County Kilkenny students ready for Croke Park National Final

Now in its 15th year, an estimated 22, 000 pupils from 620 secondary schools nationwide participated this year. The aim of the LEO-run programme is to develop links between the education system and the real economy, so that school leavers gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a business, enabling more of them to consider self-employment as a future career option. Having progressed through their local school finals and individual county finals, 200 students aged between 13 and 18 have secured their place at the National Final on May 3rd.Seasonal Sensations

Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny will be represented in Croke Park by students from three secondary schools Coláiste Eamann Rís, St. Brigid’s College both located in Callan and also Kilkenny City Vocational School. In the senior category, Kilkenny will be represented by Tyler O'Callaghan, Jade Soames, Christian Neagu and Sophie Hartford Reade, students from Kilkenny City Vocational School with their project Seasonal Sensations (Right). Their business produces uses recycled raw materials to make creative products themed around various seasons. They were very resourceful in terms of how they utilised labour and raw material to create a successful business.

Kian Maher and Tomas Sebok from Coláiste Eamann Rís, Callan will represent Kilkenny in the Intermediate category with their craft business TK Ceramics Ltd (Below left).  In the Junior category the County winners going through to the National Final are Aimee O'Brien, Ciara Treacy, Molly Dunne, Emma Cahill and Hannah Wallace with their Fresh Minds from St. Brigid’s College, Callan with their themed and key word bookmarks project (Below right).

TK Ceramics LtdMinister Breen met with budding entrepreneurs this week to see a remarkable showcase of innovation. Fresh MindsHe said: “Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, and embedding this culture at an early age is crucial. This programme is the gateway to ensure that entrepreneurship becomes a natural option for our young people as they discover and develop their talent and business acumen. As Minister for Small Business, I want to nurture Ireland’s future entrepreneurial potential, and it is great to see teachers, young student entrepreneurs and the LEOs coming together to ensure that this starts in the classroom.”

Speaking ahead of the National Final, Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise (Acting) with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, wished the local students well and said: “The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are celebrating fifteen years of the Student Enterprise Programme this year and it has already helped over 150,000 students since it started in 2003.The programme begins every September with free resources for teachers and students in local schools. With an increased emphasis in the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom, we are expecting even more schools and students to take part in the Student Enterprise Programme in the years to come.”

The Local Enterprise Offices have a total prize fund of €9,000 on offer on May 3rd with judging taking place across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories that morning.

Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny at www.localenterprise.ie/kilkenny and at www.studententerprise.ie.

The Local Enterprise Offices are co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.

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