Young entrepreneurs showcase talent

Rachel Dermody, Michelle Hickey, Rebecca Pembroke, Conor Bergin, Cameron Murphy and Sarah O'Connor, Colaiste Mhuire, Johnstown pictured at their 'Care for You Cosmetics' stand during the Kilkenny Youth Enterprise Awards in th Newpark Hotel last Thursday. Photo: Pat Moore.
Over 160 enterprising young students from secondary schools across Kilkenny displayed their products and services at the Student Enterprise Awards (SEA) county final held last Thursday in the Newpark Hotel.

Over 160 enterprising young students from secondary schools across Kilkenny displayed their products and services at the Student Enterprise Awards (SEA) county final held last Thursday in the Newpark Hotel.

The overall senior category prize winner was Kilkenny College student Stephen Agar, with his enterprise ‘Ballymoon Sheep Solutions’. The business involves making specialised gates, troughs and gates for sheep.

The equipment has proven a massive hit with farmers, and Stephen’s business is already healthily profitable. The future certainly looks bright, regardless of how things go in the national competition on St Patrick’s Day.

Runners-up in the senior category were ‘Promo-Bottles’ from Grennan College and third prize went to ‘Ba Ba Blingz’ from Castlecomer Community School. ‘The Kilkenny Tourist’, an app for Kilkenny developed by students from St Kieran’s College, was awarded the Science and Technology award sponsored by Institute of Technology, Carlow. Local businesses can sign up to be on the ‘tourist trail’.

“The app is free, we make the money from business subscriptions,” explained student Neil Grogan.

“We have made €400 already.”

The Best Commercial Award sponsored by the Kilkenny Business Women’s Network was awarded to ‘Allura Organics’ from Loreto for developing cosmetic products from locally sourced beeswax. The business is less than a month old but has sold 70 units already.

Most Innovative Product went to ‘Sturdy Stools’ from Castlecomer CS, ‘Care for you Cosmetics’ from Coláiste Mhuire, Johnstown won the Best Display Award; ‘Yo-Holders’ from Castlecomer CS’ were awarded a prize for the Best Report and ‘Handy Holders’ from Coláiste Eamann Rís, Callan, for the Best Teamwork.

An after-schools catering business, ‘Bullseye’ from St Brigid’s College, won the Food Award, while ‘Applecrumble and Fudge’ from Scoil Airgeail, Ballyhale was presented with an award for creative branding. Ciara Treacy from the Presentation won an award as a sole entrepreneur making homemade bread and jam products, while Jack and Richard Keoghan, from St Kieran’s were presented with an award for their hard work.

Students from Coláiste Eamann Rís scooped two awards, with previous national award winners, James and Sean Power winning the Craft Award for their new product – handmade model farm yard sets. ‘Injury Innovation’ from Duiske College received the Health and Safety Award, while Castlecomer CS was awarded the overall school prize.

The SEA programme provides second level students at all levels from first year through to sixth year with the chance to set up and run their own business. A total of 45 businesses were on display at the county final, representing 12 secondary schools from throughout the county.

“The SEA provides practical knowledge and experience of what it is really like to identify a business idea and set up a business,” said Catherine Hennessy of Kilkenny CEB.

All three winners at senior, intermediate and junior level will go forward to represent Kilkenny in the national final on Wednesday, April 17.