National Success for Longford Students

Local students among countries top entrepreneurs

 J and S Kitchen Aid   bin belts Moyne

It is not often that Longford teams go to Croke Park and come back with silverware but last Wednesday (May 3rd) was the exception when two local mini-enterprise companies picked up prestigious awards in the national final of the Student Enterprise Programme.

There was great excitement as Longford schools came second and third in their respective categories earning their rewards for building strong, innovative businesses and having the confidence to present their ideas to judges, media and the public on the day.

J & S Kitchen Aid from Mercy Secondary School in Ballymahon achieved 2nd place in the Senior Category for their business where they designed, produced and sold an innovative cutting knife protector particularly useful for people suffering from arthritis or tendonitis. The team of three transition year students was led with great aplomb by James Carroll who worked with Cronan Flood and Sam Maxwell to produce a product that would be useful in every kitchen. Apart from coming second at the Awards final, the students appeared on the Late Late Show last Friday and now get the opportunity to take part in a residential entrepreneurship programme in UCC towards the end of May.

Bin Belt from Moyne Community School was awarded third place in the Junior Category.  This business led by 2 young first year students Shauna Reilly and Emma Beirne designed and manufactured a strap device to keep wheelie bins securely closed.  An idea simple in its ingenuity but so practical that everyone would want one is designed to keep bin lids closed in bad weather or when they fall over. The girls were ably supported by their teacher Mr. Pauric Doherty who has been a great supporter of the Student Enterprise Competition over many years.

At the awards ceremony that had 77 finalists and was attended by a crowd in excess of 500 the students from Longford were quizzed by the judges in a number of areas around business start-up and development  to include producing, marketing and selling of product and keeping a record in the form of a business plan. The Longford students excelled in all aspects of business.

The LEO-run Student Enterprise Programme celebrated its 15 year anniversary this year and in 2017 it introduced over 22,000 students from 620 schools to the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship. The year-long programme helps each student acquire the real-life skills needed to run a small enterprise where they discover first-hand the rewards and pitfalls associated with trying to get a business off the ground.

Presenting the awards to this year’s winners, Minister for State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said: “Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, which is why this Student Enterprise Programme and Awards is so important. Getting students learning about enterprise and providing the opportunity for them to learn by doing, at an early age, lays the foundations for successful entrepreneurship in the future.

Congratulating the local students on their awards win, Michael Nevin with Local Enterprise Office Longford said it was the counties best ever achievement in the 15 year history of the event. He added that although the Student Enterprise Programme was more about learning than winning it was still great to compete so successfully against the other 31 LEO offices around the country.