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

23,600 students from 480 Irish secondary schools take part in Student Enterprise Programme through the Local Enterprise Offices every year, bringing the world of business into the classroom.

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 Leitrim. 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 St. Clares Comprehensive, Manorhamilton and Drumshanbo Vocational School will be representing Leitrim on May 2nd, including:

-          Slide it Up from St. Clares Comprehensive, Manorhamilton in the Junior Category

-          Sheepfeeders from Drumshanbo Vocational School in the Intermediate Category

-          Buzzy Books from St. Clares Comprehensive, Manorhamilton in the Senior Category

Working under the guidance of Claire Gallagher from St. Clare’s Comprehensive, Manorhamilton, the Junior Category finalists are: Caoimhin McManus, Clive Moffitt and Matthew Gilmartin. The students developed a company selling toothpaste squeezers which are designed to help reduce toothpaste wastage.

In the Intermediate Category, the students competing in Croke Park under the guidance of Sean Wynne from Drumshanbo Vocational School are Shay Lynch and Danny McWeeney. These students have developed sheep feeders using recycled pipes.

And finally, Javotte Hanlon is competing in the Senior Category, under the guidance of Claire Gallagher from St. Clares Comprehensive in Manorhamilton. Javotte has developed a handmade stationary kit designed to promote relaxation through doodling and drawing amongst children and adults.

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.

Joe Lowe, Head of Enterprise in Leitrim 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 Leitrim the very best of luck in judging on May 2nd.Thanks to the support of teachers from over 480 schools, including 7 local schools here in Leitrim, 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 Leitrim on hand to help.”

The special guest at this year’s National Final is the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D.

Last year’s Senior Category nationally was won by ‘ROC Protection’ from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, with a protective base layer for hurling and camogie players.

The 2017 Junior Category winner was Blathnaid Murphy of ‘Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties’ from Our Lady’s Secondary School in Louth, and the Intermediate Category winner was Cillian Scott of ‘Scott Engine Tables’ from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Wicklow.

Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie, with free resources available for teachers and schools.