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National Award for Limerick Students at Student Enterprise Programme 2022 Finals

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Student Enterprise Programme 2022  – Ava Ahern, Laura Brennan and Kayla McAuliffe, all from Desmond College Newcastlewest taking part in the National Student Enterprise Awards 2022.

Ireland’s Finest Young Student Entrepreneurs Celebrated at National Finals

Student Enterprise Programme 2022
Niamh O’Mahony from Desmond College Newcastlewest taking part in the National Student Enterprise Awards 2022.

Students from Limerick have taken Special Merit Top 5 award in both the senior and intermediate categories at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme 2022 National Finals. The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were held physically for the first time in three years at the Helix in Dublin with An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and host RTE’s Rick O’Shea, with students and teachers in attendance from all over the country.

Supported by Local Enterprise Office Limerick, the students achieved the top five placing at the Student Enterprise Programme 2022 ceremony held in the Helix in DCU.

In the senior category the winning student was Niamh O’Mahony. Her enterprise was called “SmartArntU” and was a smart ruler and panes set that reduced reading errors due to dyslexia.

In the intermediate category the winning students were Ava Ahern, Laura Brennan and Kayla McAuliffe who’s business “MelaNoMore” created a wearable early warning system for children using photochromic paint to alert them and their parents to the increased UV rays that cause skin cancer.

Both teams were from Desmond College Newcastlewest and worked under the guidance of their teacher, Mr Donal Enright.

There were 15 student enterprises shortlisted for the Final in what is Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students. The 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 24,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students: “Congratulations, of course, to all the winners and finalists here today, but also to everyone who took part. To be able to create an idea, turn that idea into a business and to grow that business, is a remarkable skill that will stand to you no matter what you end up doing in your career later in life. In Ireland we have always shown great fortitude, determination and grit in times of difficulty and if these students are anything to go by, we have not lost that ability – in fact, I’m more positive than ever about the future and the next generation. Special mention to the teachers and parents who helped the students along the way, we will all benefit from your efforts. Please know that for anyone who wants to keep their idea going or has an idea for a business in the future, Government will back you every step of the way.”

Mary Killeen Fitzgerald LEO Limerick said:“Year-on-year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to showcase the very best of Irish ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. This year produced a varied selection of businesses, from agricultural products and homemade gifts to products that were built on our unique ability to tell compelling stories. We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 21/22 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”

The National Final students, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions.  Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.  The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies. 

The three main category winners on the day were: ‘Barrelda’ from St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan, representing Local Enterprise Office Meath (Senior Category Winner), ‘’Earrings by Aoibheann” from Loreto Abbey, Dalkey representing Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Sew Stylish’ from St. Brigid’s College, Callan representing Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny (Junior Category Winner).

This year’s Programme also saw the inclusion of two optional competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  The first, “My Entrepreneurial Journey”, was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition.  It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.  This year’s winners were Andrew Ryan,Coláiste Muire Réalt Na Mara, Crosshaven, Cork in the Junior Section and Ned O’MaraColáiste Eamann Rís, Callan, Co. Kilkenny in the Intermediate section.

In the Senior & Junior categories, there was a “Creative Business Idea” competition, which was open to all students taking part in the wider programme. In this competition,students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service. The winner in the Senior Category was Heat the Feet, Luis Rauner, Merlin College, Galway. In the junior category Oisin Grundy from Portlaoise College waked away with the top prize for his idea ‘Sniff n’Sip’.

Last year the Student Enterprise Programme National Final winners in the Senior category were Coppercase from Macartan’s College in Monaghan, for their antimicrobial copper-lined case for face masks. The Intermediate category was won by T-Snappi from Summerhill College in Sligo, while Go Green Now from Salerno Secondary School in Galway took the Junior category award. 

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 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 2021/2022, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.

For more information on the Student Enterprise Programme go HERE

For more stories on the Student Enterprise Programme go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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