Student entrepreneurs across Fingal have begun their journey in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme (SEP), with eyes on next year’s National Final. This programme run by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is being delivered differently given the current restrictions across the country, and the Final, which will take place on Friday 14th May 2021, will be a virtual one.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final event of the previous Fingal Student Enterprise Programme (2019/20) was deferred. But this week, each of the three winning student enterprises received their prizes and awards: Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan for the junior category with a business called “Campo de Fiori”, which produces a range of flower decorations for various occasions; Edmund Rice College in Blanchardstown for the intermediate category, with their enterprise called “Candle Holders Out Of Sustainable Equipment (C.H.O.O.S.E)”; and senior category winners Castleknock Community College, with “Globenomics”, an innovative card game which gives an in-depth insight into economics for students of the new Junior Certificate programme.
This is the 18th year of Ireland’s largest secondary school entrepreneurship programme and has seen over 200,000 students take part since it began. The Final usually takes place in Croke Park but in May 2021, the event will take place online in keeping with current guidelines.
The students, who will compete across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, will see judging take place virtually via electronic submissions. Each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.
The programme will also include two additional categories that students can enter. These are the “Most Creative Business Idea” video competition for the senior category and the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” category for the Junior and Intermediate categories.
Of the 25,000 students participating nationally in last year’s Student Enterprise programme, some 2,500 (or 10%) are from Fingal, from 25 secondary schools. Despite the pandemic, the number participating again this year is very similar.
Fingal has had previous success in the competition with Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together School scooping the top prize in the Junior category at the National final in 2019 with “SpecRest”, a device for conveniently storing eyewear.
Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the LEO Network and Head of Enterprise in Fingal said: “ We are encouraging students to come up with business ideas that are adapted to new enterprise challenges and that are sustainable in today’s economic climate. With this in mind the programme has changed and even though the way it is being delivered (which is mainly online), is different, the students will still be able to work together in their school setting to develop their businesses. This will be our most challenging year to date in the Student Enterprise Programme’s history, but it will be exciting to see what new world businesses our students bring to the table”.
The 2020 Student Enterprise Programme National Final winners in the senior category were Handy Hose Holders from CBS Thurles in Tipperary for their practical milking parlour hose solution that has since been picked up by Glanbia. The Intermediate category was won by Aim It Board from Loreto College in Dublin while Sofatop from Ballybay Community College in Monaghan took the Junior category award.
Since the SEP began in 2003, over 200,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The SEP 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.