Kildare Student Entrepreneurs Begin Online Road to National Success


Student entrepreneurs across County Kildare have recently begun their journey in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme, with eyes on next year’s National Final. This year, the Kildare Local Enterprise Office initiative will be delivered differently given the current Covid 19 restrictions. The Student Enterprise Programme National Final will also take place virtually this year and is due to take place on Friday 14th May 2021.

Now in its 18th year, the Student Enterprise Programme is Ireland’s largest secondary school entrepreneurship programme and has seen over 200,000 students take part since it first began in 2003. The National Final of the competition normally takes place in Croke Park but in 2021, as with the 2020 National 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 competition also features 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 1,500 students from 21 secondary schools in County Kildare took part in last year’s Programme. 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, saw over 25,000 students from over 500 secondary schools across the country take part last year. 

Kildare County Council’s Local Enterprise Office has had previous success in the competition with students of St Marys College Naas awarded third place in the Senior Category at the National Final 2019 with their product ‘The Struggle Is Real’. 

Looking to build on the County’s previous success ,  Doreen Heavey Assistant Business advisor and student programme co ordinator 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 2020 / 2021 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.   


1st Place County Award - The Struggle Is Real - St Mary's Naas

Students Anna Burke, Anna Bazin, Daire Kavanagh, Sophie Brown and Eabha Bracken O’Brien of St.Mary’s College Naas winning

Third Place in the Senior Category at the National Finals in Croke Park 2019