The future of business in Laois appeared bright as young entrepreneurs gathered to showcase there hard work and innovation at this year’s Student Enterprise Awards.
The event, which is hosted by Laois County Enterprise Board, took place on Wednesday March 5 in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise.
Students from Portlaoise College, Mountrath, St Mary’s CBS, Scoil Chriost Ri, Clonaslee, Heywood, Coláiste Iosagáin and St Fergal’s, Rathdowney participated in this year’s event, which saw students setting up and operating their own companies.
The experience gave the students an insight into the various aspects of running a business, and they were assessed by the judges not only on their business idea, their marketing approach, and level of innovation, but also on important areas such as risk management, personal development and their business report.
Students turned their hobbies and interests into many excellent projects, which ranged from highly skilled character cakes, health promotion, anti-bullying programmes, and toys, to study aids, crafted and manufactured goods, and gaming accessories.
Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, was present on the day to view the work of the students and meet some of the teachers involved.
The event was also open to the public from 11.45 to 13.15, to view the businesses and talk to the young entrepreneurs.
The judges, who were from the County Enterprise Board, were very impressed with the ideas that the students were able to develop and market.
Minister Quinn was taken back by the standard in the room, and the fantastic achievements of all participating on the day.
“To see what they have done within this programme is really amazing, and I am so impressed with the work done by these talented young people and their dedicated teachers,” he said.
In the Senior category, Mountrath and Heywood came third and second place respectively, but the well-received winners came from Transition Year in St Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise.
The ‘Tara Bags’ group was made up of Darragh Hewitt, Sean Tierney, Richie Hitchcock, Dillion Sheil and Alex Ramsbottom, and they were mentored by their teachers Stephanie Buckley and Emma Lynch.
Their idea is related to the increased incidence of diabetes, and making the lives of diabetes sufferers and their families a little easier.
The group will now represent Laois at Croke Park in the National Student Enterprise Awards on April 2.
The winners of both the Junior and Intermediate categories came from Portlaoise College.
Every year in Ireland, almost 15,000 second level students get to find out what it is like to be their own boss and run their own business by taking part in the Student Enterprise Awards.