16-YEAR OLD ENTREPRENEUR ‘COPPER-FASTENS’ TOP STUDENT AWARD
IRELAND’S FINEST YOUNG STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS CELEBRATED AT NATIONAL FINALS IN VIRTUAL CEREMONY AT CROKE PARK
A Monaghan student who developed Coppercase, an antimicrobial copper case to store face masks, has taken the top prize at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. Matthew McVicar, a 16-year-old student from St. Macartan’s College, supported by Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Monaghan, noticed the excessive amount of face masks being disposed of in his community and created a copper case to solve the problem. His product is now being sold in pharmacies in Ireland and the UK.
“Just three minutes in a CopperCase and your mask is free from Covid-19 and other viruses and bacteria,” Matthew McVicar of Coppercase explains. “Hundreds of studies have proven the antimicrobial effects of copper and Coppercase is one of only seven companies in Europe who have this authorisation to place copper on the market as a biocide,” the Student Enterprise Programme Senior National Winner went on to say.
The runners-up in the senior category were Amy’s Y2K Vintage Shop, from Lough Allen College, Drumkeeran, supported by LEO Leitrim. The young entrepreneur set up an online store sourcing and selling vintage clothes. Meanwhile, SZE Stories from St. Louis Secondary School, Dundalk, supported by LEO Louth, came third with their book aimed at addressing student issues such as bullying.
The Student Enterprise Programme National Finals were held virtually and broadcast live from Croke Park to hundreds of finalists, students and teachers across the country. The Local Enterprise Office initiative, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities, began in September with close to 30,000 students taking part.
The event was hosted by RTE’s Rick O’Shea and he was joined during the ceremony by An Tanaiste, Leo Varadkar and Student Enterprise Programme Ambassador, Derval O’Rourke, a three-time Olympian and entrepreneur with her health, fitness and wellbeing platform Derval.ie.
In the Intermediate Category, the first prize was taken by T-Snappi from Summerhill College supported by LEO Sligo. Their apron with snap on tea towel aims to address all sorts of kitchen mishaps. In second place were Tried and Tested from Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon supported by LEO Clare with a local celebrity cookbook. Timpeall an Ti from Castleisland Community College, supported by LEO Kerry, came third in the Intermediate Category with an educational board game for learning Irish.
In the Junior Category, the top award went to Go Green Now from Salerno Secondary School, supported by LEO Galway. They created a ‘go green now’ pack which included a tree kit with Coillte-sourced high quality acorns. Second place went to Two Peas in a Pod from St. Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross, supported by LEO Wexford who created a card matching game to promote tourism. And finally, third place in the Junior Category went to Wreaths By Occasion from Moate Community School, supported by LEO Westmeath who use willow sticks from a local bog in their wreaths.
There were 72 student enterprises competing 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.
An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students today; “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 its 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.”
Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Office’s Enterprise Education Committee, said; “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 Final students, 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.
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.
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 www.StudentEnterprise.ie
For further information:
Suzanne Meade – Fuzion Communications – 086 413 3031 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ciara Jordan – Fuzion Communications – 086 868 4555 / email@example.com
Declan Lee – Enterprise Ireland – 087 695 7451 / Declan.Lee@enterprise-ireland.com
Sarah Bohan – Enterprise Ireland – 087 653 9936 / Sarah.Bohan@Enterprise-Ireland.com
FULL LIST OF 2021 WINNERS:
1st: Go Green Now, Salerno Secondary School, Galway
2nd: Two Peas In A Pod, St. Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross, Wexford
3rd: Wreaths By Occasion, Moate Community School, Westmeath
Best Commercial Potential: The Natural Bubble, Royal School, Cavan
Best COVID 19 Adaptability: Parcel Trust, Colaiste Eamon Ris, Callan, Kilkenny
Special Merit: Safety Studs, Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland, Kerry
Extra Special Merit for Excellence in Marketing:
2 Peas In A Pod, St. Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross, Wexford
1st: T-Snappi, Summerhill College, Sligo
2nd: Tried & Tested, Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon, Clare
3rd: Timpeall an Ti, Castleisland Community College, Kerry
Best Commercial Potential: Handy Hooks, Ballymahon Vocational School, Longford
Best COVID 19 Adaptability: Covid Monster Comic, Lough Allen College, Drumkeeran, Leitrim
Special Merit (for Global Sustainability): Bee Happy, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin
1st: Coppercase, St. Macartan’s College, Monaghan
2nd: Amy’s Y2K Vintage Shop, Lough Allen College, Drumkeeran, Leitrim
3rd: SZE Stories, St. Louis Secondary School, Dundalk
Best Commercial Potential: Irish Sea Mist, Bridgetown College, Wexford
Best COVID 19 Adaptability: Easy Ex, St. Ciaran’s Community School, Kells
Special Merit: Zero Fog, Desmond College Newcastlewest, Limerick
Special Merit: Cartai Feasa, Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Kerry
Social Media Awards
Most Effective Social Media Campaign: Oglo, St. Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise
Most Creative Use of Social Media: Wired Jewellery, Ratoath College, Meath
Most Interactive Business on Social Media: Hook r’Strike, Colaiste na Toirbite, Bandon, Cork
The Natasha Lynch Commemorative Award for Excellence in Social Media: Hology Photography, St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr, Offaly
Intellectual Property Awards
Junior Category: Reflecto Tags, Mount St. Michael Secondary Schook, Claremorris, Mayo
Intermediate: Timpeall an Ti, Castleisland Community College, Kerry
Senior Category: Bootfresh, Ballinrobe Community School, Mayo
Special Merit Award: Irish Sea Mist, Bridgetown College, Wexford
‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ Award 2021
1st: Pro Games, Spectro Robotics, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Monaghan
2nd: Magtran, Lough Allen College, Drumkeeran, Leitrim
3rd: Hydromobile X, Mount St. Michael Secondary School, Claremorris, Mayo
1st: Mark’s Productions, Colaiste Eaman Ris, Kilkenny
2nd: Snap & Translate, Colaiste Mhuire, Ballymoate, Sligo
3rd: Multi-Card, St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan, Meath
COVID-19 Creative Business Idea Video Award
Special Merit (for Presentation & Pitching): Counting After Covid, Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny
Overall Winner: The Pocket Mask Cleaner, Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Galway