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The National Finalists for the Student Enterprise Programme have been announced ahead of the final on the 18th May at The Helix in Dublin.  The Local Enterprise Office initiative, now in its 20th year, has seen over 300,000 secondary students complete Ireland’s largest enterprise programme since it began.  From over 24,000 student enterprises, the top 5 businesses in each of the three categories, Senior, Intermediate and Junior have been selected to go forward to the Final on Wednesday 18th May where An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar will announce the winners.  There is a good spread across the country with eleven counties in total including Kilkenny, having schools included in the Top 5 Finalists across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.   The finalists will be pitching on stage to a panel of judges on 18th May in the Helix, Dublin.

Ciara Ryan

Ciara Ryan from St. Brigid’s College has successfully reached the final stages of the Junior Category, with her business “Sew Stylish” which creates uniquely designed multifunctional hair scrunchies with a discrete zip pocket that can be used to hide/store money, lip gloss or keys, but can also still be used to tie your hair up.

In the Intermediate Category, twin brothers Adam and Liam Doyle, from Coláiste Éamann Rís with their painting service business “Twin Painters” will be representing Kilkenny. 

The twin painters

The programme also had two additional categories that students could 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. Ned O’Meara also from Coláiste Éamann Rís was announced the overall national winner in the Intermediate category of “My Entrepreneurial Journey” and will travel to The Helix, Dublin to accept his award. Also, congratulations to our finalist Saoirse Walsh who received 2nd place in the Junior Category of  “My Entrepreneurial Journey Competition”.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Fidelis Doherty, Kilkenny County Council said; “This is the 20th year of the Student Enterprise Programme and there have been some amazing ideas from across the county. While not all have made it to the national final, they can be very proud of what they have achieved.  The experience of being involved in the programme will stand with them forever and maybe someday in the future will light the spark of entrepreneurship”.  She added “We would like congratulate our finalists and wish them the very best on the 18th May in the Helix, Dublin.” 

Notable national winners of the Student Enterprise Programme from Kilkenny in recent years include “Mark Srouji, from Colaiste Eamann Rís, Callan was awarded first prize in the  ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition at Intermediate level last year. Nathan Ryan also from Colaiste Eamann Rís and a brother of this year’s finalist Ciara Ryan, took first place at Intermediate level in the inaugural year of this competition in 2020. In the main competition at Intermediate level in 2018, CBS Kilkenny students Edward Daly, John O’Brien and Matthew O’Sullivan received first prize with their project  Lift Arm Assist.

According to Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise “since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 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 2021/2022 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers”.