, St. Joseph’s (The Bish) in Galway City.

Over 700 students from 19 secondary schools in County Galway took part in last year’s Programme. This year 24 secondary schools are participating. The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland is delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, with over 25,000 students from 500 secondary schools taking part across Ireland  last year. 

Galway has had previous success in the competition with ‘What About Me’? A transition year group from Dunmore Community School which won the Senior Category in Galway and came 3rd in the national competition. The first time Galway has had success at national level. They produced a booklet titled: ‘My Sibling… Then Me’. The booklet was aimed at starting conversations within the families of special needs children, a resource to help siblings undertake a journey from frustration to understanding.

A Local Enterprise Office Galway representative said; “These are unprecedented times for our students and this year’s competition is giving them the opportunity to create businesses that can make an impact in the current real-world scenario.  We are encouraging students to come up with business ideas that are adapted to the existing enterprise challenges and that are sustainable in today’s economic climate.  With this in mind the programme has changed and even though the way it is being delivered (which is mainly online), is different, the students will still be able to work together in their school setting to develop their businesses.  This will be our most challenging year to date in the Student Enterprise Programme’s history, but it will be exciting to see what new world businesses our students bring to the table.”   

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 new range of online resources for 2021 at which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.