Cork Students Get Working on â

While many secondary school students are using the Christmas holidays as a well deserved break from their books, hundreds of budding innovators nationwide still have their minds firmly at work. Students across the country are using their free time as an opportunity to develop their ideas for the Green Dragon National Heat in February.

Agri Aware, with the support of Bord Bia, AIB Bank and FBD has called on second level students of all ages, from both rural and urban areas, to develop and implement original and ground breaking ideas for the Agriculture, Food, Environment and Health and Safety sectors.

Students are encouraged to develop their concept for a new product or service within these four sectors. The ultimate goal is to impress the Green Dragon panel and take the student’s idea to the marketplace. A total of 25 finalists will battle it out at the National Final in March 2012 for the highly coveted prize of a development fund of €7,000, in addition to a number of runners up prizes for students, teachers and their schools.

Students across Ireland will pitch their ideas to the Green Dragons in February, with the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winners, ‘Oceana Boost’ from Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork. These fifth year students are conducting further research into their seaweed health drink, which they hope to bring to the market in 2012, with the support of the Green Dragon Development prize fund.

With support from Teagasc, the Green Dragon category winners will this year showcase their idea at the Euroscience Open Forum as part of the Dublin City of Science in July 2012 at the National Convention Centre, Dublin. This event will be attended by over 6,000 scientists, business leaders and Government officials.

Speaking on the importance of the Green Dragon Innovation Challenge, Agri Aware Chairman Bernard Donohue commented, “Students are full of talent and potential. The Green Dragon provides them with an opportunity to realise this in a fun, innovative way while giving them valuable life experience and skills they can take with them and build on where ever they go in life. We’re really looking forward to hearing about all these ideas in the new year”.

Dragons’ Den presenter, Richard Curran, who launched this year’s Challenge commented, “An initiative such as this is hugely important for young people. It gives them a chance to exercise their creativity along with gaining real entrepreneurial experience while still at school”.

Teresa Brophy, Manager Ireland Market at Bord Bia commented, “The Green Dragon is a wonderful opportunity for students to get creative with an abundance of Ireland’s natural food resources. Through this Challenge, they will learn about the importance of the Bord Bia Quality Mark, which ensures that the food they are buying is produced to the highest standards and is traceable back to the farm it came from”.

Anne Finnegan, Agri Strategy at AIB Bank remarked, “The Green Dragon initiative is designed to encourage idea generation and innovation among students within these key growth sectors of our economy. It also provides students with a great opportunity to enhance their creativity and entrepreneurial skills. AIB is once again delighted to support this initiative”.

Conor Gouldson, Company Secretary at FBD, said, “The Challenge is an exciting competition for secondary school students to apply their minds to creativity and innovation in the Agri and Food sectors. An important element of this, which is always close to FBD’s thinking, is improving both on-farm and other workplace safety and we are greatly looking forward to seeing what novel ideas and fresh approach our young students can develop for this critical area”.

Lance O’Brien, Head of Foresight and Strategy Development with Teagasc remarked, “The City of Science component is a fantastic addition to this year’s Challenge giving the category winners an excellent opportunity to showcase their ideas to a European audience”.

Closing date for registration to the Challenge is January 20, 2012.

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