Getting secondary students ready for the business world

Ireland’s largest business and enterprise programme for second level students was launched yesterday by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

The Student Enterprise Programme, Ireland’s largest business and enterprise programme for second level students, was officially launched yesterday by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection in Portmarnock Community School in Dublin.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 24,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2018/2019.

The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals in Croke Park on May 1st, 2020.

“The students of today are increasingly aware of the role they can play in changing the status quo”

Minister Breen was joined at the launch by Irish rugby player, Josh Van Der Flier, who will be the ambassador for the Student Enterprise Programme this year. Van Der Flier was a participant in the Student Enterprise Programme when he studied at Wesley College.

This year’s Programme will see two new pilot competitions across the junior, intermediate and senior categories. The first, the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ pilot will be run in the junior and intermediate cycle and is open to any students involved in wider competition. It requires them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and what is required.

In the senior category, there is a new ‘Most Creative Business Idea’ section. Under the theme Go Green: Be Sustainable students can push their most innovative ideas, without having to produce a product or service and it is open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.

“These students are the entrepreneurs of the future, they will be our job creators, they are the ones we want to support and help on their entrepreneurship journey”

Speaking to some of the students involved in this year’s programme at the event, Minister Breen emphasised the importance of them engaging with enterprise and using it to innovate and create solutions for today’s world.

“The students of today are increasingly aware of the role they can play in changing the status quo. Encouragement of entrepreneurial and innovative skills allows them to change things, to create new opportunities and to contribute to solving some of the many issues facing society today and in the future,” said Minister Breen.

“These students are the entrepreneurs of the future, they will be our job creators, they are the ones we want to support and help on their entrepreneurship journey. We want to foster those ideas because these students will provide the business success stories in the future. I wish all students the very best of luck in this year’s programme. I know they will find it a richly rewarding experience,” he added.

Van Der Flier said the experience he gained from the programme was invaluable and that students who take part will really benefit from the programme. “Having a good grasp of business will stand by you at any age and in any profession and that’s why the Student Enterprise Programme is such a great initiative.”

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 200,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 18 December, 2019