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Minister English launches Ireland's largest Student Enterprise Programme for 2023

Date: 18-11-2022

The Student Enterprise Programme relaunches for its 21st year with the addition of three new awards

This week marks the launch of the 21st Student Enterprise Programme, Ireland’s largest student entrepreneurial programme as Minister Damien English joined last year’s winners Barrelda from St. Patrick’s Classical School and their Principal and Meath GAA manager Colm O’Rourke in Navan.

An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices to encourage entrepreneurship in secondary schools, the Student Enterprise Programme has seen over 325,000 secondary school students take part in the programme since it first began, with over 25,000 participants expected this year.

Participating students will compete across three categories, Junior (1st year), Intermediate (2nd and 3rd year) and Senior (4th, 5th and 6th year, LVA, LCA and Youth Outreach).  Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show viable sales of their service or product.  Following county and regional finals Student Enterprises from across the country will take part in the Final at Croke Park on Friday 5th May.    

In addition to the three categories that students will be grouped under by class, students can also submit their business model as part of the further ‘optional competitions’.  This year will see the introduction of three additional categories of optional competitions including – the ‘Best Business Website’ sponsored by .IE, the “Green Go Getter Award” sponsored by the EPA, as well as the “Smart Business Idea” award sponsored by Folens.  These three new awards categories are in addition to ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’, ‘Social Stars’ and ‘Intellectual Property’ competitions from previous years.

Last year’s winner of the Student Enterprise Programme were “Barrelda” - an eco-innovation created by two young farmers from Co. Meath.  Barrelda specialise in revamping old, blue polythene drums and recycling them to create meal silos and teat feeders.  The young entrepreneurs have won high praise from eco organisations and farming organisations nationwide for their sustainability focused project which also addresses the rising costs of farming equipment.  

The Student Enterprise Programme, 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 464 secondary schools across the country take part in 2021/2022.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English states:The Student Enterprise Programme is a hugely valuable initiative by the Local Enterprise Offices.  Not only does it encourage and foster a love of entrepreneurship, it also creates understanding on what is involved in starting and running a business from idea right through to making sales.  No matter what these students do in later life they will acquire skills in this programme that they can bring with them into jobs and hopefully their own companies in the years to come.  Again this year we look forward to innovative and indeed sustainable businesses that these students will create.”

Michael Nevin, chair of the Education Enterprise Committee of the Local Enterprise Offices, said; “I am delighted to announce that the Student Enterprise Programme will return for 2022 / 2023, now within its 21st year.  Each year we receive an overwhelming number of submissions which shows the true appetite amongst Irish school students who wish to learn the skills and practices for a successful life in business.  In addition to the three national categories, we have added to our optional competitions through our ‘Best Business Website’, ‘Go Green Go Better’ and ‘Smart Business Idea’ competitions, giving more students an opportunity to showcase their strengths and abilities.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish every student the best of luck and we look forward to viewing submissions later this year.”

For further information:

Declan Lee – Enterprise Ireland – 087 695 7451 /

Aisling Hinchy – Drury - 086 035 3732 /

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