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01/08/2021

Kilkenny students set for national entrepreneurship final

Well done to all the local winners in the county enterprise final

Kilkenny student Enterprise Final

File photo

Teenage entrepreneurs from three local schools will represent Kilkenny at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Final on Friday, May 14.

Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny announced the winners at this year’s Student Enterprise virtual county final, which took place yesterday (Tuesday). More than 500 students from 13 Kilkenny-based schools took part in the programme this academic year, with 80 students representing nine schools reaching the county final.

The Student Enterprise Programme is an enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland, and is delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country. The programme encourages students to create, design and market their own business, all in the hope of reaching the national final. As with last year’s event, the final will take place virtually .

In the Junior category, county final winners who will go onto to represent Kilkenny at the national final are Noah Cahill, Ian McDonald and Thomas Deegan from Coláiste Éamann Rís, Callan with their business ‘Parcel Trust’ which manufactures high-quality secure outdoor storage boxes designed particularly with online deliveries in mind.

In the Senior category of the competition, Kilkenny will be represented on May 14 by Tara McGuire of Presentation Secondary School with her mini-company ‘Slates by Tara’. Tara’s impressive slate art business sells decorative hand painted artwork on 100-year-old recycled Blue Bangor slates.

In the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition at intermediate level, Mark Srouji from Coláiste Éamann Rís will represent Kilkenny. Mark interviewed Anne Neary of Ryeland House Cookery School as his case study and also outlined his entrepreneurial journey having set up a business called Mark’s Productions, making themed table centrepieces.

In the ‘Most Creative Business Idea’ competition which is open to senior students, Rachel Brennan of Loreto Secondary School came out on top with her Covid-19 related business idea ‘Counting after Covid’ and will go forward to the final. Rachel’s idea involved the development of customised framed money box containing imagery to motivate people to save for trips, adventures, etc after Covid.

There were also a number of category awards presented with the Kilkenny County Council sponsored Green Award going to ‘Bí Nádúrtha’ from Castlecomer Community School - team members include Alison Bradish, Hollie Coogan, Cáit Scott and Aislín Comerford. Alyson Shortall, Leslie Hughes and Alicia Brennan, students from Loreto Secondary School scooped the Best Branding Award for their dry mix for cookies and brownies ‘Munch Mix’ project. Moya Kehoe from Kilkenny College with her ecommerce clothing business ‘Popping Basics’ won the One to Watch award.

Special merits awards were also announced with Adam Walsh from Duiske College being presented with the Best Business Pitch for his business project ‘Handy Sanitizer’. Coláiste Éamann Rís students Mark Ahern and Kevan Lynch won the design-led thinking award for their handmade wooden stand to hold hurls, umbrellas and much more.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was presented to Adam Byrnes and Cian Sherwood from Castlecomer Community School for their parking disc idea ‘Just Parked’. Leon Doyle a student from Kilkenny College was announced the Rising Star for his project ‘Leon’s Woodland Pencil Holders’.

The MC for the event was Brian Redmond, best known for his role in the judging hotseat on RTÉ One series ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

“Kilkenny has a successful track record in the student enterprise competition at National Level. Last year Nathan Ryan from Coláiste Éamann Rís took first place at intermediate level in the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ competition and Mark and Evan Srouji, also from Coláiste Éamann Rís, won a Special Merit Award in the Intermediate Category of the main Student Enterprise Programme competition” said Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 220,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme introduced a new range of online student and teacher enterprise resources during 20/2021 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie.     

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness lauded the support and back-up provided by all second level schools that participated in the Student Enterprise Programme this year.

“This year’s national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck as they compete against hundreds of other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland at the Student Enterprise Programme National Final, taking place virtually on May 14,” he said.

Further information on the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.

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