Last Thursday March 2nd saw students and teachers from all over County Louth arrive at The Fairways Hotel in Dundalk for the annual Student Enterprise Awards.
ack in person for the first time since COVID-19, the place was buzzing with energy, excitement and entrepreneurial spirit.
“We had a fantastic range of ideas and enterprises on show this year. It genuinely made selecting winners, across all categories, a real challenge,” said Judge in the Senior category Claire Cunningham. “But it is also amazing to see so many local young people so excited and passionate about entrepreneurship as a future career opportunity.”
Over 1,170 students from 19 schools across the county participated in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme. A collaboration between Local Enterprise Office Louth and local schools, the programme is delivered by Fionnuala Rogers, Francis Verling, and Colm Finnegan. During the programme, students learned how to create a business idea, then start and grow their own business. The highpoint is the county final where students get to present their businesses and future potential to a panel of expert judges.
The Senior category was won by Just Tap, with team members Callum Moore, Eoin Carpenter and Sam Sweeney. Students of St. Mary’s College, Dundalk, they are supported by their teachers Aoife Tyrrell, Jack McEneaney and Ryan McVicar.
“The team in Just Tap used the latest in Near Frequency Communications technology to create smart keyrings. These channel customers to their social media profiles, contact information, or any webpage. This makes it a convenient digital and sustainable alternative to traditional business cards and printed material,” explains Acting Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Louth, Riona McCoy. “This is a product with great potential for future development and demonstrates a brilliant understanding of both technology and consumer behaviour. Our judges were really impressed by their innovative thinking and we, at LEO Louth, are delighted that Just Tap will represent Louth at the Student Enterprise Finals in May.”
Runner-up in the Senior category was won by Barn With It. A clever, creative and sustainable enterprise created by Laura McKevitt of Dundalk Grammar School, with support from her teacher Sharon Browne.
Hailing from Drogheda Grammar School, Like Your Locker won the Intermediate category. Students Nora Gilligan and Alex Borza produced handcrafted locker shelves and accessories. Supported by their teacher Alma Carney, their products help to organise and improve the functionality of any school locker. There were double celebrations for Drogheda Grammar School as Tegan Semple of Tegan’s Trinkets scooped the runner up prize in the intermediate category.
Strawsome, the creation of Jack Ivers and James Lavery, supported by their teacher Sharon Browne from Dundalk Grammar School, took first place in the Junior category. They impressed the judges with their homegrown, cut to length, bamboo straws that are sold in a sustainable pack, including a straw cleaner. Winner of the runner-up prize in the Junior category was Oisin’s Turkeys. Founded by Oisin Hand of Scoil Ui Mhuiri Post Primary School, Dunleer, Oisin was supported by his teacher Martina Farrell.
Dearbhla McArdle of St. Vincent’s Secondary School in Dundalk was named winner of the My Entrepreneurial Journey Award. Supported by her teacher Eimear McCreesh, Dearbhla chronicled what life would be like as a successful entrepreneur in the future and judges were deeply impressed by her writing and she will also proceed to the national competition.
An intense morning of judging saw the finalists present their business idea and answer tough questions from the judges. The Junior and Intermediate categories were judged by Lavina McGahon and Graham O’Rourke, while Ronan Dennedy, Sarah Daly and Claire Cunningham judged the Senior category. In the afternoon, the students were joined by Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr. Conor Keelan for the announcement of the winners.
Winners of the Senior, Intermediate and Junior categories will, along with the winner of the My Entrepreneurial Journey, will now represent Louth in the Student Enterprise Awards national final at Croke Park on May 5th.
Special congratulations also to teacher Eimear McCreesh of St. Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk who received the Enterprise Educators Award. Winning this award is testament to her work and dedication in promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship in the school environment.
There were also seven category award winners, recognising the expertise and skills demonstrated by the young entrepreneurs.
The Innovation Award winner was Your Scores, with team members Aarron Carroll, Brendan Cristofides, Deoin Scaria and teacher Roisin Curtis from St. Mary’s Diocesan School Drogheda.
The Social Media & Marketing Award was won by QuikScent with team members Adam Sharkey, James Shields, Albert Johnston, Tiernan Hynes, Cillian McCann and their teacher Micheal Carron from Bush Post Primary School.
The Social Enterprise Award went to Secondary Success with team members Anna Hickey, Laura Hennessy, Shane Gorman, Laidhan Geraghty and Mischa Rooney with teacher Alan Magee from Ardee Community School.
The Best Display Award was won by Crafts by Alex. Alex Hope, supported by teacher Alma Carney represented Drogheda Grammar School.
Caitlin Carroll and Ellie Litchfield won the Well-Being Award with their enterprise, Mind Over Journal. Supported by their teacher Dearbhla McGrane, they are pupils at St. Louis Secondary School, Dundalk.
Wonderful Designs @ St. Brigid’s, scooped the Sustainability Award. Their entrepreneurial team are Mollie Conway, Patrick Marron, Benny Casey, Gabe Morrissey and Amy Hoey with their teachers Olive Byrne and Eimear Marron from St. Brigid’s, Dundalk.
Simply Shore Designs won the Best Creative Business Award. Team members Tara White and Megan Halpenny were supported by their teacher Michael Carron from Bush Post Primary School.
Louth’s Acting Head of Enterprise Riona McCoy concludes, “We wish our 4 finalists the very best of luck as they represent Louth in Croke Park at the national finals on 5th May. Follow the competition using #StudentEnterprise on social media and discover more by visiting www.StudentEnterprise.ie”