News & Events

Winners announced at 15th Annual Student Enterprise National Final

15 years of student enterprise programme are celebrated by Local Enterprise Offices in Croke Park

Teenage entrepreneurs from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Wicklow and Louth have today won the top awards at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) for secondary schools. 

‘ROC Protection’ from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (Senior Category), ‘Scott Engine Tables’ from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Wicklow (Intermediate Category) and ‘Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties’ from Our Lady’s Secondary School in Louth (Junior Category) were presented with their awards on stage in Croke Park by the Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D. 

‘ROC Protection’ have invented a protective base layer for hurlers, ‘Scott Engine Tables’ make furniture from recycled car, truck and tank engines and ‘Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties’ made bowties and bandanas for dogs. 

The LEO-run Student Enterprise Programme started in 2003 and more than 150,000 secondary school students have taken part over the last fifteen years, researching and setting up their own businesses. 

This year’s Student Enterprise Programme attracted 22,000 student participants from 620 secondary schools around the country. The year-long programme helps each student to gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business. 

Congratulating this year’s winners and their schools, Minister Breen said: “Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, which is why this Student Enterprise Programme and Awards is so important. Getting students learning about enterprise and providing the opportunity for them to learn by doing, at an early age, lays the foundations for successful entrepreneurship in the future. 

I want to pay tribute in particular to the Local Enterprise Offices and to the teachers and management of the participating schools right around the country who have delivered a very successful Programme and Awards for the 15th year running. I am greatly impressed and encouraged by the talent on show at the Student Enterprise Awards today, and want to commend all of the students who have taken part in the Programme this year. I would encourage you to keep in touch with your Local Enterprise Office, who are on hand to help you grow your businesses. Heartiest congratulations to all the winners and I’ve no doubt that we are looking at some of Ireland’s leading business leaders of the future!” 

A total of 200 teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 13 and 18 and from 77 different enterprises, competed at today’s National Final, with every county represented. 

Stephen Walshe, Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities said: “2017 is an extra special year for Local Enterprise Offices, schools, teachers and students, as we celebrate fifteen successful years of the student enterprise programme in Ireland. As we look to the future, the curriculum in schools is changing with more of an emphasis on enterprise in the classroom. The Student Enterprise Programme is a natural fit for teachers with new resources and supports available to schools throughout the country.” 

In the Senior Category, for students from Transition Year to Leaving Certificate, the runner-up prize went to ‘J&S Kitchen Aid’ from Mercy Secondary School in Longford and third place went to ‘Sláinte na n-Óg’ from Colaiste an Spioraid Naoimh in Cork City. 

Meanwhile in the Intermediate Category, which is for Second Year and Third Year students, ‘Pocketknow’’ from Coláiste Iosaef in Limerick took the runner-up prize and third place went to ‘’ from Killorglin Community College in Kerry. 

For First Year students in the Junior Category, the runner-up award went to ‘Simply Safer Scents’ from Ramsgrange Community School in Wexford with ‘Bin Belt’ from Moyne Community School in Longford taking third place. 

Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, LEO Louth delivered the opening address at today’s ceremony on behalf of the network of Local Enterprise Offices. Some of the past Student Enterprise Award winners, including Luke Byrne of ‘Headphone Helpers’, Ciara Whooley of ‘Irish Baubles’ and Matthew Hewston of ‘Squeazy’ spoke about how the programme boosted their business skills. 

Awards were presented today for intellectual property awareness by the Irish Patents Office and for social media by Essential French. Twenty students in the Senior category also win a place at the residential ‘Winners’ Business Bootcamp’ in U.C.C. at the end of May, to help them further develop their business skills. 

Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September, are available through


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Additional information for winnersSenior Category – Overall Winner ROC Protection: Hurling protection base layer from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.Student names: Carl Cullen (age 17), Ross Byrne (age 17) and Cormac Spain (age 17)Teacher name: Enda SheehyLocal Enterprise Office: Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Additional information: The hurling base layer is designed for hurlers to reduce the impact of both sliotars and hurls striking the upper body (as a sliotar travels at an average speed of 100 kilometres per hour).The jersey is made out of light, durable materials and the protective padding is made of compressed foam designed to absorb the impact of a hurl or sliotar. The padding is strategically located around the shoulders, collarbone, centre chest, ribs and abdomen. The jerseys cost EUR55 each and are on sale on-line and through specialist sports shops. To date, 70% of sales are through their website.

Intermediate Category – Overall WinnerScott Engine Tables: Conversion of old car engines into attractive coffee tables from Colaiste Chill Mhantain in WicklowStudent name: Cillian Scott (age 15)Teacher name: Margaret Mc CrossanLocal Enterprise Office: WicklowAdditional information: Cillian is a sole trader and makes coffee tables and lamps by stripping and cleaning recycled engine parts from cars, trucks and even tanks. His customers are based around Ireland and he has started shipping orders to customers in the US.Junior Category – Overall WinnerDaisy’s Pawesome Bowties: Bowties and bandanas for dogs from Our Lady’s Secondary School in LouthStudent name: Blathnaid MurphyTeacher name: Ciara OlohanLocal Enterprise Office: LouthAdditional information: Blathnaid is a sole trader and started off making bandanas and bowties from dresses and shirts for her own dog, Daisy. Thanks to positive feedback on social media, she began to make them for other dog owners and she took sewing lessons to help her with her work. Her product range is available to buy online through her shop on Etsy.