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Student Enterprise Awards 2015

St Mary’s Nenagh, Colaiste Phobal Roscrea and Presentation Secondary School Clonmel win the top prizes at the first ever all-county Tipperary Student Enterprise Awards.

Following the County Final of the Student Enterprise Awards which took place at LIT Thurles on Friday last, three Tipperary Schools will progress to represent their County in the National Finals taking place in Croke Park on April 22 next. Over 240 students from across the County competed in the first all-County competition which began in second level schools last September and initially involved almost 500 students. Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, the competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country. An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D., launched the programme last September and since then circa. 17,000 budding entrepreneurs from 380 secondary schools across the Ireland have been running their own small enterprises, with help from their teachers, parents and Local Enterprise Offices.

This year’s awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Mr Alan Kelly TD. The welcome address was delivered by the Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Mr Michael Fitzgerald MCC and the winning entries were announced by Mr Matt Shortt representing the Chief Executive, Mr Joe MacGrath. Mr Philip Martin of Blanco Nino Ltd, winner of the Best New Idea in the IBYE National Competition addressed the students and shared his experience of developing a business concept, bringing it to fruition and opening Ireland’s first Tortilla manufacturing plant in Clonmel.

Addressing the packed auditorium, Cathaoirleach Michael Fitzgerald said that “this competition is a key event in the County’s Enterprise calendar and Tipperary County Council through the Local Enterprise Office is committed to fostering an enterprise and entrepreneurial culture in the County”. The Cathaoirleach went on to say “I was very impressed as I walked through today’s exhibition involving almost 80 enterprises set up by students from 20 Tipperary schools. Today’s event augurs well for the future of Tipperary as the calibre, enthusiasm, enterprise and dynamism is very evident in our young people who will become the policy makers and business moguls of the future”.  

Minister Kelly in his address commented on the hard work and dedication of students and teachers showcasing at the County Final stating that “parents can be proud of the efforts of their sons and daughters as they represent their schools, their families and their localities on this historic occasion”.   The Minister congratulated the 240 students in attendance stating that “the country needs innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurs to drive the economy forward and I am really impressed with the standard, diversity and numbers of small enterprises set up by our second level students in Tipperary, Ireland needs more entrepreneurs like these”.

The competition carried a prize fund of €3,000 at local level in addition to specially commissioned awards. The senior competition was judged by Mr Tom Ryan Smarticus Marketing Ltd, Mr Thos Hayes former CEO of the CEB and Ms Nicola Wade of TippToes Ltd, while the Junior and Intermediate categories were adjudicated by Ms Fiona Browne & Ms Patsy Cooney of LIT Thurles. In fact LIT Thurles, proved to be an ideal venue for this scale of event combining extensive exhibition space with top class conference facilities with an energy on the day that was palpable.