Three innovative Donegal students shortlisted as finalists in national competition

They will go on to represent the county in the national finals

Enterprising Donegal students in national finals

Enterprising Donegal students in national finals

Three Donegal schools have been shortlisted as finalists in the Student Enterprise Programme co-ordinated by Local Enterprise Office Donegal.

The Student Enterprise Programme is Ireland’s biggest student enterprise competition, with over 26,000 secondary students from 620 schools across Ireland taking part every year. Students set up and run their own student business and find out what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur, while getting practical, hands-on experience of the world of business.

This year’s County Final saw a record 92 entries from 13 different schools across the county.

The three top winners whose teams will be put forward to represent Donegal in the National Final are Making Millie of the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town (Junior Competition); Foot Fresh of Loreto Letterkenny (Intermediate Competition) and COR Environmental of Loreto Community School, Milford, (Senior Competition).

The winner of the Junior Competition was Making Millie from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, a company that manufactures individual hand-crafted pieces including Christmas decorations, friendship bracelets, decorated art and hand-painted acrylic watercolours on canvas. In second place was Tote-Ally Bags from Abbey Vocational School.

In the Intermediate Competition, Loreto Letterkenny was awarded first prize for Foot Fresh, a business that designs kits that eliminate odours from sports’ shoes. The Letterkenny school also took second place with a project called Furry Friend, which designs and manufactures bespoke matching accessories for dogs and their humans, while St. Columba’s, Stranolar came third with the business Scrunchie Kingdom, which sells handmade scrunchies.

Loreto Community School, Milford was crowned the winners of The Senior Competition for COR Environmental, a company selling a range of bespoke stainless steel straws, while second place went to St Columba’s, Stranorlar for its project, DBS Gloves who produced customised GAA gloves and third place went to the Royal and Prior, Raphoe for Family Framez, a personalised family tree in a frame.

The winner of My Entrepreneurial Journey for First Year was Frances Colman of Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana for her project A Splash of Paint. Runners up were Rachel Scott of St Catherine’s, Killybegs for Fashion Sport and Jenna Curran, also a student of St Catherine’s, who came third with her Beauty and Nails project.

The winner of My Entrepreneurial Journey for Second Year was Sophie Gallagher of Loreto Community School, Milford for her business, Picture Perfect Photography, while second place went to Aoibhe Sweeney of Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town for Greenfoods. In third place was Blaithnaid Gallagher of Loreto Community School Milford for her business Nalia, a mentoring App for female entrepreneurs.

Royal and Prior, Raphoe was the winner of the Most Innovative Business category with its Duck & Co business, which designed a wooden duck that you can place between the saucepan and its lid to let out steam.

The Green Business Award went to Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town for its Bee Fresh business, which sells reusable beeswax wraps, while the Social Media Award went to Carrick Vocational School for Tomhais Na Focail, an Irish language card game.

The plans were adjudicated by Aisling Arnold, of Arnold’s Hotel and Martin O’Reilly of O’Reilly Sports, Ballybofey. All winners will receive their prizes and certificates of participation once the schools re-open.

Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise Donegal said: “For the first time, we had over 1,200 students engage with the programme in Donegal, as they attended the ideas generation workshops delivered at schools throughout the county. Unfortunately, because of the restrictions put in place to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to have the County Final as planned this year, and indeed the National Final has also been cancelled.

"However, we were determined to ensure the effort made by students and teachers since September was acknowledged, so we adjudicated county winners solely on their business plans and ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ entries submitted.

“On behalf of the Local Enterprise Office, I would like to express our thanks to the many students who participated in the competition and to their teachers for all of their support and encouragement. I would also like to thank our adjudicators, Aisling Arnold and Martin O’Reilly, as well as our facilitator, Stephen Friel. Congratulations to all the finalists and best of luck to the three teams from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, Loreto Letterkenny and Loreto Community School, Milford who will now represent Donegal in the National Final.”

It is understood that a judging plan is currently being put in place nationally.

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