Schools across Westmeath are being encouraged to sign up for this year’s Student Enterprise Programme.  An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, the country’s largest enterprise programme for second level students begins its 21st year and over 300,000 students have taken part since it began.  


Every year around 25,000 students take part from almost 500 schools all across the country, competing in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  Participants learn how to create and run their own business, picking up key skills along the way such as ideation, marketing, finance and sales and it’s open to all secondary schools.  Recent ambassadors for the programme have included Derval O’Rourke, Josh Van Der Flier and Limerick All-Ireland winner Sean Finn.   


The programme is run through the network of Local Enterprise Offices, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities, with local coordinators in every area to support teachers and students through the year of the programme, which helps foster entrepreneurship in students and gives them key skills they can bring with them into later life.  The programme is open to all secondary school students from 1st year through to 6th year.   


Westmeath has had great success over the years with the Student Enterprise Programme. Last year, in the Senior Category of the competition Summer Feery and Lauren O'Reilly from Framed It at Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan represented the county at the 2022 National Final. In the Junior Category, students Hannah Higgins, Katie Creggy, Erin Roche and Muireann Lowry from Decorapage at Moate Community School represented Westmeath and were awarded with Best Adaptability in the Junior Category.


Christine Charlton, Head of Enterprise, LEO Westmeath “The Student Enterprise Programme provides an opportunity for students to showcase their ideas and skills while exploring the reality of turning their dreams into a business.  Every year our students excite and amaze us with their creations and how they reflect our changing world with solutions for our everyday needs and this year will be no different.  We are looking forward to seeing what this year’s students have to offer.”


Last year the winners were Barrelda from Meath in the Senior Category with their business recycling poly drums from the farm for use as meal troughs and calf teat feeders.  In the Intermediate category the winner was Earrings by Aoibheann from Dublin who created a range of jewellery for people who may be sensitive or allergic to traditional jewellery metals.  The Junior category was won by Sew Stylish from Kilkenny who again recycled materials to create multifunctional scrunchies for hair that could also hold personal items such as keys and lip gloss. 


Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme also has a new range of online resources for 2022/2023 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.