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From turning engines into tables to keeping bees, how 22,000 Irish teenagers are planning to start their own businesses

Minister Pat Breen launches the country’s biggest student enterprise programme with the Local Enterprise Offices on visit to award-winning Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Wicklow Town

An estimated 22,000 secondary school students from 620 Irish schools are learning about the world of business by setting up their own enterprises through the Student Enterprise Programme with the Local Enterprise Offices.

The Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. is today visiting the school of an award-winning teenage entrepreneur in Wicklow, to officially launch the 2017/2018 Student Enterprise Programme.

The programme is the biggest enterprise education initiative of its kind in the country and later this morning, Minister Breen is visiting the school of Cillian Scott, a 16-year-old entrepreneur who is transforming car, truck and tank engines into tables and lamps for customers at home and abroad.

Scott is a fifth-year student at Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and the school participates in the programme in County Wicklow every year. Back in May, he won the Intermediate Category at the National Student Enterprise Awards in Croke Park for ‘Scott Engine Tables’.  As part of today’s visit, the Minister will also meet other enterprising students from the school who set up businesses such as bee-keeping, mattress recycling and social media networking.

Speaking ahead of his visit to the school, Minister Breen said: “Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, more than 150,000 students have benefitted and we want to keep nurturing Ireland’s future entrepreneurs and business leaders in the years to come. Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the Irish economy and initiatives such as the Student Enterprise Programme are key to fostering a more enterprising culture. I would encourage principals and teachers to get in touch with their Local Enterprise Office, to find out how they can get involved in the next Student Enterprise Programme.” 

Michael Nevin is the Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices which runs the Student Enterprise Programme. Welcoming the official launch of this year’s programme by Minister Breen he said: “From turning engines into tables to keeping bees, the Student Enterprise Programme enables thousands of students to explore the world of business, starting in the classroom. This is a very practical programme for second-level students, made possible thanks to the support of schools, principals and teachers in every county and local authority area.”

The Minister is being welcomed to the school this morning by the principal, Padraig Donoghue, business studies’ teacher, Bosco Guinan, the new Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Frank Curran, the Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, Sheelagh Daly along with Anna Kinnerk of Enterprise Ireland.

Padraig Donoghue, the Principal of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin, said: “The Student Enterprise Programme creates an opportunity for students to refine their entrepreneurial skills in an effort to design, market and sell a product. This programme places the skill of communication central in the success of a product and this is a skillset that will serve the students well in their future lives and endeavours. Being a successful entrepreneur requires optimism, vision, resilience and tenacity to bring a product to a successful conclusion; whether the product is new or the refinement of an existing product is open to each entrepreneur. When Cillian Scott from Scott Engine Tables won the national category title in May 2017, it was a huge boost for the Student Enterprise Programme in the school and demonstrated that being an entrepreneur does challenge us to look at things differently and see how they can be used for different functions."

At the 2016/2017 National Final of the Student Enterprise Programme in May this year, the Junior Category winner was Blathnaid Murphy of Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties from Our Lady’s Secondary School in Louth.

The Senior Category, which is open to Transition Year, Fifth Year and Leaving Cert classes, was won by Carl Cullen, Ross Byrne and Cormac Spain of ‘ROC Protection’ from Clonkeen College in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. Their invention was a protective base layer for hurling and camogie players.

Updates for teacher resource packs are available to secondary schools, free of charge, through the website.


For media queries, please contact Sarah Bohan at Engage Ireland

Tel: 01 427 8388 / Sarah Bohan 087 65 39936 / Email: office

Notes to the Editor

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established in 2014 to provide a ‘first-stop shop’ system of enterprise supports to start-ups and small businesses across the country. Located in the Local Authorities, the LEOs are operated on a partnership basis by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities and their parent Departments, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The LEOs provide funding for projects primarily in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which over time have the potential to develop into strong export entities. The LEOs also provide training and mentoring support to entrepreneurs and businesses to assist development and performance.