On Wednesday last, May 27th, at 3pm, for the first time since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, the National Finals took place online, delivered by YouTube Live Streaming Podcast.
Student Enterprise Programme
Sligo Student Entrepreneurs take second place in 2020 National Final
Originally scheduled for Croke Park Conference Centre on the 1st May, the winners of the Local Enterprise Office run awards were announced virtually on the Student Enterprise Programmes Facebook and YouTube channels.
In the Junior Category, second place went to “Bee Wrappi” from Summerhill College in Sligo, a first year team under the tutelage of Business Teacher Ms. Dervilla Casey, and supported in their endeavours by School Principal Paul Keogh. BEE-Wrappi, founded in early 2020, are a student enterprise company selling premium quality wraps which are a reusable, washable, and sustainable alternative to single use plastic and cling film.
Four Students, Thibaud Gerard, Ben O’Loughlin, Patrick Donlon and Mark Waldron are the founders of the BEE Wrappi business, with an extensive passion for saving the planet and reducing our plastic usage. They came up with their business idea, researched and prototyped their product, and with favourable trials under their belt, went into full production and sales at the beginning of the year.
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.
Local Enterprise Office Sligo delivers the Student Enterprise Programme (SEP) across the county every year, and supplies a business mentor and co-ordinator to each participating school throughout the school year.
John Reilly, Head of Enterprise, Sligo County Council, had this to say after the announcement: “Congratulations to BEE Wrappi and to Ms. Dervilla Casey on their National Award in the SEP. To win second prize in the country in a competition with over 20,000 participants is a wonderful achievement. We are delighted to have Sligo represented on the national stage by these talented young entrepreneurs. I’d also like to thank our SEP Co-ordinator, Mr. Brian Dolan for all his efforts to ensure the Programme was completed in County Sligo, despite all the challenges posed by Covid19”.
The BEE Wrappi Team Members, Thibaud Gerard, Ben O’Loughlin, Patrick Donlon and Mark Waldron were asked some questions about their business, and were not found short of answers:
“We are 1st years students from Summerhill College in Sligo Town, and our Enterprise Teacher is Ms Dervilla casey.
Bee Wrappi started with a question facing many families. How could we eliminate plastics in our lives in favour of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food? Also, we noticed that after break and lunchtime in our school the GP area was littered with tinfoil and cling film left over from student’s lunchboxes. From fleeting glimpses into the staffroom we knew it was the same dreadful situation in there too. We knew we had to solve this problem right away!
Our BEE-Wrappi wraps are homemade with our own fair hands and love and are organically produced in Sligo. We use a unique recipe and crafting method to create longer-lasting, self-adhesive wraps that are a bee-utiful alternative to single-use plastics. Our beeswax wraps are made with cotton, organic beeswax, pine resin, jojoba oil and lots of love for the planet!
Our wraps last up to 1 year and can be used to cover almost anything that cling film covers.
Our vision for BEE-Wrappi is to create buzz in the food wrap industry and beyond. To pollinate minds, empower value-driven leaders, and change our bee-utiful world together.
Our mission is to grow and inspire mindful sustainable actions. We aim to reduce our cultures dependency on single use plastics, by creating exciting, effective reusable and biodegradable food and life wrapping solutions.”
The SEP 2020 National Winner:
A magnetic hose holder aimed specifically at parlour hoses for dairy farmers, developed on the farm of a Kilkenny All-Ireland winner, took top prize in the senior category at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals, run by the Local Enterprise Offices.
The Handy Hose by student entrepreneurs Jack O’Mara and Daniel Ruddy from CBS Thurles, on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, fits to the hose to enable it to attach easily to the any metal surface within the milking parlour.
Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, congratulated the students today; “This is a challenging time for students all across the country but today is a day that they get to celebrate all the hard work they have put into their businesses since last September. To the winners today my congratulations, but to all the finalists, you have achieved something truly exceptional. The ability to devise a business, set it up and run it, is something that will stand by you forever. 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.”
Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Office’s Enterprise Education Committee, said; “It has been another outstanding year for the Student Enterprise Programme and that is reflected in the quality of finalists. 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.”
The National Final students, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions. Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product. The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies.
This year’s Programme also saw two new pilot competitions across the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. The first, the “My Entrepreneurial Journey” pilot was run in the Junior and Intermediate cycle and open to any students involved in wider competition. It required them to map out the life of a successful entrepreneur and how that could be achieved.
In the Senior category there was a new “Go Green: Be Sustainable Creative Business Competition”. In this new pilot competition students could push their most innovative business ideas via a video pitch, without having to produce a product or service and was open to all senior students taking part in the wider competition.
Full details of all this year’s 85 national finalists are available on the Student Enterprise Programme website at www.StudentEnterprise.ie