Local Enterprise Office encourages schools to enter Student Enterprise Programme

student enterprise office

More than 300,000 students have taken part in the Student Enterprise Programme since it was established in 2001

By Danielle Lynch

Niamh O’Mahoney of Desmond College, Newcastle West, owner of last year’s Student Enterprise Awards finalist business “SmartArntU” speaking to Tanaiste Leo Varadkar at the grand final.

Secondary schools across Limerick are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Student Enterprise Programme, which aims to provide students with the skills they need to become entrepreneurs.

The Local Enterprise Office initiative is the country’s largest enterprise programme for second-level students. Throughout the programme’s 21-year presence, more than 300,000 students have taken part.

Each year, around 25,000 students take part from from almost 500 schools around the country, competing in the junior, intermediate and senior categories. Students learn how to establish and run their own businesses, picking up key skills as they go, including ideation, marketing, finance and sales.

Ambassadors for the programme include Limerick All-Ireland-winning hurler Sean Finn, runner Derval O’Rourke and Irish rugby star Josh Van Der Flier.

The programme is run by Local Enterprise Offices across Ireland, supported by Enterprise Ireland and other local authorities. There are local coordinators in every area to support teachers and students throughout the entirety of this programme, and students from first year through sixth year may take part. 

Limerick has had great Student Enterprise Programme success over the years, with two of last year’s five finalists coming from Desmond College in Newcastle West. Niamh O’Mahoney’s business ‘SmartArntU’ made the cut in the senior category, while Ava Ahern, Laura Brennan, and Kayla McAuliffe excelled in the intermediate category with their start-up ‘Mela No More’.

Mike O’Byrne of Local Enterprise Office Limerick said, “We believe the Student Enterprise Programme is a tremendous way to get young people thinking about starting their own business later in life. The stronger the pipeline of new entrepreneurs coming through, the better for our economy down the line.”

He continued, “Students learn key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The skills they learn will stand to them in whatever career they move into after school and college.”

The Student Enterprise Programme also has a new range of online resources for students and teachers in 2022/2023, and will feature regular insightful blog posts.

Find out more about the Student Enterprise Programme.

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