Mayo's Student Entrepreneurs Begin Online Road To National Success
Student entrepreneurs across Mayo 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 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 categories that students can enter. These are the “Most Creative Business Idea” video competition for the senior category and the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” category for the Junior and Intermediate categories.
The schools from Mayo taking part this year are:
St. Brendan's College Belmullet
Mount St. Michael Secondary School Claremorris
St. Tiernan’s College Crossmolina
Sancta Maria College Louisburgh
Scoil Muire & Pádraig Swinford
St. Gerald's DLS College Castlebar
Coláiste Chomáin Rossport Rossport
Coláiste Pobail Acla Achill
Ballinrobe Community School Ballinrobe
St. Joseph's Community College Charlestown
St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford
St. Louis Community School Kiltimagh
Rice College Westport
St. Muredach’s College Ballina
St. Mary's Secondary School Ballina
Jesus & Mary Secondary School Gortnor Abbey Crossmolina
St. Patrick's College Lacken Cross Killala
Davitt College Castlebar
Over 1000 students from 21 secondary schools in Mayo 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 across the country take part last year.
Mayo has had previous success in the competition when The Worry Bear Co. from St Mary’s Convent, Ballina won the Intellectual Property prize in the senior category, Sparkless from Gortnor Abbey won the Intellectual Property prize in the Intermediate Category and The Nephin Turf Company won the award for Best Commercial Potential in the Junior Category in 2019.
Elaine Moyles, Acting Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Mayo 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 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.