Business Developed On All-Ireland Winner’s Farm Takes Top Student Enterprise Prize

IRELAND’S FINEST STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS CELEBRATE VIRTUALLY

A magnetic hose holder aimed specifically at parlour hoses for dairy farmers, developed on the farm of a Kilkenny All-Ireland winner, has taken top prize in the Senior category at today’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals, run by the Local Enterprise Offices. 

The Handy Hose by student entrepreneurs Jack O’Mara and Daniel Ruddy from CBS Thurles, on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, fits to the hose to enable it to attach easily to the any metal surface within the milking parlour.

Along with an endorsement from four-time All-Ireland winner and farmer Lester Ryan where the students developed the idea, the product has also received the backing of Farmer of the Year 2019, David Russell, who has several in his parlours.  The enterprise, J&D Engineering, make the attachment themselves and had sold over 200, before the Covid-19 pandemic, but continue to sell online.   

The other categories saw wins for Dublin City and Monaghan.  In the intermediate category, the Aim-It Board, from students in Loreto College, St. Stephen’s Green, on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Dublin City was named the overall winner.  The board is based on a basketball hoop and backboard but is designed to highlight where a certain throw will land helping students with physical activity but also understanding angles and the physics of throwing a ball.

The winner in the Junior category was the Sofatop, created by students from Ballybay Community College on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Monaghan.  The Sofatop is s stylish flexible tray that can safely hold a cup of tea within reach on a couch.   

For the first time since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, the National Finals took place online.  Having originally been scheduled to take place in Croke Park on the 1st May, the Local Enterprise Office run awards, were announced virtually today, 27th May, via live stream on the Student Enterprise Programmes Facebook and YouTube channels.

The students and teachers from across the country logged online to the event hosted by RTE’s Rick O’Shea and he was joined during the ceremony by previous winners and Student Entrepreneur Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier.  The rugby star previously took part in the initiative when he was a student at Wesley College in Dublin.

In the Senior Category this year’s runners up were “What About Me” from Dunmore Community School in Galway in third place and “The Last Straw” from Tullow Community School in Carlow. 

In the Intermediate Category, third place went to “Bookworms” from St. Clare’s Comprehensive School in Manorhamilton, Leitrim and second place was “Sala Sios” from Castleisland Presentation School, Kerry.

In the Junior Category the runners up are “Castaways” from Castleisland Presentation School in Kerry who finished in third place and second place went to “Bee Wrappi” from Summerhill College in Sligo.

There was a record number of 85 student enterprises competing in Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students. The 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 close to 26,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, congratulated the students today; “This is a challenging time for students all across the country but today is a day that they get to celebrate all the hard work they have put into their businesses since last September.  To the winners today my congratulations, but to all the finalists, you have achieved something truly exceptional.  The ability to devise a business, set it up and run it, is something that will stand by you forever.  Ireland has a history of great entrepreneurs and no doubt many of you today will go on to achieve greatness in business and we will ensure we are there to support you every step of the way.”

Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Office’s Enterprise Education Committee, said; “It has been another outstanding year for the Student Enterprise Programme and that is reflected in the quality of finalists.  The programme has helped over 200,000 students create and run their own businesses since 2003 and that in itself is a reflection of the entrepreneurial genes in our young students.  Not only do today’s students want to create a good business, they want to create a business that improves society or helps the world around us and that has to be commended.  So to our winners, finalists and our whole class of 2019/2020, well done and we can look forward great new businesses you will be starting in the future.” 

The National Final students, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions.  Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.  The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies. 

This year’s Programme also saw two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories.  The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition.  It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.  This year’s winners were Fiachra Murray of Patrician College, Carrickmacross, Monaghan in the Junior Category while Nathan Ryan from Colaiste Eamonn Ris in Kilkenny

In the Senior category there was a new “Go Green: Be Sustainable Creative Business Competition”. In this new pilot competition students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service and was open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.  The winner of this new category was Kieran Spaight from Tarbert Comprehensive School in Kerry.

Since 2003, over 220,000 students have taken part in the Student Enterprise Programme.  Last year again there was great variety across the entries, and the winners.  In the Junior category, Specrest from Fingal in Dublin designed a 3D printed biodegradable clip that will secure glasses on clothing.  Smooth Remove from North Cork, a device for shoe removal won in the Senior category while Crios Mhadra from Kerry, a dog safety harness for car travel took home the Intermediate prize. 

Full details of all this year’s 85 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme website at www.StudentEnterprise.ie