Young Laois GAA hurlers are top winners in business

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Young Laois GAA hurlers are top winners in business

Hurl Standz from St Mary's CBS collect their award at the 2019 Laois LEO Student Enterprise Awards.

A young Laois team of three hurlers have come up with a winning solution for tidying up hurls and helmets.

The three Transition Year students in St Mary's CBS are senior winners in the Laois LEO Student Enterprise Awards 2019, for a smart business idea that mammies everywhere will thank them for.

Cousins Simon and Noah Fingleton with Marc Ramsbottom are all proud players on the Ratheniska GAA Minor hurling team.

For their mini company project, they designed and hand made wall-mounted metal holders for hurls and helmets, calling their business Hurl Standz.

"Often hurls and helmets are thrown in the corner, left on the ground, so we thought we could make a product that doesn't take up floor space and is light and cheap," said Noah.

They made the metal holders in Marc's family's garage, retailing at €15 for a twin hurl holder and €20 for three hurls. They have sold 42, and with word spreading by social media, customers are from as far as Cork and Wexford.

"We are totally surprised and excited to win, we are looking forward to the national final in May in Croke Park," said Marc.

Below: CBS mini-company teachers Emma Lynch and Deirdre Moore with Marc, Simon and Noah.

The three competed with seven other Laois schools, 32 teams in all, in the county final of the 2019 Laois Enterprise Office Student Enterprise Awards in the Midlands Park Hotel on March 28.

In second place was Ebony Onalimi from Scoil Chriost Rí, for her company Ebony's Kitchen, and in third was MK Stitching, Jake Kirwan and Darragh Mc Spadden from Mountrath Community School.

In the Intermediate category, newcomers Dunamase College scooped the top prize, for their project Rudaí Beag, making festive gifts and selling them in Portlaoise Christmas fair. Second years Sorcha Tiernan, Nisha Cullen, David Jakubowski, Killian Newman and Alexandru Podvisevschii were delighted to win. They will represent Laois at the final in their category.

"My mom is going to be very proud," said Alexandru.

The Creative Design award was won by Jessica McDarby of Colaiste Iosagain Portarlington for her business Personalised Hand Painted Shows. 

The Technology award was won by Portlaoise College for Game Changer Kits, with the team being Caoimhe Dunne, Jade Brennan, Norbert Burnos, Nathan Dowling and Alomide Olotu. The Innovation award was won by the Mountmellick Community School team Magic Fairy Doors, of Arianne Conroy, Taylor Culliton Conroy, Eve Tarpey, Aimee Cousins and Joshua Gill.

The judges were Gemma Purcell of Carlow IT, and Paul Muldowney from Bank of Ireland. 

"Hurl Standz demonstrated true commercial potential with their innovative storage stands for hurls. They had a very strong business ethnic both for the creation and execution of their business proposition," said Gemma, a Business Development Engineer in the Design and Technology Gateway.

Guest speaker was entrepreneur and social media expert Joanne Sweeney, who told the students to follow their passions, surround themselves with people who build them up, and never pull anyone else down.

Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr John King had the honour of presenting the prizes.

"You're all very talented, it is striking how confident young people are now, you should be very proud of yourselves," he said.

Evelyn Reddin CEO of Local Enterprise Office Laois congratulated the students.

“We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Laois, with over 280 students from 8 local schools taking part this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck in Croke Park on May 3," she said.

“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," Ms Reddin said.

Below: the CASE scrunchie team from Scoil Chriost Ri; Emma Roche, Anna Mulvaney, Sheena Moore and Ciara Brennan.