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Ireland’s enterprising teens on the road to Croke Park

Enterprising young teenagers, from the age of 13 and up, are getting ready to showcase their inventions and real-life businesses at the Student Enterprise Awards, which is co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices.

Of the 22,000 students from 620 secondary schools that took part this year, teens from 76 student enterprises have won a place at this year’s National Final in Croke Park on Wednesday April 20th and students from every county across Ireland will be demonstrating their businesses and inventions for the judging panels on the day.

Among this year’s inventions include patented headphone holders, an online game that helps children learn to code and wallets that protect contactless payment cards from skimming attacks.

The Student Enterprise Awards Programme is in its 14th year and brings the world of business into the classroom, helping students develop enterprise and management skills. With the support of their schools and the Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authorities Network, students research, set-up and run their own real-life businesses.

The programme was set-up to help foster a more enterprising culture according to the Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, Sean O’ Sullivan. He said: “The Student Enterprise Awards give young teenagers a taste of what it’s like to run their own business and to be their own boss. Along the way, the programme helps them develop important entrepreneurship skills, learning about sales, innovation, managing finances and finding new markets. Learning the fundamentals of running a business now, will help them throughout their studies and career.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “As I have said many times before, we have great entrepreneurs in Ireland but we just don’t have enough of them. That is why at the heart of our jobs plans are measures to encourage more young people to consider starting their own business as a career choice. The Student Enterprise Awards are central to this effort, and is an opportunity to witness the amazing quality of the businesses being established by our students and to celebrate their achievements. These young people are the innovators and the job-creators of tomorrow, and I’d like to wish everyone competing in this year’s competition every success with their business”.

16-year-old Shíofra Ryan from St. Brendan’s Community School in Offaly took the overall Senior Category prize for ‘An Tionchar’ last year, with patent-pending designs on a boot for hurling and camogie players. The Intermediate Category was won by Dara Ward from ‘My GAA Journey’ of Coláiste Eanna C.B.S. in South Dublin. The top prize in the Junior Category meanwhile went to Mary O’ Leary, Eva Fitzgibbon and Ciara Litchfield from ‘Bring a Fairy Home’ at St. Mary’s Secondary School, Charleville in North Cork.

The next Student Enterprise Awards programme starts in September, with further details on

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are now the ‘first-stop-shop’ State support service for micro and small businesses in each local area. The LEOs provide advice and direction, covering all government supports and requirements, to anyone who wishes to start or expand a business. They can also provide funding for projects that meet certain criteria, generally with regard to export potential, and other non-financial supports such as training and mentoring. Details on the supports available through the Local Enterprise Offices are available through 



For all media queries, please contact Sarah Bohan at Engage Ireland Tel: 01 427 8388 / Email: office @

Photography Note: High resolution imagery from the 2015 Student Enterprise Awards is available through Engage Ireland, reproduction free.

Event Information: Student Enterprise Awards (National Finals)

Co-ordinated by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country, the Student Enterprise Awards are now in their 14th year. The official website address for the programme is

An estimated 22,000 secondary school students from 620 schools took part in the 2015/2016 Student Enterprise Awards Programme and every county is represented.

As part of its remit, the Local Enterprise Offices aim to foster an enterprise culture among students in Ireland. Students usually qualify for the National Final through their School or County Final, through their Local Enterprise Office.

2016 Student Enterprise Awards National Finals at Croke Park       

Organisers: Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authorities Network         

Date: Wednesday, April 20th 2016              

Venue: Hogan Suite, Croke Park, Dublin 3                                                                                    


Organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (

Senior Category

First Place & Overall Winner (Senior Category)

Winning Business: An Tionchar 

Supported by Local Enterprise Office: Offaly              

Description: Impact hurling boot with enhanced ankle support, shock absorbent insole and arch support.      

School: St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr, Co. Offaly.                                                                                                                                             Student: Shíofra Ryan                                                                                                                                                                                                    Teacher: John Kennedy

Intermediate Category:

First Place & Overall Winner (Intermediate Category)

Winning Business: My GAA Journey      

Supported by Local Enterprise Office: South Dublin       

Description: A book that allows young GAA players to track their progress and achievements throughout their sporting career  

School: Coláiste Eanna C.B.S., Ballyroan, South Dublin.       

Student: Dara Ward         

Teacher: Paul Conway

Junior Category:

First Place & Overall Winner (Junior Category)

Winning Business: Bring a Fairy Home       

Supported ted by Local Enterprise Office: Cork North and West          

Description: Design and manufacture of tooth-fairy homes for children, with dental hygiene message      

School: St. Mary’s Secondary School, Charleville, North Cork       

Students: Mary O’Leary, Eva Fitzgibbon and Ciara Litchfield    

Teacher: Ann Doherty and Ger O’Donovan

About the Local Enterprise Offices:

As part of the ‘first stop shop’ business support model, the Local Enterprise Offices deliver services and support to the micro and small business sectors with the guidance of the Centre of Excellence at Enterprise Ireland under the policy direction of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.