7 December 2015
By Bryan Smyth
When: Tuesday December 8, 10am – 2pm
Dynamic business ideas and budding entrepreneurial acumen will be on show in Merchant’s Quay on Tuesday, December 8, when Cork city students showcase their mini-companies as part of a specially organised Christmas Trade Fair.
Initiated by the Local Enterprise Office, Cork City, the Christmas Trade Fair is the first competitive event in their annual Schools Enterprise Programme calendar. The event will run at the popular city centre shopping mall, where approximately 12 mini-companies drawn from schools around Cork city will be given an opportunity to showcase and put on sale to the public some of the innovative new products and services they have developed.
The process began in September and was open to students from all city second level schools. 16 transition year teams and over 200 students are taking part in this year’s Schools Enterprise Programme and the top three mini-companies will be chosen to proceed to the next phase of the competition; a Regional Final taking place in Spring 2016.
Speaking ahead of the Christmas Trade Fair, Yvonne O’Neill, Co-ordinator Cork Schools Enterprise Programme, said:
“Our programme involves the students coming up with an idea for a business and running their mini company just like a normal business over the course of the academic year. Students get to do everything an entrepreneur does from marketing to production, sales and finances. The programme aims aims to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation at secondary level.”
Judging the Christmas Trade Fair will be local entrepreneur in the florist industry and management consultant, Fiona Donnelley and John Russell, accountant from Russell & Co. If any of the Cork city schools are successful in the Regional Final, they will have a chance to compete in the National Final, held in Croke Park in April 2016.
The students’ mini-companies will be awarded category prizes for best display stand, best innovation, best sales techniques, best interview and best team spirit. “The top three companies will benefit from some intensive mentoring during the next phase,” concludes Yvonne, “which should help them develop their product or service and hopefully take them to the National Final.”