Blarney students think outside the box for national contest

Blarney students think outside the box for national contest

Vanessa Byrne (front) and Niamh O'Leary (back) with the Lord Mayor Councillor Joe Kavanagh and the Lady Mayoress, Stephanie.  The Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál students won the Cork City Final Student Enterprise Programme with their Bosca Cóisir inspired by the concept of sustainability.

STUDENTS from a Blarney school are going national with their innovative mini-company idea promoting sustainability.

Students Vanessa Byrne and Niamh O’Leary from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál won the Cork City Final Student Enterprise Programme with their Bosca Cóisir, inspired by the concept of sustainability. The explosion tower box, which can be personalised with photographs and personal messages, is made from 100 per cent recyclable materials and is also bio-degradable.

The students’ began their entrepreneurial journey back in September 2020 after being narrowed down from 29,000 students across 500 schools nationwide to enter the Student Enterprise Programme. They are now competing against 20 other Irish schools in the National Final set to be broadcast virtually from Croke Park this Friday at 2.30pm. The event will be hosted by RTÉ’s Rick O’Shea and attended by special guest, An Tánasite, Leo Varadkar.

Cork former Olympian and SEP Ambassador, Derval O’Rourke praised the students involved.

“This has been the most challenging year for students but to see the businesses they have created is inspiring," she said. "The finalists this year have raised the bar yet again, in a time when they have had more obstacles than ever before."

She also offered some sage advice for competitors.

“In my experience, competing and in business, you never give up," she said. "Be steadfast in what you want to achieve and go for it, despite what is put in your way. This year’s finalists have done that and deserve to be commended. Best of luck in the final and whatever happens, keep chasing your goals."

Paul McGuirk, Head of Local Enterprise Office Cork City also gave a nod to participants.

“There has been such a wonderful display of talent over the last nine months since the programme began in September 2020, we are very proud of our students who have taken part and successfully started and ran their business ventures."

The live broadcast will be available for the public to view via the Student Enterprise Programme’s Facebook page and YouTube platforms. The winning students will take home a €2000 technology voucher for the purchase of equipment, a €500 One4All voucher along with a trophy, while their school will also benefit from a €1000 prize.

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