Coláiste Ailigh (Letterkenny) are this year’s winners of Donegal ETB’s Enterprise Day for schools and Youthreach centres. The event took place in Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) on Wednesday 16 October. Second place went to the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town, while Mulroy College in Milford came third.
Two hundred and forty students from twenty post-primary schools and Youthreach centres 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 setup. Teams were given a business mentor and an LYIT business studies student to guide them throughout the day.
Ramelton based entrepreneur Seamus McDaid, of McDaid’s Football Special fame, spoke to the students in the morning about his entrepreneurship journey. Seamus has recently returned from the United States where he was the founder of McDaids Beverages USA and spent eight years there as the company’s US Business Development Manager. Having worked before this in Australia, he has returned to Ireland to run the family business, working as the company’s Business Development Manager from their headquarters in Ramelton. He had lots of entrepreneurial experience and tips to share with the couple of hundred young people who participated in the day.
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 the enterprising ideas presented to them.
Coláiste Ailigh came up with an innovative product called ‘Sea Wear’, a biodegradable, foldable Tupperware piece created from seaweed which can fold out as a plate and aimed at the restaurant/takeaway market. The team was supported by mentor Amy Harkin from Lottie Dolls.
Speaking about the Enterprise Day, Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh commented, “This is now our sixth year to host this brilliant event. We’re really pleased to see so many schools and Youthreach centres joining us. It’s an enjoyable day for teh studetns and hopefully it will inspire their innovation and creativity. We would like to thank Letterkenny Institute of Technology for the use of their facilities and their students for helping as mentors. The keynote address from Seamus also resonated with the students and all the employers made enthusiastic contributions as business mentors.”
The participating schools and Youthreach centres were the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town; 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 Secondary School, Letterkenny; Mulroy College, Milford; Magh Ene College, Bundoran; Carndonagh Community School; St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny; St Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs; Royal and Prior Comprehensive School, Raphoe; Coláiste na Carraige, Carrick; Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny; St Columba’s College, Stranorlar; Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana and Youthreach Gortahork.
Donegal ETB and the organising committee would like to extend a huge thank you to all the students, their teachers and LYIT for participating in, assisting with and supporting the day. Thanks are also extended to Gartan OETC staff who kept the students busy while the judging was taking place and to Highland Radio’s Lee Gooch for hosting the morning proceedings.
Particular thanks are extended to the business mentors and judges who gave up their day to support the event, including Leonard Watson, Watson’s Menswear; Jimmy Stafford, Bank of Ireland; Lucia McCauley, Bank of Ireland; Mary Crawford, The Right Angle; Richard Finney, The Counter Deli; Louise Hayden, Focus Fitness; Sarah-Marie McDevitt, Pinehill Studios; Florentine, Patrick Gildea Hairdressing; Paul Logue, McElhinneys; Clare Ryan, ITUS Secure Technologies; Kelda Kelly, Fusion; Ursula Donnelly, Enterprise Ireland; Anthony Boyle, Tax Assist; Alexandra Manning, Occasions Event Management; Patricia Hill, Stateside; Geoffrey Browne, Rossmore Manor B&B; Toni Forrester, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce; Ian Harkin, Lottie Dolls; Amy Harkin, Lottie Dolls; Stephen McGuire, Donegal Daily; Cuin Varughese, Aaron Rajan Paul and Fiona Kelly, all LYIT; Shauna Devenney, Ciaran O Brien, Paddy Muldoon, Mairead McFadden, Marie Donnelly and Deirdre Bonner all Donegal ETB. Thanks also to Valu Centre, Letterkenny for sponsoring the bottled water provided on the day.
This year’s event saw an increase in the number of entries from 2018. Further information and photos of the day can be found on Donegal ETB’s website (www.donegaletb.ie), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (@DonegalETB) through #ETBEnterprise19.
Photography credit: JMac Photography.