How Did We Do It??? Past SEP Students Share Their Secrets to Success!!!

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My name is Kate Madden and I am an ex-finalist of the National Student Enterprise Programme. I co-founded my business with my younger sister Annie to enter the LEO Student Enterprise Programme in 2016.

FenuHealth supplies a range of products to the equine industry. The main products that we have on the market are to help stomach problems in horses. We entered the competition nearly three and a half years ago, and since then, we now have nine products on the market, nine people working on our team, and we export to fifteen countries worldwide!!!

So, how exactly did we do this?????

This is how:

-When we first looked into the LEO Student Enterprise Programme, we found the idea of the competition intriguing. We decided that we needed to find a good, strong business idea because we wanted to make it to the National Final in Croke Park. We had previously entered and won a prize at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. We decided that we were going to turn our science idea into a business reality.

-Firstly, we did what every other student enterprise does: We set up our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We managed to get help help to design an appropriate logo so we could begin to create our brand. An important factor for us was to build a brand that would stand out from the crowd and make people want to buy it. We chose our main colour schemes and began creating our product labels and brands.

-Our social media did not get much movement at the beginning. Like every other student enterprise, we were over the moon to gain over 500 followers. Now we have over 70,000 likes on Facebook, almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, and over 1,000 on Instagram. How did we manage to grow that much?

-We gained media attention. As our business is within the horse industry, we were selling our initial products to racehorse trainers and people within the industry. We managed to get a very well-known racehorse ‘PadyDePlasterer’ to try and use our products. From this, we gained large media coverage within our industry of equine nutrition. Each time we had a radio interview with RTÉ or a television interview with At The Races, we also plugged our social media accounts and asked people to follow them, and it worked! Media coverage is very valuable for start-up enterprises and businesses because the more that people know about your business, the more the will interact with you.

Nowadays, we get asked regularly for any advice that we would give to entrepreneurs, both young and old… and here is what we say:

  1. The first piece of advice we give is what we call “KISS”- Keep It Stupidly Simple. When we are a new and rising business, you need to keep the concept of your products and the mission of your business very simple. Many of the top and well educated businesspeople around the world still do not understand some of the tricky business jargon to date. Keeping the concept of your business simple shows that you fully understand what you are talking about, and it also allows the person who you are talking to to understand your business fully also.
  2. We also advise new start-ups or young businesses to speak to the top people if you want tot get something done. If you want help with something, ask the CEO or the boss of that large company because all they can say is ‘No’, and more times than not, they will say ‘Yes’! All you can do is ask! The top people often have more experience and wisdom within the area that you are asking about, so you will probably get a good answer!
  3. Our first successful product was our 152nd attempt! Imagine if we had stopped at 151 – the moto – #NeverGiveUp.
  4. Overall, our business experience has been really positive. We are lucky that we can both continue a full-time education while running a business, but that is purely because we chose to only take on the best and right people for the roles on our team. Each member of our team is capable and knowledgeable within their given area to do a good job in what they need to get done. We have gained lots of help from the Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland since we began FenuHealth, and we are excited to see what is yet to come…

If you or any of your friends are thinking of partaking in the Student Enterprise Programme, do not hesitate to get in contact with us via our social media channels and we will do whatever we can to help.

Best of luck!

Enjoy the journey!


In Need of a Little Innovation Kickstart???

By | Blog

In Need of a Little Innovation Kickstart???

SEP students the length and breadth of the country are right now busy hashing out potential business ideas and trying to find that needle in the haystack that will make them their first million!!! Or at least give them a shot at getting to the National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme in May 2020!!!

Mind-mapping, brainstorming, identifying problems and looking for solutions ….. you’re doing it all …… but what if you’re still hitting a brick wall????

Idea generation can be a struggle and it’s easy to get disheartened if that great idea just isn’t coming to you as quickly as you’d like.

If you find yourself stuck in a bit of an innovation rut and are getting bogged down, why not put the pen and paper down and have a bit of fun by checking out the weird and wonderful business ideas that entrepreneurs right across the globe are coming up with right now! You’ll be amazed to see what people can turn into a business!

There are some fantastic websites out there that showcase some of the top new business ideas from around the globe. Sites such as and are a great resource for aspiring young entrepreneurs just like you.

From novelty sock vending machines and bike helmets that can detect accidents and call the emergency services to backpacks that turn into school desks and 3D printers that allow kids to design their own toys – you’ll be truly inspired by the products and services that are being developed out there right now.

Why not ask your teacher to devote a class to exploring some of these online resources with you and your classmates and see if this helps inspire you in any way in your own idea generation journey.

When you go back to your own brainstorming you might find you’re thinking outside the box a bit more and that elusive business idea might just come to you!!!

