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National Final Virtual Judging Underway!!!

By Blog, Media

2017 national finalsIn light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Enterprise Programme National Final 2020 is gone virtual and the judging process has officially begun!

We are delighted to say that this year we have received a record no. of entries for the National Final – a total of 85 student businesses have been put forward by their Local Enterprise Offices in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.

Business ideas worked on by our students include innovations in the agricultural, craft, food, sporting, tech and education sectors, just to name a few.

A full list of off 85 national finalists will be announced shortly on our social media platforms, so keep an eye out over the coming days!

We are delighted to be able to still recognise all the fantastic work put in since last September by our students and teachers. Especially in light of recent restrictions and schools being off, it’s a fantastic achievement by everyone to have so many entries received. Well done to you all for getting here!

A massive thank you also to our dedicated panel of judges who are working hard on reviewing all entries. To find out more about our judges go to our social media pages over the next day or so where you can learn more about them.

Our two new pilot competitions – ‘Go Green: Be Sustainable’ creative video competition and the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition will also be judged over the coming weeks.

All results will be formally announced online the week of 25th May – the actual day will be confirmed shortly.

2020 SEP Final Officially Cancelled

By Blog, Media

Due to the current situation and restrictions put in place to tackle the Corona Virus situation, the SEP National Final in Croke Park on Friday 1st May 2020 has been officially cancelled. This is very disappointing for all involved – in particular our  teachers and students who have worked so hard since last September on their student enterprises.


The Local Enterprise Offices are very committed to holding some sort of judging process in 2020 in order to acknowledge the huge amount of work put in by everyone since last September.


To this end, we would like to advise teachers and students that we plan to adopt the following approach:


Main Mini-Company Programme:


  • A new deadline of April 20th is in place for the submission of national final business reports and posters from county winners. In the case of regions where county finals did not take place due to Corona virus restrictions, judging at local level will be done based on business reports and one winner in each category chosen and sent forward for judging at national level.


  • Submissions can be made in soft copy format.


  • A national judging panel will then carry out a paper based judging exercise for all national final business reports and winners chosen. A small awards ceremony to present prizes will be held later in the year.



My Entrepreneurial Journey Entries:


  • Same approach and deadline as per above applies



We hope the above gives some clarity and guidance to our teacher and student community. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.


Thanks to every one of you for your patience and co-operation at this unusual and difficult time.

SEP 19/20 Offically Launched

By Blog, Media



Ireland’s largest business and enterprise programme for second level students, the Student Enterprise Programme, an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, was launched on 17th December by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection in Portmarnock Community School in Dublin.


The enterprise education 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 over 24,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2018 / 2019.  The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals in Croke Park on May 1st.


Minister Breen was joined at the launch by professional rugby star, Josh Van Der Flier, the 2019/2020 ambassador for the Student Enterprise Programme.  Van Der Flier was a participant in the Student Enterprise Programme when he studied at Wesley College.


This year’s Programme will see two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot will be run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and is open to any students involved in the wider competition.  It requires them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and what is required.


In the Senior category there is a new “Most Creative Business Idea” section.  Under the theme “Go Green: Be Sustainable” students can push their most innovative ideas, without having to produce a product or service and it is open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.


Speaking to some of the students involved in this year’s programme at the event, Minister Breen emphasised the importance of them engaging with enterprise and using it to innovate and create solutions for today’s world.  “The students of today are increasingly aware of the role they can play in changing the status quo.  Encouragement of entrepreneurial and innovative skills allows them to change things, to create new opportunities and to contribute to solving some of the many issues facing society today and in the future.  This spirit has always been very evident in the Student Enterprise Programme.  Every year we see creative young minds bringing fresh thinking to all areas of business, whether it’s innovative design, new software, revolutionary apps, or simply solving a daily issue in some area of life.


“These students are the entrepreneurs of the future, they will be our job creators, they are the ones we want to support and help on their entrepreneurship journey.  We want to foster those ideas because these students will provide the business success stories in the future. I wish all students the very best of luck in this year’s programme.  I know they will find it a richly rewarding experience.” Minister Breen said.


Student Enterprise Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier, said; “Having a good grasp of business will stand by you at any age and in any profession and that’s why the Student Enterprise Programme is such a great initiative by the Local Enterprise Offices. I know from having been involved myself at school how great it is to learn how to create that idea, make it happen and then make sales from scratch.  I certainly didn’t win any awards for my business, but it gave me a great knowledge of how a business works at an early age and the thousands of students who take part will always have that.” 


Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “The aim of the Student Enterprise Programme is to instil that little bit of entrepreneurship in every student that takes part.  The Local Enterprise Offices work closely with the schools to help spark their ideas but also ground them in what will help them make sales.  These skills are invaluable and to see the amazing ideas, year on year, many of which have become viable businesses, is inspirational not only to their fellow students but to anyone involved in business and entrepreneurship.”


Students from this year’s Student Enterprise Programme from Portmarnock Community School were in attendance at the launch, including 2018 / 2019 National Junior Category Winner, Ava Gilmartin and her business SpecRest from Fingal.  Inspired by her Mum, a nurse, who continually lost her glasses while at work, Ava created a 3D printed biodegradable clip that will secure glasses on clothing.  The invention saw Ava named as one of the 3 category winners at Croke Park last May along with Smooth Remove from North Cork, a device for shoe removal in the Senior category and Crios Mhadra from Kerry, a dog safety harness for car travel in the Intermediate category.


Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 200,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.  The Student Enterprise Programme also has a new website for 2019 / 2020 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.




For further information:

Declan Lee – Enterprise Ireland – 087 695 7451 /

Sarah Bohan – Enterprise Ireland – 087 653 9936 /





Junior – Specrest – Educate Together, Portmarnock (in attendance at launch)

Intermediate – Crios Mhadra – Presentation Secondary, Castleisland, Kerry

Senior – Smooth Remove – Boherbue Comprehensive, North Cork


Junior – Complete Caman – Presentation Secondary School, CastleIsland, Kerry

Intermediate – Lift Arm Assist – CBS Kilkenny

Senior – Abbey Bread – Cistercian College, Roscrea, Offaly


Junior – Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties – Our Lady’s Secondary School, Drogheda

Intermediate – Scott Engine Tables – Colaiste Chill Mhantain, Rathnew, Wicklow

Senior – ROC Protection – Clonkeen College, Blackrock, Dublin


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

By Blog

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.