IRELAND’S LARGEST STUDENT ENTERPRISE PROGRAMME IS LAUNCHED
Olympian and entrepreneur Derval O’Rourke announced as ambassador
Ireland’s largest student business programme has been launched by Damien English T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail. The Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Programme held a virtual event to celebrate as it enters its 18th year, with over 220,000 students having taken part since it began in 2003.
The Final usually takes place in Croke Park, but as with the 2020 Final earlier this year, the event will take place again online on Friday 14th May 2021. A new ambassador was also announced for the programme, Olympian and entrepreneur, Derval O’Rourke. The world champion hurdler and three-time Olympian made the jump from the track to the world of business, setting up her own fitness, health and well-being site, Derval.ie, now with over 8,000 sign ups.
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 29,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2019 / 2020.
The students will compete across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior and judging takes place virtually via electronic submissions. Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.
The programme will also include two additional categories that students can enter. These are the “Most Creative Business Idea” video competition for the Senior category and the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” category for the Junior and Intermediate categories.
Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, said; “The Student Enterprise Programme has been one of the most successful initiatives in helping students foster a passion for entrepreneurship. Many of the students that have taken part have gone on to set up their own fully fledged businesses, some before they have even left school. Ireland has always had a proud tradition of entrepreneurship and hopefully these students will bring that passion with them as they figure out how they want to make an impact in the world. While not everyone can take home the top prize, what the students learn in taking part will be invaluable to them in the years to come.”
Derval O’Rourke, Olympian, Entrepreneur and Ambassador for the Student Enterprise Programme, said; “I have always loved the Student Enterprise Programme and if it was around in my time I would have been first to sign up. Starting your own business is one of the toughest things you can do, and when you try to do it with no business knowledge whatsoever, then it’s ten times harder. For these students to be learning these skills at this age, and understanding how a business should work, how to make sales, how to market it, they have transferable skills they can bring forward in life. Even looking back at some of the recent winners and finalists you think ‘wow, what a great idea’, so I can’t wait to see what this year’s programme will bring.
Michael Nevin, chair of the Education Enterprise Committee of the Local Enterprise Offices, said; These are unprecedented times for our students and this year’s competition is giving them the opportunity to create businesses that can make an impact in the current real-world scenario. We are encouraging students to come up with business ideas that are adapted to the existing enterprise challenges and that are sustainable in today’s economic climate. With this in mind the programme has changed and even though the way it is being delivered (which is mainly online), is different, the students will still be able to work together in their school setting to develop their businesses. This will be our most challenging year to date in the Student Enterprise Programme’s history, but it will be exciting to see what new world businesses our students bring to the table.”
Earlier this 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 for national listing 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 220,000 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 new range of online resources for 2020 / 2021 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.