Student Enterprise Awards competition set to inspire 16,000 budding entrepreneurs

7 Dec 2012

Students Ciara Whooley and Ruth Provan-Bessell pictured with Loman O'Byrne, CEO, South Dublin County Enterprise Board, and students Peter Walsh and Denis O'Farrell

Around 16,000 student entrepreneurs from 380 secondary schools around Ireland are on track to set up their own businesses to compete in the upcoming Student Enterprise Awards programme that’s organised by the county and city enterprise boards. The finals of the competition will be taking place next April.

In Cork this morning, tech entrepreneur and investor Sean O’Sullivan, who is also on the Dragons’ Den TV series, is meeting with some of the teens who are involved in the Student Enterprise Awards.

He will be talking to Ciara Whooley from St David’s Secondary School in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Whooley was the senior category winner in the 2012 programme for her venture ‘Irish Baubles’. She designs landmark-themed baubles and has already signed deals with Dromoland Castle and Barrettstown Castle.

Today O’ Sullivan is also set to mentor some of the students competing in the current programme, including a QR codes company from St Colman’s College in Fermoy, Co Cork, and students from Midleton College in Co Cork who have published a bilingual book for children.

The Student Enterprise Awards run from September to April, with the 11th national final set to take place on 17 April 2013 in Croke Park in Dublin. Students usually qualify for the national final through their schools or county final.

The finalists, who must have set up and be running their own real-life business, will be judged on criteria such as innovation, market research, production, finances and business planning.

Loman O’Byrne, the chair of the enterprise education committee with the county and city enterprise boards, said the programme gives students the resources to research, set up and run their own businesses and learn about entrepreneurship along the way.

“When given encouragement, supports and guidance, the enterprising teenagers of today are more likely to become the successful entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic