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Clare’s student entrepreneurs begin online road to national success

8 October 2020

Student entrepreneurs across Clare have begun their journey in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme, with eyes on next year’s national final. This Local Enterprise Office-run programme will be delivered differently given the current restrictions across the country, and the final, which will take place on Friday, 14th May, 2021, will be a virtual one.

This is the 18th year of Ireland’s largest secondary school entrepreneurship programme and has seen over 200,000 students take part since it began. The final usually takes place in Croke Park but in 2021, as with the 2020 final earlier this year, the event will take place online in line with current guidelines.

The students, who will compete across three categories – junior, intermediate and senior – will see judging take 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 competitions that students can enter. These are the ‘Most Creative Business Idea’ video competition for the senior category and the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition for the junior and intermediate categories.

So far this year, the schools from Clare taking part are: Scariff Community College; St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point; CBS Ennistymon; Gaelcholáiste an Chláir, Inis; Colaiste Muire, Ennis; Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon; St Patrick’s Comprehensive, Shannon; and St Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla. All secondary schools are welcome to join the programme.

Over 800 students from 16 secondary schools in Clare took part in last year’s programme. 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 25,000 students from over 500 secondary schools take part last year. 

Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise in Clare, 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.”   

The 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 up by Glanbia. The intermediate category was won by ‘Aim It Board’ from Loreto College in Dublin while ‘Sofatop’ from Ballybay Community College in Monaghan took the junior category award.

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 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.   

Page last reviewed: 08/10/20

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