National Success for Mercy College Entrepreneurs in Croke Park

National Success for Mercy College Entrepreneurs in Croke Park Oisin Geoghegan, Chairperson, Network of Local Enterprise Offices; Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D.; Enya Hughes; Annie Buick; and Michael Nevin, Chairperson, Local Enterprise Offices Enterprise Education Committee

Ireland’s largest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs took place in Croke Park at Student Enterprise National Final last week (May 3rd), co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices.

Annie Buick and Enya Hughes, second-year students from Mercy College in Sligo won an award at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) for secondary schools.

The students secured 3rd place overall in the Intermediate Category and were presented with their awards on stage by the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D., Oisin Geoghegan of the Local Enterprise Offices and Michael Nevin, Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee for the LEOs.

Their enterprise, aptly named ‘Imagination Book Company’, was formed under the guidance of their teachers, Anne Gorby, Sarah Dufficy and Mary Rose Maguire.  The girls, both diagnosed with severe dyslexia at an early age, came together to write a children’s storybook, following the journey of a young boy’s account of growing up with dyslexia.  Using their personal experiences as the foundation for their story, Enya and Annie have created a fun, relatable book aimed at primary school children, to raise awareness and bring clarity to a learning difficulty experienced by an estimated 1 in 10 people.

Having won the Regional Student Enterprise Award in March, the entrepreneurs attended the National Finals where they clinched the bronze trophy.  A fantastic achievement and a testimony to their resilience and perseverance, defying the assumption that having dyslexia inhibits the ability to achieve one’s potential.

The Programme, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the LEOs, had a total of 222 teenage entrepreneurs, aged between 13 and 18, from 78 different enterprises, competing at the National Final, with every local authority area represented. 

This year’s Student Enterprise Programme attracted over 26,000 student participants from 480 secondary schools around the country.  Starting every September, the enterprise education initiative helps students gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business.

Congratulating this year’s winners and their schools, Minister Breen said;

“These student entrepreneurs are the future of Irish business and job creation across the country.  The skills attained by these young students during the Student Enterprise Programme will be invaluable to these young entrepreneurs and provide them with a fantastic foundation for a future in business.  Many congratulations to all the students here today.  By making it to Croke Park you have shown you can create and run a business.  And congratulations also to their teachers who play such a significant role in sparking and encouraging their entrepreneurial imagination.  If these students decide that being an entrepreneur is the path they want to take in their future, I can assure them their Local Enterprise Office will be there to support them every step of the way.”

John Reilly, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Sligo said:

“Congratulations to the students of Mercy College on winning this prestigious national award in Croke Park this week, which recognises all their hard work.  We have seen over 200,000 students learn how to successfully run a business in the 17 years of the Student Enterprise Programme, thanks to a long-term partnership between local schools and Local Enterprise Offices.  Judging by this year’s finalists and winners, the future is bright for entrepreneurs here in Sligo.”

Further details about the next Student Enterprise Programme, which begins in September through the Local Enterprise Offices, are available through www.studententerprise.ie