19 award-winning students, who beat off competition at the National Finals of the Student Enterprise Awards, have secured places at the first ever “Winners’ Bootcamp” in the Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick this summer.
The inaugural four day business bootcamp runs from 4th to 7th June and is sponsored by Ulster Bank. The group of teenagers will receive mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, as well as critical feedback from peers and experts. Sessions range from advice on delivering a business pitch that’s got the “Wow” factor to business development and team building activity.
Since last September, 15,000 budding entrepreneurs from over 300 secondary schools have been researching, setting up and running their own enterprises as part of the Student Enterprise Awards. 300 finalists across 83 different enterprises then competed at the National Finals in Croke Park last month and the award winners in the Senior Category have now won a place at the “Winners’ Bootcamp”.
Among the teams of students attending the bootcamp are overall Senior Category winners, “Squeazy”, from St. Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. “Squeazy” is a game in a bottle developed from the ‘Cartesian Diver’ science experiment and the young entrepreneurs have already sold over 1,000 units.
Other student enterprises taking part in June are: ‘Sweet Tooth’ (Presentation Wexford) who produce a tempting range of Irish handmade artisan chocolates; ‘Easy Farming’ (Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan), an innovative crush with weighing scales for cattle; ‘Social Gamers’ (CBS The Green Tralee), three teenagers who organise video gaming events; ‘F-21D’ (Desmond College, Newscastlewest, Co. Limerick) a screen wash containing anti-freeze and ‘Music By Numbers’ (Castleknock Community College, Fingal, Dublin) a new system for learning music scales in a visual way.
Loman O’Byrne is the Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the County and City Enterprise Boards. He said: “This programme will be great fun as well as being very valuable for these enterprising students. I have no doubt that it will shape their future business careers. The Winners’ Bootcamp adds an important dimension to Ireland’s biggest student enterprise programme and will help these young entrepreneurs commercialise their ideas and refine them for the market”.
Pauline McKiernan, Corporate Sustainability Manager with Ulster Bank, which is sponsoring the Business Bootcamp said: “Ulster Bank is delighted to partner with the City and County Enterprise Boards in this unique opportunity for successful young entrepreneurs. Supporting enterprise is important to us and these Bootcamps will not only provide students with the business skills to succeed in the world of business, but are important in shaping a new culture of entrepreneurship among the youth of Ireland.”
Andrea Deverell, the Manager at the Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick, said: “By using a studio-based, human-centred, hands-on approach to business development, our programmes are radically different from anything else being done in Ireland. At its core, this approach encourages businesses to be agile – able to pivot or change direction quickly. Our iterative approach involves students continuously engaging with a spiral of ‘learn-do-measure, we look forward to working with these talented young entrepreneurs”.
Experienced entrepreneurs will be on-hand throughout the week to provide students with advice, insights and top tips about doing business in the ‘real-world’. Those involved include entrepreneurs Albert Quigley of Gnarly Adventure and Aislinn O’Flynn of Sensomi, both residents at Nexus.