Limerick teens prove their entrepreneurial spirit in European competition

25 Jul 2013

Rachel Barber, head of community development, Citi EMEA, with Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Patrick Brynes and Aaron Coughlan

A team of three budding entrepreneurs from Salesian Secondary College in Pallaskenry, Co Limerick, impressed Citi Foundation with their innovative device for farmers at the European JA-YE Company of the Year 2013 competition in London this month.

Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Aaron Coughlan and Patrick Brynes previously beat off competition in the national final of the Irish Junior Achievement Company of the Year contest for a chance to represent Ireland at international level.

Their company, FARM, created, manufactured and marketed an innovative safety device for use on dairy farms. The Cow Tail Lifter device is mounted from the rear of the animal from the pit in the milking parlour. It is used to stop cows kicking while being milked, based on an age-old technique of simply lifting its tail.

When farmers lift the cow’s tail themselves, it can extend total milking time, and engaging another person to take care of the task comes with additional costs. With the Cow Tail Lifter, both the farmer and the animal are kept safe at all times, while the cow can be milked efficiently as a one-man job.

In London, FARM competed with more than 250 students from 34 countries across Europe during the three-day European JA-YE Company of the Year 2013 competition which ran from 17 to 19 July. Though the overall prize went home with Estonian company 3 Little Pigs, FARM was recognised by Citi Foundation with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

Rachel Barber, head of community development at Citi EMEA, who presented the transition-year students with their award at the Hilton Hotel Wembley, was impressed that they had found a way to innovate and improve on a practice that has existed for thousands of years. This, she said, was the definition of entrepreneurship.

Coughlan was also individually recognised with an Alumni Award for his excellence in business.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic