11 March 2021
By Mary Bermingham
A dynamic duo from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal Blarney proved they have strong entrepreneurial chops after winning Cork City Student Enterprise of the Year 2021. Their mini-company Bosca Cóisir was named overall winners of a hotly contested competition, spanning the city’s secondary schools. Inspired by the concept of sustainability, the explosion tower box, which can be personalised with photographs and personal messages, is not only made from 100 percent recyclable materials but is also bio-degradable.
The Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal students, Vanessa Byrne and Niamh O’Leary, pipped to the post companies from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown and Bishopstown Community School among others and on the day were awarded a cup and a winner’s prize of €300, while their school was also presented with a cup and €1500. Bosca Cóisir will now proceed to the National Student Enterprise Awards Final taking place on May 14th.
Initiated by the Local Enterprise Office, Cork City, the School’s Enterprise Programme began in September and was open to students from all city second-level schools. 25 students from six Cork schools participated in the City Final – Mount Mercy College, Colàiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Christ King Girls’ Secondary School, Bishopstown Community School and Scoil Muire gan Smal. Ideas ranged from a nutritional sports performance book titled ‘Eat Smart, Play Smarter’ to sustainable jewellery made from recyclable materials via bespoke music album covers in plexiglass displays.
In a new departure this year, the annual Cork City Final 2021 was hosted online, and featured not only some of the most innovative new business ideas from Cork secondary school students but via video link students described their journey in setting up their businesses. Head of Enterprise, Cork LEO, Paul McGuirk, said: “It’s great to see the innovation that comes through the City Schools Enterprise Programme. I really admire what you have done and the resilience you’ve shown. You’ve stuck with this and your teachers have stuck with this and that will stand to you in the coming years.”
In addition to the overall prize of €1,500, there were other categories up for grabs at the City Final including Best Commercial Potential also awarded to Bosca Cóisir and Scoil Muire Gan Smal, Blarney. Best Business Report was given to students from Christ the King school and their mini-company TY Electrify. The company Orchid from students of Christ the King school was recognised for Best Sales. Best Business Pitch went to Bishopstown Community School for Coinneal Candles.
The events of the past year were very much in focus and a new category created with Best Covid 19 Pandemic Contingency Plan going to the students of Bishopstown Community School and their company Lockett Jewellery. Acknowledging the important role social media plays in business Best Social Media Presence was awarded to Mount Mercy College and Eco Earrings. Finally, Best Innovation went to Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh Bishopstown and PlaqX.
Event compere, Stevie G, said: “I was really pleased to be asked to take part in the Student Enterprise Finals and it’s always great working with the team at VE studios too. I’ve seen the entries and was blown away by the quality of enterprise from our youngsters who managed to overcome an extra obstacle this year with the pandemic playing havoc with many plans. It will all stand to them as they go forth in future years, they are all very talented and creative.”