Record number of Student Enterprise Finalists Announced for 2020

Student Enterprise 2020

Some of Laois’s most innovative and entrepreneurial students will be eagerly logging online next week for the National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme. For the first time since theprogramme began in 2003, the National Finals will take place online and Laois will be represented by Emma Fingleton, Aoife Wang, Gabriella Paulo Pindi, Rachel Horan and Arianna Cabellero- and their business“Twizard” which is the design and production of magic wands. The winning team are students from Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise and their teacher is Ms. Misty Higgins.

Having originally been scheduled to take place in Croke Park on the 1st May, the Local Enterprise Office run awards, will be announced virtually on Wednesday 27th May via live stream on the Student Enterprise Programmes Facebook and YouTube channels.

Laois has a proud tradition on the Student Entrepreneur Programme through Local Enterprise Office Laois. Students from St, Mary’s CBS Portlaoise – Noah Fingleton, Marc Ramsbottom and Simon Fingleton won 2nd place in the Senior Category in last years National competition for their student enterprise ‘Hurl Standz’.

The students and teachers from across the country will watch along online to the event hosted by RTE’s Rick O’Shea and will be joined during the ceremony by previous winners and Student Entrepreneur Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier. The rugby star previously took part in the initiative when he was a student at Wesley College in Dublin.

The Finalists have been announced this year with a record number of 85 student enterprises competing in Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students.The initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, close to 26,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

Some of the finalists this year include an alarm that helps wake small children who can sleep through regular high frequency alarms, eco-friendly products such as beeswax film, an alternative to clingfilm, a bottle stopper to help prevent drinks tampering, germination balls that can be thrown on soil to help generate new wildlife, and stress hampers filled with stress relieving products.

The National Final students are competingacross three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior and judging is ongoing virtually with the finalists nationwide via electronic submissions. Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product. The judging panel includes business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies.

This year’s Programme also saw two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition. It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.

In the Senior category there was a new “Go Green: Be Sustainable Creative Business Competition”. In this new pilot competitionstudents could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service and was open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.

Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, Michael Nevin said; “As a programme we are lucky in that much of the work that students were doing in relation to their Student Enterprises was done well before this pandemic broke out. So, there is no reduction in the quality of entries, if anything we have bigger final this year and some outstanding entries. Looking through the Finalists you can see that students are more conscientious than ever when it comes to solving problems they see in everyday life, affecting the environment and the people around them. It’s encouraging to see the focus that the next generation are putting on making the world a better place and irrespective of who wins, we will see some great student businesses coming from this.”

Since 2003, over 200,000 students have taken part in the Student Enterprise Programme. Last year again there was great variety across the entries, and the winners. In the Junior category, Specrest from Fingal in Dublin designed a 3D printed biodegradable clip that will secure glasses on clothing.Smooth Remove from North Cork, a device for shoe removal won in the Senior category while Crios Mhadra from Kerry, a dog safety harness for car travel took home the Intermediate prize.

Full details of all this year’s 85 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme web


Junior – Specrest – Educate Together, Portmarnock
Intermediate – Crios Mhadra – Presentation Secondary, Castleisland, Kerry
Senior – Smooth Remove – Boherbue Comprehensive, North Cork

Junior – Complete Caman – Presentation Secondary School, CastleIsland, Kerry
Intermediate – Lift Arm Assist – CBS Kilkenny
Senior – Abbey Bread – Cistercian College, Roscrea, Offaly

Junior – Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties – Our Lady’s Secondary School, Drogheda
Intermediate – Scott Engine Tables - Colaiste Chill Mhantain, Rathnew, Wicklow
Senior – ROC Protection – Clonkeen College, Blackrock, Dublin


Winning Enterprises Laois LEO Student Enterprise Programme Awards schedule:

Award/School Team Name & Idea Team Members
Overall Senior Winner Scoil Chriost RiTwizard
New Product- Magic Wand- created and designed by the team
Emma Fingleton
Aoife Wang
Gabriella Paulo Pindi
Rachel Horan
Arianna Cabellero
School Award Dunamase CollegeDunamase Woodcraft
Homemade christmas Decorations.
Leah Stanley
Lucy Egan
Abbie Condon Kirwan
Rachel Ni Neill
School Award Scoil Chriost RiTwizard
New product- magic wands
Emma Fingleton
Aoife Wang
Gabriella Paulo Pindi
Rachel Horan
Arianna Cabellero
School Award Mountrath C.S.Handcraft’d hats
Produce handknit hats
Aine Kealy
Vickie Bergin
School Award Heywood C. S.TY Hoodies
Retail TY Hoodies
Ellie Smith
Roisin Moore
Niamh McDonald
Molly Hickey
School Award St Mary’s CBSBoot Bristles
Product to clean boots
Conn Dowling
David Delaney
Peter Naughton
Finn Delaney