News & Events

Waterford Local Enterprise Office LEAP into action in local schools

200 primary students from eight schools across Waterford city and county are taking part in the LEAP Project which is sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland.

LEAP has been designed to encourage ‘early-stage entrepreneurship’ to primary school students, helping them learn how to become entrepreneurs and to enable them to design a business plan focusing on innovation and enterprise. Building on the success of the pilot project and to extend the participation, four rural schools, Portlaw N.S., Killea B.N.S., Fenor N.S., Dunhill N.S. and four city schools, Scoil Lorcain B.N.S., St. Ursula’s Primary School, St. John of God N.S., and St. Declan’s B.N.S. opted to take part in LEAP 2017.

Local business people Peter Grogan from Emagine, Elaine Fennelly, Lisa McGowan and Pat O’Grady from Bluefin Technologies, Padraig O’Scanaill from Fundrecs, Gemma Kennedy from Q1 Scientific, Danielle Kennedy from Lloyds and Mary O’Brien from Bausch & Lomb delivered a series of activity based enterprise education workshops with the students in each school. This preparation done by the students on their ‘first business’ was the lead up to the LEAP Event which was held in Waterford Institute of Technology on 7th and 8th June where the four schools showcased their business ideas each day and presented them to additional local business people who will be considered as FROGS on the day (For Recognition of Greatness in Students).

Each student was awarded with a Certificate of Achievement to recognise their participation and one team in each school was given a special plaque to mark their outstanding contribution to the LEAP.

Minister John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, who opened the LEAP Event said: “Initiatives such as the LEAP Project are essential for fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in the Waterford area, which will help to ensure Ireland continues to be one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. We must support young people to acquire the skills and confidence they need so that they can face any challenge and shape their careers in the future world of work. I commend Junior Achievement and Waterford Local Enterprise Office for such a wonderful initiative.”

Jacqui Gaule from Waterford Leo said: “One of our core values at Waterford LEO is to encourage the spirit of enterprise in our local community. The creativity and innovation showed by the students was inspiring. To reach primary school students and sow the seed of self employment at this young age offers us the opportunity of a bright future for entrepreneurship in Waterford. We are delighted that Junior Achievement is our partner for this project.”

Mayor Adam Wyse said: “As Mayor of Waterford City and County I’m delighted to pay tribute to all these young people participating in the LEAP initiative. It is fitting that it is the Council’s Local Enterprise Office together with Junior Achievement Ireland and local business people are involved in this project. The programme offers an invaluable experience to students; they learn valuable skills, grow in self-confidence and have the opportunity to meet inspiring people from the business world. It is exciting to be involved with so many volunteers facilitating a variety of quality learning experiences for students all over Waterford county.

I love the connection between LEAP (Local Enterprise Achievement Project) and FROGS (For Recognition of Greatness in Students) and it is encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the students in participating - it all makes the future of our entrepreneurship and innovation look bright. I wish every success to everyone involved.

Helen Raftery, CEO for JAI, said: “We are delighted to partner with Waterford LEO and local businesses on the LEAP Project. It is a fantastic journey for students to develop their own business ideas with the support of entrepreneurs from the local community. These mentors have shared their own real life experiences with the students and inspired and motivated them to become future entrepreneurs in the making. The students’ visit to WIT was a wonderful opportunity for them to pitch their ideas to business professionals for the first time outside the classroom and see how products could enter the market and impact their local community.”


Notes to the editor

About Junior Achievement Ireland

Junior Achievement (JA) programmes facilitated by business volunteers encourage young people to remain in education and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. Working with schools and business partners, JA programmes promote work readiness, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and the value of studying STEM.

Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) utilises the experience of those already in the workforce to help children of all ages to fully understand the important role that education will play in shaping their futures. JA business volunteers are recruited, trained, vetted, equipped and supported to deliver hands-on learning experiences that empower students to make connections between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world.

JAI is part of a worldwide organisation reaching out to over 10 million young people each year. It was established in Ireland in 1996 and since then has built up a strong demand from schools throughout the country and created successful partnerships with over 160 leading organisations.

For further information and/or media requests, please contact:

Denise Power, Junior Achievement, 086 3893 439 or