Student Enterprise Awards

Countdown to Croke Park begins for Laois most enterprising students

Local Enterprise Office Laois confirms that winning teenage entrepreneurs from St. Mary’s CBS will represent County Laois in the senior category at the National Final of Student Enterprise Programme.

Three teenage entrepreneurs from St. Mary’s CBS have won the overall prize and will represent Laois at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park on Friday, May 3rd. Five students from Dunamase College have won in the Intermediate category and will also represent Laois in this category at the National Finals.

Every September through Local Enterprise Office Laois, entrepreneurial secondary school students begin their business journey as they are encouraged to research, set-up and run their own real-world businesses.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities, is the most successful student enterprise programme of kind in the country. An estimated 26,000 students from 490 schools around the country begin their entrepreneurial journey every year with the help of their teachers, student enterprise co-ordinators and Local Enterprise Office.

The students were all competing at the Laois Final on 28th March 2019 which was held at the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise .An estimated 280 students from 8 schools took part in the annual programme locally.

In the Intermediate Category, Rudai Beaga from Dunamase College, Portlaoise will be representing the county in Croke Park. The students are Nisha Cullen, David Jalcubowski, Alexandriu Podvisevschi, Sorcha Tiernan and Killeen Newman.

In the Senior Category of the competition, Laois will be represented on May 3rd by Noah Fingleton, Marc Ramsbottom and Simon Fingleton from Hurl Standz at St. Mary’s CBS Portlaoise.

Other Prize winners included:

2nd Prize (Senior Category) – Ebony Onalimi, Ebony’s Kitchen from Scoil Chriost Ri

3rd Prize (Senior Category) - Jake Kirwan and Darragh Mc Spadden ‘M.K. Stitching’ from Mountrath Community School

Innovation Award went to Arianne Conroy, Taylor Culliton Conroy, Eve Tarpey, Aimee Cousins and Joshua Gill from Mountmellick Community School for ‘Magic Fairy Doors’

The Technology Award went to Portlaoise College – Caoimhe Dunne, Jade Brennan, Norbert Burnos, Nathan Dowling and Alomide Olotu with their business ‘ Game Changer Kits’.

The Creative Design award went to Jessica McDarby of Colaiste Iosagain Portarlington for her business ‘Personalised Hand Painted Shows’.

Special guests at the Laois Final included the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr. John King and Guest speaker was entrepreneur and social media expert, Joanne Sweeney.

Speaking at the county final, Ms Evelyn Reddin of Local Enterprise Office Laois congratulated the students, saying “We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Laois, with over 280 students from 8 local schools taking part this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck in Croke Park on May 3rd.”

 She continued: “What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and team-work, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers”. 

The local students will be competing against hundreds of other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland in Croke Park at the Annual Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on May 3rd.

Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from and by searching #studententerprise on social media.