Secondary students across Wicklow are dreaming of a Final appearance in Croke Park in 2020 as the Local Enterprise Offices’ Student Enterprise Programme for 2019 / 2020 was launched.

The programme, which is Ireland’s largest business and enterprise programme for second level students, was launched by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection and rugby star Josh Van Der Flier, Wicklow native.  Van der Flier is the Student Enterprise Programme Ambassador for 2019 / 2020 and a former participant in the programme while a student in Wesley College in Dublin.

Over 1000 students from 16 secondary schools in Wicklow are taking part in this year’s Programme in the hope of making the National Finals in Croke Park on the 1st May.  The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 25,000 students from 515 secondary schools across the country take part in 2018 / 2019.   

Wicklow has a strong track record in the Student Enterprise Programme. Our students have brought home National titles to Wicklow in Intermediate and Senior categories in recent years. Cillian Scott, a pupil of Colaiste Chill Mhantain, Wicklow Town, was National winner of the Intermediate category in 2017. Luke Byrne, from Coláiste Craobh Abhann, Kilcoole, developed a simple silicone band called Headphone Helpers and took the Senior title in the National competition in 2016. 

National Winner Senior 2016      National Winner Intermediate 2017

Luke Byrne Senior National Winner 2016     
 Cillian Scott Intermediate National Winner 2017 

This year’s Programme will see two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot will be run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and is open to any students involved in wider competition.  It requires them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and what it takes to be your own boss. 

In the Senior category there is a new “Most Creative Business Idea” section.  Under the theme “Go Green: Be Sustainable” students can push their most innovative ideas, without having to produce a product or service and it is open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.

Speaking to some of the students involved in this year’s programme at the launch, Minister Breen emphasised the importance of them engaging with enterprise and using it to innovate and create solutions for today’s world.  “The students of today are increasingly aware of the role they can play in changing the status quo.  Encouragement of entrepreneurial and innovative skills allows them to change things, to create new opportunities and to contribute to solving some of the many issues facing society today and in the future.  This spirit has always been very evident in the Student Enterprise Programme.  Every year we see creative young minds bringing fresh thinking to all areas of business, whether it’s innovative design, new software, revolutionary apps, or simply solving a daily issue in some area of life.

“These students are the entrepreneurs of the future, they will be our job creators, they are the ones we want to support and help on their entrepreneurship journey.  We want to foster those ideas because these students will provide the business success stories in the future. I wish all students the very best of luck in this year’s programme.  I know they will find it a richly rewarding experience.” Minister Breen said.   

Student Enterprise Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier, said; “Having a good grasp of business will stand by you at any age and in any profession and that’s why the Student Enterprise Programme is such a great initiative by the Local Enterprise Offices. I know from having been involved myself at school how great it is to learn how to create that idea, make it happen and then make sales from scratch.  I certainly didn’t win any awards for my business, but it gave me a great knowledge of how a business works at an early age and the thousands of students who take part will always have that.”   

Head of Enterprise, Vibeke Delahunt said; “The aim of the Student Enterprise Programme is to instil that little bit of entrepreneurship in every student that takes part.  The Local Enterprise Offices work closely with the schools to help spark their ideas but also ground them in what will help them make sales.  These skills are invaluable and to see the amazing ideas, year on year, many of which have become viable businesses, is inspirational not only to their fellow students but to anyone involved in business and entrepreneurship.” 

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 200,000 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 website for 2019 / 2020 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.    



SEP 2020 Students

Wicklow Students who part took in the Student Enterprise Programme 2018/19.