Countdown to National Final begins for County Monaghan’s most enterprising students

Local Enterprise Office Monaghan confirms that winning teenage entrepreneurs from Monaghan and Castleblayney will represent County Monaghan at National Final of Student Enterprise Programme.

Young entrepreneurs from two local schools have won a place representing County Monaghan at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park on Friday, May 14th.

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

The programme compliments the business studies curriculum at both Junior and Senior level and is a rewarding experience for students, giving them the freedom to develop their business concepts to the fullest. Students can enter either individually or as part of a team.

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. 

More than 600 students from 7 schools across County Monaghan took part in this year’s programme coordinated by Fern Ross on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Monaghan.  The students were competing at the County Monaghan Final on Thursday 25th March, which was held online at a virtual awards ceremony.  

In the Senior Category, the student representing County Monaghan at the National Finals is Matthew McVicar from ‘Coppercase’ who attends St Macartans College Monaghan.  The 2nd place accolade went to Ailbhe Clifford, Ella Harvey & Aisling Sherry from St Louis Secondary School Monaghan with ‘Spotify Screens’. 3rd place was awarded to GD Footballs from St Macartans College Monaghan and team members; Michael McMorrow, Shea Swift, Senan McCrudden, Daniel Douglas and Luke McManus.

 ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ is a new category in the competition and representing County Monaghan in the National final is first year student Sean Kerley from Our Lady's Secondary School Castleblayney. Joint runners up in this category were Molly Ward & Erin McQuillan also from Our Lady's Secondary School Castleblayney. 

Best Presentation was awarded to Sean McMonagle from Patrician High School with his business, Wooden Desktop Organiser.

The highly sought ‘Innovation Award’, sponsored by Monaghan County Fund, was presented to Matthew McVicar from St Macartans with his business; Coppercase. The runner up prize was presented to Banrion Jewellery from St Louis Secondary School Monaghan and the team members; Tara Gillespie, Hannah Skeath, Aoibheann Fields. 

Sponsored by Monaghan IT Forum, the Social Media award also went to Spotify Screens from St Louis Secondary School Monaghan who’s team included; Ailbhe Clifford, Ella Harvey & Aisling Sherry

The judging panel for all categories on the day was made up by Edel Treanor, Mullan Lighting and Conchubhair MacLochlainn from Acmhainni Teoranta.  

Speaking at the County Final, John McEntegart Head of Enterprise Monaghan County Council, congratulated the students, saying “We were delighted this year that participation in the programme continued in light of external challenges. Many thanks to the teachers and principals for their continued support and commitment to the Student Enterprise programme through these changes. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck in the national final on May 14th.” 

He 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 a virtual awards ceremony on Friday May 14th.