Programme aimed at encouraging students to propose a business idea and discover how viable their idea is, and see their ideas grow into an operational business
Student Enterprise Awards Programme run by Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Tipperary
The Student Enterprise Programme was introduced with the aim of encouraging second-level students aged 12 to 18 years to come forward with a business idea and in a safe, supported environment discover how viable their idea is, and hopefully to see their idea grow to an actual operational business on a very small scale. In doing so, the hope is that further down the line, these students will consider opening their own business, instead of settling for a 9 to 5 job, as has become the norm.
With the support of teachers and a designated County Student Enterprise Coordinator who is on had to offer support for the duration of the programme, the students are free to engage in this experience. Overall, the results of its success are showing up in that many of the students continue their small, yet very manageable during school years, business, which for several has:
• Paid college fees,
• Bought a first car,
• Encouraged them to change college choices for something more business orientated,
• Several have gone on to grow and expand the business and are currently in business.
Some have returned as a young adult after college to meet with Business Advisors in LEO Tipperary to discuss new business ideas.
The programme is funded by LEO Tipperary. Likewise each county in Ireland has their own LEO who support Student Enterprise with a similar programme
Coordinator, who engages with teachers/students in 29 schools in Co. Tipperary; €35,000 approx to fund programme at County level; Volunteer Judges for both school finals & County Final who have excellent understanding of what it takes to run a business; Suitable venue to host County Final
Evidence of success
Some students who have engaged in this at school level have continued their business. Others have chosen to study business at college level and some have returned to the LEO as a young adult to set up a full-scale business and in need of guidance
Keeping all schools involved; Timescale can be too short; Social media not always suitable for the younger students; Can be too results focused as only the national final winner is recognised, as opposed to acknowledging a very basic business idea which, though simple, is carried out very well
Potential for learning or transfer
There is considerable potential for transfer of learning.
Personally I believe if we can show young people from a young age in a supported yet fun environment, how ‘owning and running’ your own business can be a viable, enjoyable, lucrative, experience, we may be able to teach from a much younger age to:
• Think outside the box when it comes to their business idea
• Be familiar with the plus and minus of running their own business
• Encourage them to seek supports and training which would increase their knowledge and grow their business
• Help set the ‘seeds’ of entrepreneurship so it becomes more considered as an option after school
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