Budding entrepreneurs and young business owners took over the Longford Shopping Centre on Wednesday, March 9, as the county final of the Student Enterprise Awards took place.
Beautiful displays garnered plenty of interest throughout the morning, as locals perused the excellent selection of quality products and services on offer; ornamental dragon’s eggs, skincare products, decorative branches, a student accommodation website, board games and jewellery - to name but a few.
The judges really had their work cut out for them, with more than twenty mini-businesses fighting it out to represent their school and county at the national final.
There was great excitement when it was revealed that Moyne Community School’s ‘The Safety Squad’ had secured the top spot in the Senior category.
A comic/colouring book which highlights the importance of road safety, the educational product was created by Aaron Dobson, Sean McGovern, Oisin Ganley, Sara Thompson, Saran Lynch and Kate O’Haire.
“A lot of our group like drawing and they came up with the idea during a brainstorming session,” Aaron explained, adding that it was aimed at 6 - 10 year olds. “It’s been very rewarding - It’s had its challenges but we came through them together as a team.”
Now preparing to represent Moyne CS and Longford in the National Finals at the Croke Park Conference Centre on April 20, Aaron said the group were ‘ecstatic’ with their success.
“We’re all very pleased - we didn’t really expect it,” he grinned. “We’re very excited. I think we can do a good job!”
Runners up ‘Guitar Zero to Guitar Hero’ from Moyne CS were similarly pleased with the outcome of the day. Founded by Ciaran Gorman, Éanna Mimnagh, Clare Gorman, Róisín Smith and Niall Gray, the company offers a guitar tuition book, compiled by two self-taught musicians. Hoping to continue on with their mini-business, Clare stated that they were “absolutely delighted” with their award, before adding; “It was really interesting, learning all the different aspects of business that you’d never consider”.
Best Interview on the day went to Wooden Wonders from Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, run by Emer Tyrrell and Eitvile Lengvinaite.
“We made wooden-scented jewellery to promote positivity and calmness,” a thrilled Emer told the Leader. “We wanted to do something to do with mental health,” she added.
When asked if she enjoyed the process so far, she smiled; “I’ve loved it - I have learned so much!”
The Best Report was awarded to St Mel’s College business ‘Mr Write’, created by TY students Liam Elliott, Thomas Igoe, Titas Janavicius, Oran Malone and Andrew Gallagher.
“We made handmade wooden pens - we got the materials and made them ourselves,” Andrew pointed out. “It’s been a great opportunity to learn about business firsthand,” he said, adding that they hope to continue making and selling the pens.
Third prize in the Senior category went to ‘Crest It’ from Cnoc Mhuire, Granard, who supply gaelic football gloves featuring a customised club, county or school crest or player’s initials. Best Display was won by Ballymahon Vocational School’s ‘Brainse’, ornamental branches which caught the eye of every passer by in the shopping centre.
Most innovative in the Senior category went to Abair in Meán Scoil Mhuire, which researched a waste water retro-fit treatment system.
Finally, the Overall winner of the Intermediate category was Alphatech - a ticketing and event managing system run by Gabriel Drabik, Moyne CS, which is in use by the Attic House in Longford.
Gabriel will join his schoolmates The Safety Squad in the National Final in April.