National Final 2020

By | Blog, Media

National Final 2020 – Date Announced

The National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme 2020 will take place on Friday 1st May 2020 at Croke Park in Dublin.

One student enterprise in each of the junior, intermediate and senior categories from the 31 Local Enterprise Office Areas will have the opportunity to take part in this exciting event.

The deadline for submission of business reports (senior) and business posters (junior and intermediate) is Wednesday 1st April 2020.


Full List of 2019 National Winners

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Special Merit Award:

Me, Myself and I:

Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

Best Display Award:


Moate Community School, Co. Westmeath.

Best Commercial Potential Award:

The Nephin Turf Co.

St. Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina, Co. Mayo.

3rd Place:


Abbey Vocational School, Co. Donegal.

2nd Place:

B Good Brownie

St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan, Co. Meath.

1st Place:


Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together.


Special Merit Award:

Ear Buddys

St. Clare’s Comprehensive, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim

Best Display Award:

Wrap it Up

Presentation Secondary School, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

Best Commercial Potential Award:

Lightning PC Customs

St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan, Co. Meath.

3rd Place:


Mercy College, Sligo.

2nd Place:

JCJ Get a Grip

St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rochfortbridge, Co. Westmeath.

1st Place:

Crios Madra

Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.


Special Merit Award #1:


Mean Scoil Nua, An Leith Thruigh, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry.

Special Merit Award #2:


Abbey Vocational School, Co. Donegal.

Best Display Award:

Fainne Rathuil

Roscommon Community College

Best Commercial Potential Award:


CBS Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.  

3rd Place:

The Struggle is Real

St. Mary’s College,Naas, Co. Kildare.

2nd Place:

Hurl Standz

St. Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise.

1st Place:

Smooth Remove

Boherbue Comprehensive School, Cork.


Junior IP Award:

Eary Fix, Presentation secondary School, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

Intermediate IP Award:


Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Gortnor Abbey, Co. Mayo.

Senior IP Award:

Worry Bear Co

St. Mary’s Convent, Ballina, Co. Mayo.


Most Effective Social Media Campaign:

Sister Scrunchies

St. Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth.

Most Creative Use of Social Media:

Smooth Remove.

Boherbue Comprehensive School, Cork.

Most Interactive Business on Social Media:


Loreto Secondary School, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

Congratulations to our 2019 National SEP Winners!

By | Blog, Media

Congratulations to our 2019 National SEP Winners!




The best and the brightest of Ireland’s secondary school entrepreneurs were in Croke Park today for the National Finals of the Student Enterprise Programme, run by the Local Enterprise Offices.


An enterprise inspired by a grandparent’s inability to remove their shoes took top prize in the senior category. Smooth Remove from Boherbue Comprehensive School in Mallow, North Cork designed an ergonomic wooden device that enables the easy removal of footwear for those who may have back problems or have difficulty bending down to take off their shoes.

Pet safety was to the fore in the Intermediate category as Críos Mhadra from Presentation Secondary School in Castleisland, Kerry won the judges vote. Designed by 14-year-old students Katelyn Curtin and Kelly Anne Nix the 3-point safety harness provides comfort and safety for those travelling with pets in their car.


In the Junior category, a practical solution by a daughter for a parent’s tendency to misplace glasses at work was a big hit with the judging panel. Ava Gilmartin from Malahide Portmarnock Educate Together School in Fingal vowed to solve her mother’s issue of her glasses constantly falling off, while working as a nurse. Ava created Specrest, a small biodegradable clip which is made using a 3-D printer that keeps glasses secure.


Over 26,000 students took part in this year’s programme from across the country and today 222 representing 78 student enterprises have reached the National Final competing across 3 categories; Junior, Intermediate and Senior, with the winners being announced and presented with their trophies by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.


The programme delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Office is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in partnership with Enterprise Ireland across every local authority area.

Congratulating the winners Minister Breen said; “These student entrepreneurs are the future of Irish business and job creation across the country. The skills attained by these young students during the Student Enterprise Programme will be invaluable to these young entrepreneurs and provide them with a fantastic foundation for a future in business. Many congratulations to all the students here today. By making it to Croke Park you have shown you can create and run a business. And congratulations also to their teachers who play such a significant role in sparking and encouraging their entrepreneurial imagination. If these students decide that being an entrepreneur is the path they want to take in their future, I can assure them their Local Enterprise Office will be there to support them every step of the way.”

Michael Nevin, Chair of the Education Enterprise Committee, Local Enterprise Offices, said; “This year we’ve had over 26,000 students involved in creating, setting up and running a business, learning a whole new range of skills. We have finalists looking to address environmental issues, mental health issues and climate change issues so the class of 2019 is very much committed to creating businesses who can make the world a better place and that is a great thing. Many businesses of today could learn a lot from these students particularly in their clever use of social media to promote their enterprises. No doubt the finalists today have a bright future in business in whatever form that takes and we hope to see them walking through the door of their Local Enterprise Office in the near future.”


