Teenage entrepreneurs swop classroom for Connemara

Seventeen teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 16 and 17, swopped the classroom for the countryside earlier this Summer, as they embarked on a Student Enterprise Winners’ Bootcamp in Connemara through the Local Enterprise Offices.

The students represented four secondary schools in Kilkenny, Longford, Mayo and Dublin City and all won their places through the annual Student Enterprise Programme, which is the biggest student enterprise initiative in Ireland.

Now in its sixteenth year, the programme involves 23,600 secondary school students from 480 schools and is co-ordinated by Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area. A total of  230 teenagers showcased their student-run businesses at the National Finals in Croke Park last month (May 2nd) and seventeen of them won places at this year’s summer bootcamp.

The specially-designed programme blended indoor and outdoor learning at the Delphi Resort in Galway, to help the group of young teens to expand their understanding of the business world, gain new perspectives and access expertise from more established entrepreneurs.

Working with mentors in the stimulating setting of Connemara, the student entrepreneurs learned about teamwork, communication skills, empathy mapping and business pitching over the course of the week.  Michael Nevin, Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices said: “With its mix of creative thinking and outdoor pursuits, the Bootcamp really challenged the students and help them to appreciate the risks and rewards involved in enterprise and entrepreneurial activity. The experience also boosted both their personal and business confidence and hopefully inspired them to become the job creators of the future.”

The students also visited the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards, which took place at the National University of Ireland Galway for third-level students. They met with successful local entrepreneurs on a visit to PorterShed in Galway City, which is an innovation hub and co-location space for start-ups in the region

The next Student Enterprise Programme for secondary schools starts in September 2018 with free teaching resources available through every Local Enterprise Office.

Funding for the Local Enterprise Offices is provided by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland.