Handy Hose is the farmer’s delight thanks to student entrepreneurs

A magnetic hose invented by two student entrepreneurs Jack O’Mara and Daniel Ruddy from CBS Thurles has won the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals.

The Handy Hose is a magnetic hose holder that attaches easily to any metal surface within the milking parlour.

The device, developed on the farm of a Kilkenny All-Ireland winner, has taken top prize in the Senior category at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals, which is run by the Local Enterprise Offices.

“The programme has helped over 200,000 students create and run their own businesses since 2003 and that in itself is a reflection of the entrepreneurial genes in our young students”

Along with an endorsement from four-time All-Ireland winner and farmer Lester Ryan on whose farm the students developed the idea, the product has also received the backing of Farmer of the Year 2019, David Russell, who has several in his parlours. J&D Engineering manufactures the attachment and had sold over 200 of them before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they continue to sell online.

Record appetite for entrepreneurship

There was a record number of 85 student enterprises competing in Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students. The 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 close to 26,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

“It has been another outstanding year for the Student Enterprise Programme and that is reflected in the quality of finalists,” said Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Offices’ Enterprise Education Committee.

“The programme has helped over 200,000 students create and run their own businesses since 2003 and that in itself is a reflection of the entrepreneurial genes in our young students.

“Not only do today’s students want to create a good business, they want to create a business that improves society or helps the world around us and that has to be commended. So to our winners, finalists and our whole class of 2019/2020, well done and we can look forward great new businesses you will be starting in the future,” Nevin said.

The other categories saw wins for Dublin City and Monaghan.  In the intermediate category, the Aim-It Board, from students in Loreto College, St. Stephen’s Green, on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Dublin City was named the overall winner.  The board is based on a basketball hoop and backboard but is designed to highlight where a certain throw will land helping students with physical activity but also understanding angles and the physics of throwing a ball.

The winner in the Junior category was the Sofatop, created by students from Ballybay Community College on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Monaghan.  The Sofatop is s stylish flexible tray that can safely hold a cup of tea within reach on a couch.   

For the first time since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, the National Finals took place online.  Having originally been scheduled to take place in Croke Park on the 1st May, the Local Enterprise Office run awards, were announced virtually today, 27th May, via live stream on the Student Enterprise Programmes Facebook and YouTube channels.

The students and teachers from across the country logged online to the event hosted by RTE’s Rick O’Shea and he was joined during the ceremony by previous winners and Student Entrepreneur Programme Ambassador, Josh Van Der Flier.  The rugby star previously took part in the initiative when he was a student at Wesley College in Dublin.

In the Senior Category this year’s runners up were “What About Me” from Dunmore Community School in Galway in third place and “The Last Straw” from Tullow Community School in Carlow. 

In the Intermediate Category, third place went to “Bookworms” from St. Clare’s Comprehensive School in Manorhamilton, Leitrim and second place was “Sala Sios” from Castleisland Presentation School, Kerry.

In the Junior Category the runners up are “Castaways” from Castleisland Presentation School in Kerry who finished in third place and second place went to “Bee Wrappi” from Summerhill College in Sligo.

“The ability to devise a business, set it up and run it, is something that will stand by you forever,” said Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

“Ireland has a history of great entrepreneurs and no doubt many of you today will go on to achieve greatness in business and we will ensure we are there to support you every step of the way.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 28 May, 2020