The runners-up this year in the senior category were Hurl Standz from St. Mary’s CBS in Laois who create wall-mounted, handcrafted metal stands to hold hurls and helmets. In the Intermediate category, second place went to JCJ Get a Grip from St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Westmeath whose enterprise was a pre-cut and pre-measured and scored tape which is applied to the underside of Irish dancing shoes to prevent slipping without affecting the sound. The runners-up in the Junior category went to B Good Brownie from St. Patrick’s Classical School in Navan, Co. Meath, who make gluten and lactose free brownies with unique blend coffee.

Awards were presented for intellectual property awareness by the Irish Patents Office and for social media by Essential French. Twenty students in the Senior Category also win a place at the residential ‘Winners’ Business Bootcamp’ over the summer to help them further develop their business skills. Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September through the Local Enterprise Offices, are available through



For all media information and interview requests with students, please contact:

Sarah Bohan, LEO Communications at Enterprise Ireland / 0876539936

Declan Lee, LEO Communications at Enterprise Ireland / 0876957451

Fuzion Communications Contact / Ciara Jordan 086 8684555 / Suzanne Meade 086 4133031

How to nail the SEP Interview!

By | Blog

How to nail the SEP Interview!

So, you’ve been working hard on your Student Enterprise Programme business, coming up with a great idea, forming your team, running your business, managing your marketing, sales and doing your accounts – you’ve even worked on submitting a great business report within the deadline, and now you have an interview at either School, County or National Final to prepare for!

Here at we want to give you some advice from our years of experience in running the programme about how to ensure you present yourselves and your business in the best possible way!

So, let’s start with the basics:

  1. Know your business report inside out!

You recently completed your Business Report. Think of it as your textbook on a subject for an exam – except it’s even better than that, because you wrote it! So, you’re going to be answering some questions on a piece of work that you’ve written – that’s certainly not how exams work and makes a pleasant change, right? It is vital that all team members know the report material very well. Obviously, certain team members are in charge of certain tasks in the business, and may have written ‘their’ section of the report, but generally, it is important that all team members have a good knowledge of the whole report.

  1. Know your numbers

You’ll know generally how your business developed from an idea, to the production side of the business and how sales were made, but it’s important to have certain numbers at your fingertips for the interview. For instance, if you’re producing a product, it’s very likely the judges will ask you:

  • How many units (products) did you sell?’
  • What was your cost of production?
  • What was your sales price?
  • What was your total turnover? (the amount of money earned from sales)
  • If, and how much, you invested in the business?
  • If, and how much LEO or school funding you received?
  • What was your net profit?

Remember, the judges aren’t trying to ‘catch you out’ with these questions – they will have read your report, but want to see if you’re up to speed on how the business is performing!

  1. Have an up-to-the-minute update ready

Remember, the judges love to see that you’re continually working on the business, and a good tip here is if you have made progress since you submitted the business report (maybe you’ve really increased sales, or got some new orders), summarise this progress in bullet point form on an A4 sheet and present same to them-they’ll be impressed that you perhaps see potential for the business beyond the end of the current SEP cycle!

  1. Make it a team event

All members of the team need to be involved in the interview. Teamwork is vital for business success, and judges like to see all members contributing to the interview, as it shows that the success of the business is a genuine team effort! It would be good practice for the Managing Director (MD) to introduce himself/herself to the judges and introduce the other team members and their respective positions within the business. When a question is asked on marketing, it should be answered by the Marketing Manager, a finance question should be asked by the Financial Manager, etc. In this way, everybody gets to contribute and that creates a positive impression on the judges.

  1. Presentation is paramount

How you present your business is also very important. You’ll have received advice on how to prepare your display stand, but some basic presentation skills are key – for instance, do you have a business uniform, like branded workwear, fleeces, etc.? If so, make sure all team members are wearing it. If you’re in you school uniform, ensure all team members have name badges to make it easier for the judges to know who is who.

  1. Practice makes perfect!

Finally, remember the old saying…’practice makes perfect’! Try to develop a list of questions the judges may ask, and write them down. For instance, they may ask how you came up with your idea, what you did next, how did you decide on the sales price of your product service, financial questions like we outlined earlier, and maybe conclude with what you learned about business by taking part in the SEP. Write down answers to these potential questions and conduct short ‘practice interviews’ with your team – don’t worry about trying to learn off the answers, rather try to ensure you have an understanding of what’s being asked and how your team actually performed in that area, and what you learned.

Finally, remember to relax – you’re being interviewed by judges who’ve read your business report and are genuinely interested to see how participating in the Student Enterprise Programme has helped you to learn about business. Be honest, enthusiastic and share your passion for enterprise and you can’t go wrong!