Secondary School Entrepreneurs Swap Classroom for Business Bootcamp

A patented hurling boot, a magnetic board for make-up and a stain prevention treatment are among the student enterprises at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards Business Bootcamp at University College Cork.

A group of enterprising secondary school students are leaving the classroom behind to embark on a week-long business bootcamp, as part of the annual Student Enterprise Awards Programme through the Local Enterprise Offices.

 In all, 17 teenage entrepreneurs across eight different student enterprises from Offaly, Louth, Dublin, Mayo, Westmeath, Wexford, Limerick and Kildare have won a place at this year’s Winners’ Bootcamp, which will help them expand and grow their entrepreneurship skills.

Organised by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, the third annual bootcamp is hosted by the College of Business and Law at University College Cork in association with the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme for the first time, from June 8th to 13th. Students were selected from the Senior Category award winners at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards National Final, which took place in Croke Park in April.

Throughout the programme, students will expand their business knowledge and develop their enterprise ideas through challenges, team building sessions and project workshops. Gaining new perspectives and accessing expertise may help the students become the business owners and leaders of the future, according to organisers.

Secondary School Entrepreneurs Swap Classroom for Business Bootcamp
The winners attending this year’s bootcamp include students from: ‘An Tionchar,’ a patent-pending boot designed to reduce injuries in hurling (St. Brendan’s Community School, Co. Offaly ); ‘Aqua-Pro’, stain resistant treatments for clothes and fabrics (St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin); ‘The Rain Harvester’ a self-contained over-ground water filtration system (Coláiste Ris, Co. Louth) and ‘Gift Gro’ (Newbridge College, Co. Kildare), grow-it-yourself plant and herb kits.

Other winning student enterprises include: ‘Branching Out,’ handmade wooden crafts (St. Mary's C.B.S, Co. Wexford); ‘Once Upon A Rhyme’, comical t-shirts and hoodies (Moate Community School, Co. Westmeath); ‘Babe Magnets’ magnetic boards for make-up (St Mary's Secondary School, Co. Mayo), and ‘Guide A Key’ which helps those with medical conditions to guide a key into keyholes (Desmond College, Co. Limerick).

The annual Student Enterprise Awards Programme began in classrooms last September, where 17,000 students from 370 schools, researched, set-up, and managed real-life-businesses, as part of the biggest student enterprise programme in the country. The Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, Stephen Walshe, said that the focus of the bootcamp was on entrepreneurial skill development.

Walshe said: “The aim of the Student Enterprise Awards is to foster a more enterprising culture in our schools and classrooms and to encourage more of our young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice. After setting up real-world businesses through the Student Enterprise Awards, the Winners' Bootcamp is the next natural step to support and encourage our upcoming generation of entrepreneurs.”

Project Manager with the College of Business and Law at U.C.C., Anne Wallace said: “The College of Business and Law in association with IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme are delighted to host the Business Bootcamp at University College Cork for the first time. There is an exciting week of activities planned which we hope the students will enjoy. Much of the learning will be through group activity and interactions with young entrepreneurs as well as a number of evening social events. Both the College of Business and Law and IGNITE, under the directorship of Eamon Curtin, look forward to providing the national winners with an unforgettable entrepreneurial experience.”

The 17 teenagers will also have a chance to network with successful entrepreneurs from the Southern region at the ‘Celebrating Student Enterprise’ dinner in their honour at County Hall next Wednesday, hosted by the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork at Vertigo in Cork County Council.

The next Student Enterprise Awards Programme for 2015/2016 gets underway in September with video resources and school materials available through Teachers are being encouraged to contact their Local Enterprise Offices, to register for the 2015/2016 programme.

On social media, further details are also available through and through @StudentEntAward on Twitter. The official hashtag for the programme is #studententerprise.