Congratulations to Finn Valley College, Stranorlar who are this year’s winners of Donegal ETB’s 2017 Enterprise Day for schools and Youthreach centres. The event took place in Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) on Wednesday 18 October. Second place went to Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada, Arranmore Island, while Loreto Secondary School, Letterkenny came third.
Two hundred and fifty young people from twenty-one schools and Youthreach centres from across the county participated in the event which involved each team developing a product on which they were judged in a Dragon’s Den-type set up. Teams were given a business mentor and an LYIT business studies student to guide them throughout the day. Entrepreneur Stephen Maguire from Donegal Daily spoke to participants in the morning on entrepreneurship success and failure. Another entrepreneur, Katie McGloin, the founder of the award winning KT Clothing company and a student at Donegal ETB school Magh Éne College, Bundoran, spoke to participants on how to pitch a business idea. Katie won the Foróige Young Entrepreneur of the year and U Magazine’s Start Up of the Year at their 30 Under 30 awards earlier this year. After teams pitched their ideas to the judges, the final three teams then pitched to all participants. The judges found it very difficult to pick an outright winner due to the high standard of work presented to them.
Finn Valley’s product was called “Watch-It”, a unisex watch that could be used as a fashion accessory with the addition of a ‘panic’ button. When held down for three seconds the watch would send a text message to the wearer’s ICE contacts to alert them that they were in an unsafe situation. The idea is that all those who may go out alone, or indeed get separated from friends, would feel safer. The product would not just be targeted at people who go out socially but those who may go out exercising alone or elderly people who may be in a situation where they need assistance. The product would be retailed at €15, making it affordable to all demographics.
Speaking about the Enterprise Day, Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh commented, “We’re really pleased in Donegal ETB to be hosting this wonderful event. It’s our fourth year and I’m so delighted that so many schools and Youthreach centres have joined us today. It’s wonderful that students are getting the chance to be entrepreneurial and to be creative with their ideas and to get some assistance from the business mentors and judges who have given up the day to be with us.”
The participating schools and Youthreach centres were the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town; Carndonagh Community School; Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny; Colaiste Chineal Eoghan, Buncrana; Colaiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon; Crana College, Buncrana; Deele College, Raphoe; Errigal College, Letterkenny; Finn Valley College, Stranorlar; Moville Community College; Gairmscoil Chu Uladh, Ballinamore; Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada, Arranmore; Loreto Community School Milford; Loreto Convent, Letterkenny; Magh Ene College, Bundoran; Mulroy College, Milford; PCC Falcarragh; St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny; St Columba’s College, Stranorlar; Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana and Youthreach Buncrana/Glengad.
Donegal ETB and the organising committee would like to extend a huge thank you to all students, learners, teachers, Gartan OETC staff, Lee Gooch and LYIT for participating in and assisting with the day. Particular thanks is extended to the business mentors and judges who gave up their day to support the event, including Ken MacKenzie, Prudential; Michael Brennan, DLDC; Laura McGonagle, AIB; Cormac Oates, Permanent TSB; Jimmy Stafford, Bank of Ireland; Evelyn Mc Glynn, Evelyn McMarketing!; Ray Winters, Smyths Feeds; Michael Black, Optimal Fitness; Gary Duffy, Foróige; Patricia Hill, Stateside; Mary Crawford, The Right Angle; Emmet Rushe, Rushe Fitness; Richard Finney, The Counter Deli; Gabrielle McMonagle, Gabrielle’s Diary; Sarah-Marie McDevitt, Pinehill Studios; Patrick Gildea, Patrick Gildea Hairdressing; Ann McGeever, La Maison; Joe Cannon, Joanne Gallinagh, Ciaran O Brien, Mairead McFadden, Paddy Kelly, Brenda Doherty, Chloe McLaughlin, Christina McElhinney, Eileen McGettigan, Geoffrey Browne, Patsy McVicar and Aoibheann Walsh.
This is the fourth year of this event which saw an increase on the number of entries from 2016. Further information and photos of the day can be found on our Facebook page and Twitter account (@DonegalETB #ETBEnterprise17).