Student Enterprise Programme Launched
16th October 2023
Louise Cantillon former teacher turned TV and Radio Star recently launched the 2024 Student Enterprise Programme, Ireland’s largest enterprise competition for second level students.
An initiative of the Local Enterprise Office, the Student Enterprise Programme was created to promote entrepreneurship in second level schools, equipping students with the skills to set up and successfully run their own business. Now in its 22nd year, the programme has proved to be a huge success, with over 350,000 secondary school students taking part since it first began. This year alone, a further 25,000 students are expected to participate.
For the programme, each student enterprise is challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, and must show viable sales of their service or product. Following county finals later this year, student enterprises from across the country will take part in the national final in Mullingar on Thursday 9th May 2024.
The Student Enterprise Programme is open to students of all ages at senior level, with three separate categories – Junior (1st year), Intermediate (2nd and 3rd year) and Senior (4th, 5th and 6thyear, LVA, LCA and Youth Outreach). There are also a number of prizes that recognise achievements across specific categories – including the “Best Business Website”, “Sustainability Award”, the “Smart Business Idea”, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey”, “Finance Award”, “Technology Award” and “Intellectual Property” competitions from previous years.
This year also marks the re-launch of the student workbooks ‘as Gaeilge’, further encouraging participation amongst Gaelscoil students while supporting the promotion of the Irish language.
Last year’s winner of the Student Enterprise Programme were Josh McCormack and Evan McNeil from Roscommon Community College, the founders and designers of “MC Compactors”, a stainless-steel device which enables users to easily compact rubbish in standard wheelie bins. The device works with all standard household wheelie bins, allows users to compress their waste, facilitating greater capacity within the household bin.
Michael Nevin, chair of the Education Enterprise Committee of the Local Enterprise Offices, said; “I am delighted to launch the 2023/2024 Student Enterprise Programme which marks the 22ndyear of the hugely successful programme. Each year we are blown away by the creativity and the ingenuity of second level students across the country, and I have no doubt that this year will be no different. The programme is expanding each year, and this year I’m particularly delighted to announce our updated Irish language workbook, which I hope will encourage even more Gaelscoileanna to get involved.”
This year, Gaelgeoir and broadcaster Louise Cantillon will be the programme ambassador. Announcing her role, Louise said: “I am honoured to have been asked to represent the Student Enterprise Programme as an Ambassador this year, particularly with the new Irish element to the programme! I know first hand how transformative this programme can be for students taking part. I was involved in teaching mini-company when I worked as a teacher earlier in my career and the life skills that students learn on top of the business skills is a real game changer. They come out the other end of this programme with a skillset that will stand to them for life!”
The Student Enterprise Programme is funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country. Last year’s competition saw over 25,000 students from approximately 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2022/2023.