Moyne Community School teacher Padraig Doherty, Cllr Michael Carrigy, Cllr Paraic Brady and Michael Nevin with senior winners Shane Dobson, Shane Hagan, Daniel Doherty, Shane Grimes & Luke Hurson
There was a huge buzz around the Sin Bin last Wednesday afternoon as students from Longford schools gathered together to show off their innovative business ideas and mingle with other future business men and women.
They were gathered for the prestigious Student Enterprise Programme Awards, which saw ten budding teenage entrepreneurs collect awards and accept the opportunity to represent Co. Longford at the National Finals in Croke Park.
One of the most impressive business ideas - and the overall winner of the senior cetegory - was a piece of equipment invented by five Transition Year students from Moyne Community School.
Shane Dobson, Daniel Doherty, Shane Grimes, Shane Hagan and Luke Hurson designed a wire tensioner called 'Reel Easy', which can be used to keep tension on electric fence wire or tape when transferring it from spool to reel, turning a two-man job into something you can do on your own.
There are also some great young entrepreneurs in Granard, with five young students ready to go to the Junior finals with their design, 'Clip Bin'.
Ellie May Fitzsimmons, Gerard Sheridan Ryan, Holly Smith, Roisin Cadden and Kayla Brennan from Ardscoil Phadraig, created Clip Bin to fit on top of a cupboard door. The design is used to collect crumbs, etc, from the counter tops, ensuring less mess on the floor when cleaning up - something every household could use!
The ten young entrepreneurs will now go forward to represent their Local Enterprise Office and their county at the Student Enterprise Programme showpiece on May 2.
Every September, entrepreneurial secondary school students across the country begin their business journey as they are encouraged to brainstorm, create and run their own businesses.
In September 2017 over 23,000 students from 480 schools nationwide began their entrepreneurial journey with the help of their teachers and their Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
An estimated 350 students from seven schools around the county took part in the County Longford Final on March 14 last.
Special guests at the County Final included Cllr Micheál Carrigy and Cllr Paraic Brady.
Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices in every Local Authority area, the competition is the most successful student enterprise programme of its kind in the country.
Longford has a very strong record in the Student Enterprise competition with both Moyne Community School and Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon bringing home national awards last year.
The success of the Student Enterprise Programme is down to the entrepreneurial spirit of the students involved and Michael Nevin, Head of Enterprise Longford was quick to praise this year’s entrants.
“Every year we are blown away by the ideas and the business savvy that these students have acquired at such a young age,” he said.
“They really are a credit to their teachers and school staff who have helped to nurture this talent.
“The Student Enterprise Programme is growing appeal every year and we hope to see many of these excellent young students coming through the door of their local LEO in the years to come.
“We wish today's winners all the very best as they go on to represent their county at the National Finals in Croke Park in May.”
The local students will be competing with hundreds of other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland in Croke Park at the 16th Annual Student Enterprise Awards National Finals on May 2.
The Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003 and with over 150,000 students getting involved since its inception.
Further information about the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.
The Local Enterprise Offices are co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.
See pages 28 to 31 for more photos.