Over 20,000 local students have benefitted from creating their own business since programme began.
Ireland’s largest student enterprise programme has been launched in what is now its 20th year.
An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices to encourage entrepreneurship in secondary schools, the Student Enterprise Programme has seen over 300,000 secondary school students take part nationally since it first began and over 20,000 taking part in Limerick.
Limerick has had success over the years with Zero Fog from Desmond College, Newcastle West picking up a National Award last year and Pablo Science & Engineering, from Ardscoil Rís, Limerick picking up the Innovation Award and Pocketknow, from Coláiste losaef, Kilmallock picking up second place overall in previous years.
The launch of the 2021/2022 programme saw the introduction of this year’s Student Enterprise Programme ambassador, All Ireland winning Limerick hurler, Sean Finn. Sean launched this year’s programme at Desmond College in Newcastle West, Limerick, a college that has had success in recent years at the Student Enterprise Programme.
Mary Killeen Fitzgerald, Limerick Local Enterprise Office said: “The Student Enterprise Programme continues to go from strength-to-strength year on year and the 20th year promises to be no different. In recent years we have seen Limerick students react by creating businesses that are solving real world problems, whether it be pandemic-related or within sustainability and the green agenda. Our students don’t want to just create a business, but a business that makes a difference in the world and it’s fantastic to see. We are looking forward to seeing what this year’s students have to offer.”
Seán Finn, Student Enterprise Programme Ambassador and Limerick All-Ireland Hurling winner said: “Without doubt the Student Enterprise Programme is one of the most beneficial things you can get involved in secondary school. The business skills you can learn from business ideas and research to sales and marketing are tools you can use across your career and the ability to set up and run a business will always stand by you. All the very best to the thousands of students who are starting their businesses across the country at the moment and I’m a bit biased so hopefully we might see the Student Enterprise Programme title coming to Limerick in May to sit alongside the Liam MacCarthy.”
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 740 students from 19 secondary schools across Limerick take part in 2020/2021 with similar numbers expected to be involved this year.
The students will compete across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior and judging takes 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 winners of this year’s competition will be announced on 29 March 2022.
The programme also has 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.
Notable recent national winners of the Student Enterprise Programme include “Coppercase” in May this year who took home the senior prize. The antimicrobial casing for face masks was the brainchild of Matthew McVicar of Macartans College in Monaghan, who is son of Combilift founder Martin McVicar. In 2020, a clever attachment for a milking parlour, Handy Hose, took the senior prize and they are now listed with Glanbia across the country, while Fenu Health who also participated in 2016/2017 are taking the equine world by storm with their gut health supplements.
Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, more than 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 new range of online resources for 2021/2022 at StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.