Students from Kilkenny have taken 2nd and 3rd place prizes in the intermediate category of the main competition and ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative took place on Friday in Croke Park.

Image 1 - Senior Category representatives of the main competition

Supported by Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, the students who won third place in the main competition intermediate category were: Cian Holohan and Jack Dooley from St. Kieran's College under the guidance of their teacher Paul Fitzgerald. Their student enterprise was called: ‘HD Horseshoe Designs, which sell a variety of ornaments made from repurposed horseshoes. In the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” competition two Coláiste Abhainn Rí students represented Kilkenny in the National Finals; Ruth O'Sullivan of Shake It Up Ltd. came third in the junior category and Darragh Lyons from Energelz was runner up in the intermediate category under the guidance of their teacher Emer Hickey. Congratulations are also in order to Michael Bookle, Conor Monks, Darragh Dack, Conor Kelly and Isaac Magnez from The Gaming Guard at Grennan College under the guidance of their teacher Nicola Murphy and Jane Kelly and Isabelle Doheny from Worry Not at Coláiste Abhainn Rí who put on a fantastic display at the finals.

There were 82 student businesses in contention across three main categories for the Final in what is Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students.

Image 2 - Intermediate Category 3rd place winners of the main competition,

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick, on hearing the results said: “Congratulations to the talented students from Kilkenny for their outstanding achievements at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. Your dedication, creativity and hard work have paid off and your success is a testament to the support and guidance of your teachers and the staff of the Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office. Keep up the excellent work and continue to inspire others with your entrepreneurial spirit.”

Neale Richmond, T.D., Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students; “Congratulations to everyone who made it to today’s National Finals. With over 25,000 students taking part in this year’s programme, it is a huge achievement to make it to the Finals and shows a real flair for entrepreneurship. Some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs have come from this programme – the majority did not win any prizes but are still running successful businesses today.

Aileen McGrath, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny said; “Year on year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to showcase the very best of Irish ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. This year produced a varied selection of businesses, from agricultural products and homemade gifts to products that were built on our unique ability to tell compelling stories. We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 22/23 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”

Image 3 - Junior Category representatives of the main competition

The National Final students, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, were all attendance on the day exhibiting their businesses which were judged by a team of national businesses experts and mentors. Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.

The Student Enterprise Programme is funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country. Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 350,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.