National Award for Limerick Students at Enterprise Finals

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Mayor Michael Collins (c) who presented the two students with their County Final Award, in the presence of Vourneen Gavin Barry, Principal, Desmond College NCW; Bernie Moloney, Local Enterprise Office Limerick; Emma O'Shea and Rebecca Enright, award winners; Donal Enright, Teacher and Garry Lowe, Student Enterprise Coordinator. All Covid guidelines followed at time photo was taken

STUDENTS from Desmond College in Newcastle West have taken special merit prize in the very competitive senior category at the National Final of this year’s Student Enterprise Programme.

The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were broadcast virtually from Croke Park with the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Awards Ambassador Derval O’Rourke speaking.

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Supported by Local Enterprise Office Limerick, the winning students Emma O’Shea and Rebecca Enright won a Special Merit Award in the senior category.

The winners worked under the guidance of their teacher, Donal Enright on their student enterprise was called: “Zero Fog”, which prevents misting of eyewear.

There were 72 student enterprises competing in this year’s National Final in what is 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, saw 29,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students: 

“Congratulations to not only the finalists being recognised here today, but to everyone who took part in the competition. To be a finalist in the Student Enterprise Programme is a fantastic achievement in normal times and it’s incredible given everything that’s happened this past year. Everyone who took part should be very proud of all that they have achieved. Special mention to their teachers, parents and all those who helped them along the way. The ability to create an idea, turn it into a business and to run that business is a skill that will be invaluable later in life. Ireland has a proud history of entrepreneurship and no doubt those here today will all go on to achieve great things. Government will back you every step of the way.”

Praising the winning students and all those representing Limerick at the National Finals, Mike Cantwell, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Limerick said: “This is a proud day for student enterprise in Limerick. We would like to congratulate the students, their families and their teachers at Desmond College on winning this national award in Croke Park. We would also like to pay tribute to all the other finalists and participants who are impressive ambassadors for student enterprise in the county.”

“Year-on-year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to produce the very best of ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. It’s no surprise to see the challenges thrown up by the pandemic featuring in many of the businesses and the ongoing willingness for students to create businesses that not only sell services or products, but that help address ongoing issues in society.”

“We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 20/21 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”

The National Finalists, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions. Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product. The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies.  

The three main category winners on the day were: ‘Coppercase’ from St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, representing Local Enterprise Office Monaghan (Senior Category Winner), ‘’T-Snappi” from Summerhill College, Sligo representing Local Enterprise Office Sligo (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Go Green Now’ from Salerno Secondary School, Galway, representing Local Enterprise Office Galway (Junior Category Winner).

This year’s Programme also saw the inclusion of two optional competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. The first, “My Entrepreneurial Journey”, was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition.  It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.  This year’s winners were Pro Games, Spectro Robotics, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Monaghan in the Junior Section and Mark’s Productions, Colaiste Eaman Ris, Kilkenny in the Intermediate section.

(L-R) Emma O’Shea and Rebecca Enright from Desmond College Newcaslte West who received a specil merit award at the National Student Enterprise Awards 2021 for their business Zero Fog.

In the Senior category, there was a Covid-19 themed “Creative Business Idea” competition, which was open to all senior students taking part in the wider programme. In this competition,  students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service. The winners of this category were The Pocket Mask Cleaner, Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Galway.

Last year, the 2019/2020 Student Enterprise Programme National Final winners in the Senior category were Handy Hose Holders from CBS Thurles in Tipperary for their practical milking parlour hose solution that has since been picked listed by Glanbia.  The Intermediate category was won by Aim It Board from Loreto College in Dublin City, while Sofatop from Ballybay Community College in Monaghan took the Junior category award. 

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 250,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.

Full details of all this year’s 72 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme website at StudentEnterprise.ie