Student entrepreneurs across Kerry have begun their journey in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme, with eyes on next year’s National Final.  This Kerry Local Enterprise Office run programme 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 one.


This is 18th year of Ireland’s largest secondary school entrepreneurship programme and 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.


Over 700 students from 25 secondary schools in Kerry took part in last year’s Programme.  The enterprise education 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 over 25,000 students from over 500 secondary schools across the country take part last year. 


Kerry Local Enterprise Office has had much previous success in the competition and Kerry entrants excelled in the 2020 competition taking home 4 National Awards.


The National Winner of the Go Green Competition was Kieran Spaight from Tarbert Comprehensive School with Cycle Away CO2 – a safety device for cars that alerts them to cyclists. 


Eimear Harrington from ISK Killorglin was runner up in The Junior Cycle My Entrepreneurial Journey with Soil Sauna. Her idea was an insulated tray with soil that traps hot water as it exits drain pipes so that crops could grow during the winter.


Castleisland Community College were again victorious with their Intermediate entry Sala Síos receiving runner up prize. This 3D Printed Horse Stirrup attachment which is angled at 30 degrees to aid with balance was devised by Katelyn Curtin. Castleisland Community College also received third place for their Junior  entry Castaway – a clever cast cover for feet, arms and legs made from recycled waterproof material. Team members include Emily Walsh, Colene O’Callaghan, Aine Broderick, Ella Fitzgerald & Charlie O’Keeffe.


Tomas Hayes, Kerry Local Enterprise Office 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.”   


The 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 up by Glanbia.  The Intermediate category was won by Aim It Board from Loreto College in Dublin while Sofatop from Ballybay Community College in Monaghan took the Junior category award.


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 2020 / 2021 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.