Student Enterprise Awards launched

4 Oct 2010

The nationwide search for Ireland’s “entrepreneurs of tomorrow” has gotten under way with the launch of the annual Student Enterprise Awards programme for secondary schools.

More than 15,000 students from all over Ireland research, set-up and manage their own real-life student enterprises, with support and resources from County and City Enterprise Boards, making it the largest programme of its kind for schools. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’ Keeffe TD officially launched the 2010/2011 Student Enterprise Programme, with help from  young entrepreneurs from Coolmine Community School in Fingal.

Last year’s senior category winners from Presentation College in Carlow came up with a novel way of keeping headphones untangled. Their key-ring device, the ‘Rap It’, caught the attention of several Irish mobile phone companies, one of which has since placed an order with the students.

Innovative way to stimulate entrepreneurship

Speaking at launch of the Student Enterprise Programme today, O’Keeffe described it as an innovative way to simulate entrepreneurship in young people.

“The programme brings a business focus to classroom learning with the help of our County and City Enterprise Boards. Entrepreneurs starting businesses as a percentage of the population is 4.3pc in Ireland compared to just 2.7pc across the EU and 2.9pc in the UK. It is important that we continue to stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship at an early age so that our young people become tomorrow’s generation of business leaders.”

At the Student Enterprise Awards National Final in April 2011, finalists from all over the country will set up an enterprise exhibition display stand and take part in an interview with experienced judges, submitting a business plan in advance. Judged on criteria such as innovation, market research, production, finances and business planning, Senior Category winners will enjoy an educational trip to Paris in September 2011, as part of their prize.

The recently appointed chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the County and City Enterprise Boards, Dave Cody, said: “The success of the Student Enterprise Programme is crucial in the rollout of Ireland’s smart economy. By encouraging and supporting our budding entrepreneurs in secondary schools, the County and City Enterprise Boards are helping to prepare and identify the home-grown entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

The Student Enterprise Awards programme is run across three categories: junior category for first-year students; intermediate category for second years and junior-certificate students; and the senior category for transition year, fifth-year, leaving cert, LCVP and LCA students.

Organisers have set up an interactive website with resources and video tutorials for teachers, students, parents and principals.