Last week I had the pleasure of judging the Foroige National finals. OMG! to use the language of the people we were judging. The quality, attitude, talent, ambition and chutzpah was amazing. The quality of their pitches was better then I have seen from some professional entrepreneurs. Their business plans were superb. And most important, their attitude to sales is something a lot of the start ups I work with can learn from. A lot. No fear, can do, picking up the phone, making sales, negotiation with retailers and securing distribution. Local, national and international. Alex, Craig, Aisling, Erica, Mary, Aimee, Rebecca, Linda, Clare, Tom and Dane were all amazing. These young entrepreneurs will go places. They will go far. And it shows the value of running entrepreneurship programmes in secondary schools.
If you want to support any of these amazing entrepreneurs, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will facilitate the introduction
Alex and Craig
Alex Conroy and Craig Lynch, both students at Chanel College in Coolock, set up their festive log candle holder business in October 2014 as part of the NFTE programme. From their market research the students found that competitors were charging a premium price for similiar products. They decided that they would produce designed wooden holders that are affordable. Their mission is: “bring the festive feeling home at special times of the year”. The students have decided to give 20% of the profits to charity.
Aisling Farrell , from Coláiste Pobal Setanta in Clonee, offers personalised grips for hurls as her business product. The inspiration for her product came while shopping for a hurling grip. She noticed that none of the grips available were unique or colourful. Unique Hold offers customised hurling grips to match club or county colours. She also sells grips that are designed to the customer’s needs. Aisling aspires to eventually sell Unique Hold grips to local GAA clubs and hopes to donate 20% of her profits to the Irish Lung Foundation.
Erica Masterson completed her her NFTE programme with Foróige in Phibblestown, Blanchardstown. Her product is an organising shelf for school lockers. Suitable for most locker types, the shelf allows you to seperate bigger books from smaller copy books. Each shelf is designed with a range of well known emojis that adds an element of fun to the school day. The idea from this product came from her own personal experience when trying to organise her school locker. Through market research, She found that there was a gap in the market for a product like this.
Mary, Aimee, Rebecca
Mary Kate Carr, Aimée Byrne, Rebecca McShane and Ronan O’Hare students from Coláiste na Carraige’s NFTE programme which is supported by Foróige. Their business “Milseog na Mara” offers healthy and tasty alternatives to jellies, cold remedies and chocolate mousse using carrageen moss as the main ingredient. They got their inspiration for these products when Mary Kate fell ill and was given a cold remedy using carrageen moss. Through market research, the students found that there was a huge gap in the market for a product like this which is afforadable at €3 per jar. “Milseog na Mara” currently trades at local country markets.
Linda and Clare
Linda Dolan and Clare Dolan, are Transition Year students at St Clare’s Comprehensive School. Their business “MURE” was born when the students were working on their local farm. While discussing the large amounts of cow manure their family farm produced, the students decided to turn the cow manure into euros by making fuel from the free natural resource. “MURE” produces a fire log consisting of seven briquettes made from cow manure. They currently sell their product at €4 each or €10 for 3 briquettes. The students hope to roll out their product nationwide.
Tom and Dane
Tom Williams and Dane Fogarty are Leaving Cert Applied students from St Joseph’s School in Clonmel. The inspiration for their business Tom and Dane’s Kitchen came from their enjoyment of catering and woodwork classes. Their business produces a range of homemade savoury jams and chutneys including red onion jam, apple and orange chutney. The jams and chutneys are available in a range of sizes. Tom and Dane launched their business at the RDS Arts and Crafts Christmas Fair 2014. Tom and Dane plan to expand their product range further to increase their customer base.