National success for County Wexford student in Croke Park

National success for County Wexford student in Croke Park

Ben Handrick from Creagh College in Gorey won an award at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park this week, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) for secondary schools.

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Ben won the first Special Merit Award in the Senior category and was presented with his award on stage by the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. and Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices. (pictured above)

Ben worked on his business under the guidance of their teacher, Edel Peters. His student enterprise was called: ‘The Little Elephant’, which is a fridge magnet therapy pack which has been endorsed by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) and also supported by Clinical Psychologist, David Coleman. Ben’s product helps the young people in a household communicate their feelings to the rest of the family.

The young County Wexford entrepreneurs did very well overall at the National Finals as two other students, Jack Barron from Colaiste Abbain in Adamstown and Sean Bennett from Ramsgrange Community School finished in the top six of their respective categories.

The Student Enterprise programme, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the LEOs, had a total of 230 teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 13 and 18, from 77 different enterprises, competing at the National Final, with every local authority area represented.

This year’s Student Enterprise Programme attracted 23,600 student participants from 480 secondary schools around the country. Starting every September, the enterprise education initiative helps students gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business.

Congratulating this year’s winners and their schools, Minister Breen said: “Whether it’s generating business ideas, developing markets or selling to customers, students taking part in the Student Enterprise Programme throughout Ireland have consistently shown a passion and flair for business and enterprise.  Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the Irish economy and initiatives such as the Student Enterprise Programme are key to developing Ireland’s future enterprising culture. I’d like to congratulate this year’s winning students and schools.  I hope their success will inspire more schools to sign-up for the next programme in September through their Local Enterprise Office.”

Breege Cosgrave, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with Local Enterprise Office Wexford said: “Congratulations to the student from Creagh College on winning this prestigious national award in Croke Park this week, which recognises all his hard work. We have seen over 150,000 students learn how to successfully run a business in the 16 years of the Student Enterprise Programme, thanks to a long-term partnership between local schools and Local Enterprise Offices. Judging by this year’s finalists and winners, the future is bright for entrepreneurs here in County Wexford.”

The three main category winners on the day were: ‘Abbey Bread’ from Cistercian College Roscrea, representing Local Enterprise Office Offaly (Senior Category Winner), ‘Lift Arm Assist’ from CBS Kilkenny, representing Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Complete Camán’ from Presentation Secondary School Castleisland, representing Local Enterprise Office Kerry (Junior Category Winner).

Abbey Bread, set-up by Manus Heenan, is a wholemeal bread mix inspired by a 100-year-old recipe from the monks of Mount St Joseph Abbey in Roscrea; Lift Arm Assist, developed by three teenage boys from Kilkenny, is a hydraulic arm that replaces the lift arm stabiliser on the back of a tractor; while the Complete Camán, developed by five teenage girls from Kerry, is an all-in-one training hurley.

In the Senior Category, for students from Transition Year to Leaving Certificate, the runner-up prize went to ‘The Roofing Safety Bar’ from St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan in Meath, and third place went to ‘Free Flow Bunkers’ from St. Macartan’s College in Monaghan.

Meanwhile in the Intermediate Category, which is for Second Year and Third Year students, ‘Inishowen Pens’ from Scoil Mhuire Buncrana in Donegal took the runner-up prize, and third place went to ‘U Shield’ from Coláiste Dún Iascaig Cahir in Tipperary.

For First Year students in the Junior Category, the runner-up award went to ‘Gnó-Jó’ from Coláiste Naomh Kilcormac in Offaly, with ‘Slimey Wonders’ from Dominican College Muckross Park in Dublin City taking third place.

Previous winner, Luke Byrne of ‘Headphone Helpers,’ spoke during the ceremony about how the programme has boosted his business skills both inside and outside the classroom.

Awards were presented for intellectual property awareness by the Irish Patents Office, and for social media by Essential French. 20 students in the Senior Category also win a place at the residential ‘Winners’ Business Bootcamp’ over the summer to help them further develop their business skills.

Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September, are available through