News & Events

Teenage entrepreneurs meet Minister Breen ahead of Student Enterprise National Final on May 3rd

15 years of student enterprise to be celebrated by Local Enterprise Offices in Croke Park on May 3rd


The Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D., is today meeting a number of Ireland’s most enterprising teenagers ahead of the National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme next week, which is organised and run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across the country.

Now in its 15th year, an estimated 22, 000 pupils from 620 secondary schools participated this year. The aim of the programme is to develop links between the education system and the real economy, so that school leavers gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a business, enabling more of them to consider self-employment as a future career option.

Having progressed through their local school finals and individual county finals, 200 students aged between 13 and 18 have secured their place at the National Final on May 3rd.

Today, Minister Breen is meeting with seven of these budding entrepreneurs to see a remarkable showcase of innovation, such as protective base layers for hurlers, liquid fertiliser made with seaweed, timetable pens for schools, furniture made with recycled engine parts and a spray to improve the grip on sports equipment.

Speaking at the event, Minister Breen said “Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, and embedding this culture at an early age is crucial. This programme is the gateway to ensure that entrepreneurship becomes a natural option for our young people as they discover and develop their talent and business acumen. As Minister for Small Business, I want to nurture Ireland’s future entrepreneurial potential, and it is great to see teachers, young student entrepreneurs and the LEOs coming together to ensure that this starts in the classroom.”

Stephen Walshe, Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities, said: “We are celebrating fifteen years of the Student Enterprise Programme this year and it has already helped over 150,000 students since it started in 2003.The programme begins every September with free resources for teachers and students. With an increased emphasis in the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom, we are expecting even more schools and students to take part in the Student Enterprise Programme in the years to come.”

The Local Enterprise Offices have a total prize fund of €9,000 on offer on May 3rd with judging taking place across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories that morning.

At last year’s National Finals, then 16-year-old Luke Byrne from Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Wicklow took the overall Senior Category for ‘Headphone Helpers’, a wearable silicone band that keeps earphones tangle free. The Intermediate Category was won by Sean Óg Harrigan and Oisín McLaughlin from ‘Inish Woodworking’ of Scoil Mhuire Buncrana in Donegal. The Junior Category top prize went to Emily Finegan, Kate O’ Reilly, Ava Caddan and Mary Freeman of ‘AMOR’ from St. Oliver Post Primary School in Meath for their stirrup guide for horse-riding.

Further details on general LEO supports can be accessed through and on the Student Enterprise Programme through

The Local Enterprise Offices are co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.


For all media requests and for further details, please contact Engage Ireland: E-mail: office @ / Tel: 01 427 8388 and 087 65 39936 (Sarah Bohan)

Photography Note: Reproduction-free images will be available from this announcement from Photocall Ireland. Please expect these images from 15.00 on 27.04.17.

Media Registration and Facilities on May 3rd in Croke Park:

To register for a media pass for this year’s National Finals (and to access the Media Centre for the event in Croke Park), please visit

The Media Centre is in Room 679, Level 6 of the Hogan Suite in Croke Park.

Short profiles for student entrepreneurs meeting Minister Breen on 27.04.17

Green Grow (Sligo)Category: Intermediate Local Enterprise Office : Sligo Student Enterprise: Green Grow Name of students meeting Minister Breen: Oisin Hynes & Michael Kilcullen (both 15) Name & Address of School: Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo 

Green Grow makes and sells an organic liquid fertilizer from seaweed picked under licence on Enniscrone shore. Green Grow is used as a fertiliser on gardens, fairways in golf clubs, horticulture and on farms. It can be fed to plants via the roots or sprayed directly onto leaves.

ROC Protection (Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown)Category: Senior Local Enterprise Office: Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Student Enterprise: ROC Protection Name of students meeting Minister Breen: Carl Cullen & Ross Byrne (both 17) Name & Address of School: Clonkeen College, Clonkeen Road, Blackrock, Dublin

ROC Protection is a new sports brand and their first product is a protective hurling base layer. The boys undertook extensive market research and discovered that a sliotar travels at an average speed of 140km per hour. With padding for the collarbone, chest, abdominal and rib cage areas, the base layer is designed to reduce the impact of sliotars or hurls striking a hurler’s torso.

Pentables (Clare) Category: Senior Local Enterprise Office: Clare Student Enterprise: Pentables Name of student meeting Minister Breen: Ella MacNamara (age 16) Name & Address of School: Scariff Community College, Scariff Co. Clare

Pentables are pens with in-built school timetables. Each ‘pentable’ has a retractable banner, which features a handy two-sided school timetable. The timetable can be customized by both teachers and students with their own school timetable. To date, Pentables has generated sales from small businesses, schools and state agencies.

Scott Engine Tables (Wicklow)Category: Intermediate Local Enterprise Office : Wicklow Student Enterprise: Scott Engine Tables Name of student meeting Minister Breen: Cillian Scott (age 15) Name & Address of School: Coláiste Chill Mhaintáin, Burkeen, Wicklow

Cillian custom makes pieces of furniture, such as tables and lamps, using recycled engine parts from cars and trucks. One of his tables was made using recycled parts from a army tank. His latest product is a lamp stand, made with recycled car parts.

GripOn (Dublin City) Category: Intermediate Local Enterprise Office : Dublin City Student Enterprise: GripOn Name of student meeting Minister Breen: Katrina Khodzinska (age 14) Name & Address of School: Loreto College, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

GripOn is a portable spray for sports equipment that prevents them from getting slippery in the rain. GripOn can be used for a multitude of sports, such as golf, hockey, tennis, cricket, hurling, weightlifting and cycling.