Over 125 enterprising students from 11 secondary schools across County Kilkenny exhibited at the Student Enterprise Programme (SEP) County Final held (today) Wednesday 29th March. The finalists began arriving from early morning, getting ready, preparing and transforming the ballroom of the Newpark Hotel into a fantastic exhibition of businesses.
The judges had a very difficult task and had to take numerous factors into account, such as business reporting, innovation, market research, risk management and finances. After much deliberation they finally decided on the projects that would go forward to represent Kilkenny at the Student Enterprise Programme National Final in Croke Park on May 3rd. Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, the competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country.
In the senior category the winners were Tyler O'Callaghan, Jade Soames, Christian Neagu and Sophie Hartford Reade, students from Kilkenny City Vocational School with their project Seasonal Sensations. Their business produces usesrecycled 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. In the Junior category the winners were announced as 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.
Runners up in the Senior Category were “Handmade Wooden Crafts” run by Jack Moylan a student from Duiske College and third prize went to an innovative product “Erase-a-Board” from the CBS Kilkenny. The judges were very impressed with ‘Racing Tech’ project, an innovative design with the intention of making rowing race starts completely fair. This project is being developed by Brian Bolger, a student from Duiske College. He was awarded the Science & Technology which is sponsored by Institute of Technology, Carlow. The Best Branding Award sponsored by the ThreeSixty was awarded to ‘Splash Sisters’ from St. Brigid’s College, Callan.
A number of other special category awards were presented at the County Final event. The Most Innovative Product was presented to “Medoli’’ from Grennan College, whereby the students developed an application in the music genre, to help users discover new music and delve deeper into the music industry using the app as a conduit. “Aprique Apparel” from Loreto Secondary School won the Best Display Award; while “Seasonal Sensations also scooped a prize for the Best Report. The “Artimino Quartet ’’won the Best Teamwork Award while the Social Media Award was presented to ‘Píosa Píosta’ both teams from Loreto Secondary School.
An enterprising student St. Kieran’s College has developed a range of sliotar inspired decorations; Tom Bolger from Bennettsbridge won the Best Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. “Make Up at the Clinic”‘ from Loreto Secondary School won the Personal Development Award, while “Concussion Cards’’ from the CBS Kilkenny scooped the Idea Concept Award. Leabhar Lamh from Castlecomer Community School was awarded the Best Social Inclusion Award for the development of a sign language learning booklet. The overall school prize was presented to St. Brigid’s College, Callan at the award ceremony.
At the presentation ceremony, Cathlaoirach Cllr. Matt Doran, Kilkenny County Council congratulate the efforts of the students involved saying “the Student Enterprise Programme is all about helping to develop entrepreneurial talent, so that you the student may at some point in the future use the experience you gained in participating in this Programme to at least think about setting up your own business”.
Also praising the teachers and local schools involved in the programme, Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise (Acting) from the Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, said: “The Student Enterprise Awards encourages and enables students to take on the world of business and develop an entrepreneurial mind-set. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Office is working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The three category winners Seasonal Sensations, TK Ceramics Ltd and Fresh Minds will now prepare for the National Finals which will be held on Wednesday 3rd May in Croke Park – a venue that Kilkenny people are no strangers too and are noted for achieving success there.