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24 May 2022

Budding businesses shine at Laois Student Enterprise Awards

Local Enterprise Office Laois have announced that winning teenager entrepreneurs from Mountrath Community School and Portlaoise College will go forward to represent Laois at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. 

The students all took part in the Laois Final on March 29th, which was held virtually on YouTube and Facebook. A total of 427 students across seven Laois schools took part in the programme during this academic year. 

In the Junior Category, the students going forward to represent Laois at the National Finals are James Crean and Valeria Codreono of Sapone Soap from Portlaoise College. 

In the Intermediate Category, Oisin Grundy with his business ‘Osite’ from Portlaoise College will be representing the county at the Finals.

In the Senior Category of the competition, Laois will be represented by Raymond Goode and Caelum O'Brien of RC Woodcrafts from Mountrath Community School. 

In the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” Competition, Mosa Hafeez will represent Laois in the National Finals at Intermediate level, while in the “Most Creative Business Idea” competition, Oisin Grundy with his business idea ‘Sniff n’ Sip came out on top at Junior Cycle level and Noor Fatima with her business idea ‘The Sweat Zone’ at Senior Cycle level. All of these students are from Portlaoise College. 

Special guests at the Laois County Final included young entrepreneurs, Richard Grimes and Peter Timlin of Pure Clothing; an exciting new sustainable clothing business, and DJ Emma Power, who is blazing a trail in the broadcasting world. 

Speaking at the county final, Honor Deevy of Local Enterprise Office Laois congratulated the students, saying “We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in County Laois, with excellent participation across all of the competitions this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck going forward to National Final. In what has been a particularly challenging couple of years 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”.

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 range of online resources available at www.StudentEnterprise.ie for students and teachers.    

The winning local students will now compete against approximately 80 student enterprises from all over the country for a place in the Top 15 shortlisted teams to make it to a live event on Wednesday 18th May at The Helix in Dublin.  This year’s live event will not only be a special one as it’s the first in-person event since 2019, but also as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Student Enterprise Programme. 

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 24,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2020 / 2021. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals.

Laois Student Enterprise Programme County Final Winners - 2022

AWARD: Main Student Enterprise Programme - Junior Winner

Winner: Sapone Soap. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: Michelle Duggan. Students: James Crean, Valeria Codreono

Info: Organic, vegetable based handmade soaps which are scented. 

AWARD: Main Student Enterprise Programme - Intermediate Winner

Winner: Osite. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: James Harvey. Student: Oisin Grundy 

Info: Oisin offers tailored web design services at affordable prices for students and start-up businesses.

AWARD: Creative Business Idea Video Competition – Junior Cycle Winner

Winner: Sniff n’ Sip. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: James Harvey. Student: Oisin Grundy

Info: An attachment for a water bottle that holds capsules which use scent instead of additives to create a desirable flavour perception, allowing you to make water taste like your favourite drink. This concept is based on the science of smell playing a significant role in influencing taste.

AWARD: Creative Business Idea Video Competition – Senior Cycle Winner

Winner: The Sweat Zone. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: James Harvey. Student: Noor Fatima 

Info: A health and fitness App and website designed specifically for people with disabilities. 

AWARD: My Entrepreneurial Journey Competition – Intermediate Level Winner

Winner: Hoppsy. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: Michelle Duggan. Student: Mosa Hafeez 

Info: Mosa interviewed a local entrepreneur and impressed the judges with her account of her imaginary business called “Hoppsy” which is a social media app. 

AWARD: Special Merit – PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT 

Winner: Simply Resin. School: Mountmellick Community School. Teachers: Lorna O'Sullivan & Una Mangan. Students: Roise Culleton, Emma Bergin, Treasa Dowling, Ella Piggot 

Info: Handmade selection of keyrings made from resin which can be personalised.

AWARD: Special Merit – BUSINESS PLAN 

Winner: Woody Wonders. School: Scoil Chríost Rí. Teacher: Lorraine Conroy. Students: Gabrielle Davis, Sarah Nolan, Eimear Whelan, Caoimhe Hyland Conlon

Info: The team compiled a very detailed and comprehensive business plan for their mini company which sells decorative wooden signs displaying quotes. 

AWARD: Special Merit – COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL

Winner: Go with the Glow. School: St Mary's CBS. Teacher: Deirdre Moore. Students: Nathan Duffy, Daniel Corbett, William Barrett, Eoin O'Kelly

Info: This product is an assistive glow-in-the-dark tape designed to help guide the elderly or visually impaired by highlighting where the light switch is for example. It may also be helpful for children who are scared in the dark. 

AWARD: Special Merit – PRODUCT PRESENTATION 

Winner: Dunamasonjars. School: Dunamase College. Teacher: David Thompson. Students: Rachel Ní Neill, Leah Stanley, Lily Kirwan

Info: This team created an attractively packaged and labelled range of products containing dry mix ingredients for baking brownies, cookies and cake.

AWARD: Special Merit – BUSINESS ACUMEN  

Winner: JK Woodcraft. School: St Mary's CBS. Teacher: Deirdre Moore. Students: Jake Lee Kelly

Info: This business makes wooden gifts and home decorations using design software and laser cutting. The judges were impressed by the products and also by the knowledge and skill demonstrated in the video submitted.  

AWARD: Special Merit – BRANDING

Winner: Sunrise Products. School: Mountrath Community School. Teacher: Evelyn Geary. Students: Adam Schuch, Charlie Donnery

Info: This mini company impressed the judges with their very professionally branded homemade relish and lemonade, made from natural ingredients.

AWARD: Special Merit – MARKET RESEARCH

Winner: KiiK. School: Portlaoise College. Teacher: Michelle Duggan. Students: Natalia Orlik, Weronika Popko

Info: The standard of the market research carried out by Natalia and Weronika for their mini company which makes handmade body butters really impressed the judges. 

AWARD: Special Merit – BEST VIDEO 

Winner: Album Apparel. School: Mountrath Community School. Teacher: Evelyn Geary. Students: Adam Dunne, Alex Power

Info: Adam and Alex made an impactful and fun video to describe their mini company which sells t-shirts that display album covers with the relevant Spotify code on the back.

AWARD: Main Student Enterprise Programme – Senior Level – THIRD PLACE

Winner: Christmas Crafts. School: Heywood Community School. Teacher: Patricia Brennan. Students: Vincent Kehoe, Padraig Drennen

Info: This mini company made a lot of money selling high quality handmade seasonal decorations and impressed the judges with their product quality and their detailed business report. 

AWARD: Main Student Enterprise Programme – Senior Level – SECOND PLACE

Winner: ChristmasCrafts (NOT A MISTAKE – Both 3rd & 2nd have the same business name!)

School: St Mary's CBS. Teacher: Deirdre Moore. Students: Jack Byrne, Adam Leahy, Karl Mulligan, Conor Brady

Info: This mini company made handmade wooden snowmen designed for gardens and balconies and turned a very good profit having attended markets in Portlaoise, Portarlington, Athy and Naas. 

AWARD: Main Student Enterprise Programme – Senior Level – WINNER

Winner: RC Woodcrafts. School: Mountrath Community School. Teacher: Rita Moore. Students: Raymond Goode, Caelum O'Brien

Info: This mini company makes very professional handmade retro wooden signs (based on vintage Irish road signs) as well as laser-cut medal holders, both of which can be personalised with place-names or people’s names etc. 


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

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