Student Enterprise Programme Prepares for Virtual Final


Record number of Student Enterprise Finalists Announced for 2020

Some of Wicklow’s most innovative and entrepreneurial students will be eagerly logging online next week for the National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme.  For the first time since the programme began in 2003, the National Finals will take place online and the region will have 3 student enterprises involved on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Wicklow.

The Senior Category Winner's representing Wicklow is Maurice Tobin and Cian O’Tuama of TOT Hurlstands, Colaiste Bhride Carnew. Representing the county in the Intermediate Category is Dale Kearney of Kearney Woodcraft, Avondale Community College. And in the Junior Category is Hugh Donohue & Conor McConnell of Fore Coats, Colaiste Craobh Abhann, Kilcoole.

Having originally been scheduled to take place in Croke Park on the 1st May, the Local Enterprise Office run awards, will be announced virtually on Wednesday 27th May via live stream on the Student Enterprise Programmes Facebook and YouTube channels.

The students and teachers from across the country will watch along online to the event hosted by RTE’s Rick O’Shea and will be joined during the ceremony by previous winners and Student Entrepreneur Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier.  The rugby star previously took part in the initiative when he was a student at Wesley College in Dublin.

The Finalists have been announced this year with a record number of 85 student enterprises competing in Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second-level students. The initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, close to 26,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

Some of the finalists this year include an alarm that helps wake small children who can sleep through regular high-frequency alarms, eco-friendly products such as beeswax film, an alternative to clingfilm, a bottle stopper to help prevent drinks tampering, germination balls that can be thrown on the soil to help generate new wildlife, and stress hampers filled with stress-relieving products. 

The National Final students are competing across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior and judging is ongoing virtually with the finalists nationwide via electronic submissions.  Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.  The judging panel includes business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies. 

This year’s Programme also saw two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in the wider competition.  It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved. 

In the Senior category there was a new “Go Green: Be Sustainable Creative Business Competition”. In this new pilot competition, students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service and were open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.

Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, Michael Nevin said; “As a programme we are lucky in that much of the work that students were doing in relation to their Student Enterprises was done well before this pandemic broke out.  So, there is no reduction in the quality of entries, if anything we have a bigger final this year and some outstanding entries.  Looking through the Finalists you can see that students are more conscientious than ever when it comes to solving problems they see in everyday life, affecting the environment and the people around them.  It’s encouraging to see the focus that the next generation is putting on making the world a better place and irrespective of who wins, we will see some great student businesses coming from this.”  

Since 2003, over 200,000 students have taken part in the Student Enterprise Programme.  Last year again there was great variety across the entries, and the winners.  In the Junior category, Specrest from Fingal in Dublin designed a 3D printed biodegradable clip that will secure glasses on clothing.  Smooth Remove from North Cork, a device for shoe removal won in the Senior category while Crios Mhadra from Kerry, a dog safety harness for car travel took home the Intermediate prize. 

Full details of all this year’s 85 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme website at