Clermont Campus in Rathnew was a hive of activity on Tuesday 28th March as enterprising students from 14 schools across County Wicklow showcased their enterprises at the County Final of the Student Enterprise Programme. Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office, Wicklow, over 1100 secondary school students took part in the programme this year, making it the largest Wicklow programme ever. There were a record 34 entries in the Senior Category at the final, with businesses as diverse as Dog Accessories (from Loreto School, Bray) to wonderful designs using horeshoes (from C.B.S. Arklow). In addition to their overall business and marketing skills, competing companies are judged on the quality and content of their business report, a three minute presentation made on the day and the quality of their display in the exhibition hall. This year was the first time that 1st years took part in the programme, with enterprises from Colaiste Craobh Amhann in Kilcoole and North Wicklow Educate Together competing to represent Wicklow at the National Finals in Croke Park on May 3rd. The Overall Winner in the Junior Category was Yum Yum, from Colaiste Craobh Abhann in Kilcoole.
The overall winner of the senior category was Too Good To Be Shoe, from Colaiste Brid in Carnew, which is an innovative business making wine racks, coat racks and more from Horesehoes.
This year, Wicklow will also be represented in the Intermediate Category by Cillian Scott, a 2nd year from Colaiste Chill Mhantain, with his enterprise Scott Engine Tables.
The award for Most Innovative Idea was won by Grip It from Loreto School in Bray. Best Presentation went to ‘Breathe’ from Colaiste Craobh Abhann, while Best Stand Display went to D – Is For Dog from Loreto School in Bray. The award for Best Market Research went to Dazzling Doors from Greystones In Wicklow and the Most Innovative Sales Strategy was presented to Sammies Story from Dominican College Wicklow. Best Quality Product was a really tough category this year, and was won by Colaiste Brid Carnew with their entry Pebble Art design.
The judges gave a Special Commendation to Colaiste Chill Mhantain’s entry PanPact with the award for Best Social Media Campaign going to Element events from East Glendalough. Second Runner Up went to ‘Mmmm’, Colaiste Brid Carnew, and First Runner Up was awarded to Wicklow Bed and Mattress Disposal, Colaiste Chill Mhantain.
The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Pat Fiztgerald and Mr. Bryan Doyle, Chief Executive Wicklow County Council, attended the County Final and presented the awards to the winning students. Speaking at the event, Mr. Doyle praised the entrepreneurial talent of the students who took part in the programme, and noted that the calibre of the mini-companies present proved that entrepreneurs can attain great success at any age. Congratulating the winners, Cllr. Fitzgerald praised the standard of the enterprises and the tenacity of the entrepreneurs present, he encouraged the students to nurture their talent, and felt sure that he would be seeing some of them back at Wicklow County Campus again in a few years, availing of the supports for start-up enterprises. The assembled guests, teachers and students wished all three teams representing Wicklow the very best of luck at the National Final in Croke Park on May 3rd.