Portlaoise schools will fly the flag for Laois in the Student Enterprise Programme National Final this year.
Teams from St Mary’s CBS and Scoil Chríost Rí will contest the junior and senior virtual finals where 80 teams from schools across Ireland will log into the virtual event on Friday, May 14.
The Laois winners took part in the first ever virtual County Final on Wednesday, March 24. An estimated 350 students from 7 schools took part in the annual programme which is organised by the Laois Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
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 over 29,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2019 / 2020. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Final.
In the Junior Category, the students representing Laois at the National Final are Antoni Calka, Clinton O’Eijofor & Ar Rahim SK MD from 'M Pouch' at St Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise.
M-Pouch makes Eco Friendly pouches from recycled materials for storing face masks when not in use.
In the Senior Category of the competition, Laois will be represented on May 14 by Colm Byrne, Aaron Dooley, Adam Ramsbottom from 'O-Glo' at St Mary’s CBS.
O-Glo manufactures handmade candle holders using poured concrete which is fired and spray painted.
DecorNation from Scoil Chriost Ri and Illuminate from Portlaoise College were placed 2nd & 3rd in the Senior Category on the day.
Niamh Conroy from Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise came out on top in the Most Creative Business Idea section which is open to senior students. Her idea 'Virtu Train' also goes forward to the National Final.
Other winners on the day included: ‘Voca Vibes’ from Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise for Best Commercial Potential; Most Innovative Award went to ‘Mag Vis’ from Heywood College; Mountrath Community School won Best Product on the day; the team with the Best Team Spirit was ‘Isolation Decoration’ from Clonaslee College.
‘Go Go Gum’ from Portlaoise College took the award for Best Video and the One to Watch on the day was ‘Lumos Craft’ from Dunamase College. In the Creative Business Video Competition, the award went to ‘Virtu-Train’ from Scoil Chriost Ri.
Special guests at the Laois Final included Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, Cathoirleach Laois County Council, Cian Prendergast CEO & Founder of Ortus Technology and 2FM Presenter, Emma Power, all giving the students some great insights on how to follow your dream and achieve success.
Speaking at the county final, Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise of Local Enterprise Office Laois, congratulated the students.
“We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Laois, with over 350 students from 7 local schools taking part this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck on Friday 14th, we’ll all be logged on to support them.
"In what has been a particularly challenging year for students the programme has offered them an outlet outside of the usual school demands. What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and team-work, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers,” she said.
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 a business and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme also has new range of online resources for 2020 / 2021 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.
Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.
The following schools contested the Student Enterprise Programme in Laois this year: Clonaslee Community School, Dunamase College, Heywood Community School, Mountrath Community School, Portlaoise College, Scoil Chríost Rí, St. Mary’s CBS.