Teen entrepreneurs from County Kilkenny on countdown to Student Enterprise National Final on May 2nd

Some of the county’s most enterprising teenagers are ‘counting down’ to the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on Wednesday, May 2nd in Croke Park.

Starting every September, students across three age categories (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) research, set up, and run their own businesses with the help of their teachers and supports from Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny. Nationwide, 230 students from 77 different student enterprises have now reached this year’s National Finals, having qualified through school and county finals earlier in the year.

Student entrepreneurs from CBS Kilkenny and Coláiste Éamann Rís, Callan will be representing County Kilkenny on May 2nd, including:

-          Hot Chills Ltd from Coláiste Eamann Rís in the Junior Category

-          Lift Arm Assist from the CBS Kilkenny in the Intermediate Category

-          Kat Food also from CBS Kilkenny in the Senior Category

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Working under the guidance of Ms. Emer Hickey from Coláiste Éamann Rís, the Junior Category finalists are: Jack O'Shea, Jim Power and Nathan Ryan with their hot chocolate products.

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In the Intermediate Category, the students competing in Croke Park under the guidance of Mr. Pat Downey from CBS Kilkenny are Edward Daly, John O'Brien, Matthew O'Sullivan with their innovative product Lift Arm Assist. They developed an innovative hydraulic ram that replaces the life arm stabilizer on the back of a tractor. It has been developed as a labour saving device but also reduces the incidence of serious accidental injury.

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And finally, Colm Dunne and Conor McCarthy are competing in the Senior Category, under the guidance of Ms. Anna Culleton also from CBS Kilkenny. These students have published a compilation of healthy, easy recipes from our favourite hurling and camogie stars. KAT Food cookbook arose as a combination of respective interest from Conor & Colm - Colm has a passion for GAA and Conor has an interest in culinary skills.

Run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area, the Student Enterprise Programme is the biggest enterprise education initiative of its kind in the country, with 23,600 students taking part every year from 480 second-level schools. Funding for the programme is provided by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland, and since it started in 2003, over 150,000 students have now taken part.

Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny said: “The National Final in Croke Park is the biggest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs in the country every year and we want to wish the students from County Kilkenny the very best of luck in judging on May 2nd.Thanks to the support of teachers from over 480 schools, including 14 local schools here in County Kilkenny, the Student Enterprise Programme links in with the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom and really helps students gain skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business. The programme also encourages more students to consider entrepreneurship as a future career choice, with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny on hand to help.”