Young Entrepreneurs Show the Way Forward in 2009

Award Winner Aisling Comes Out Tops with Idea for Kids YEP Winners 2009

Aisling Ni Shúilleabháin, from Pobailscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in Dingle, Co Kerry, is the Young Entrepreneur of 2009. The awards night of the year-long Young Entrepreneur Programme, which pitched students from all over Kerry against some of the best brains in Irish business â¿¿ was held on Thursday at the Malton Hotel in Killarney.

Her idea and business plan for Kiddies Crawlies - a range of comfortable and fashionable kneepads for babies and toddlers â¿¿ impressed the four top business judges; Sean Gallagher of Smarthomes and RTEâ¿¿s Dragon Den, Joanna Gardiner from Elave, Cully & Sullyâ¿¿s Colum Oâ¿¿Sullivan and Mike Fitzgerald of Altobridge.

Aisling will be heading to Silicon Valley for a master-class in entrepreneurship which includes a one-to-one session with Apple co-founder Guy Kawasaki, a visit to Stanford University and the Googleplex Complex.

More than 330 students submitted business plans and 15 finalists won their way through to pitch their business plans to the judging panel. Throughout the year they had received mentoring from dozens of companies in the Kerry region and heard from some of Irelandâ¿¿s most influential business leaders including Denis Oâ¿¿Brien, Jenni Timoney, Brody Sweeney, Michael Carey and Terry Prone.

The best third level award went to Tim Lane, of the Institute of Technology, Tralee.   Timâ¿¿s idea, AgrPro system, is a unique management support tool specific to the dairy industry which utilises supply information to achieve maximum profitability and Best Practice for both the processors and their milk suppliers (farmers).

More⿦⿦..

Robert Oâ¿¿Shea, CBS, Tralee was name best second level entry for his business plan and idea for The Killarney Lakes Marathon â¿¿ the most beautiful marathon in the world and an event that would benefit charity, the local community and marathon runners.

Entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, who has been spearheading the Young Entrepreneur Programme along with IT, Tralee and Shannon Development through Kerry Technology Park said: ⿿We have a great shortage of teens and people in their 20s starting businesses in this country so this programme is designed to bring those successes through the pipeline and the awards show just how successful these young people can be.⿝

IT, Tralee President Michael Carmody said: ⿿We have taken a strategic decision to bring entrepreneurship right through everything we do at IT, Tralee. We want to create the next generation of business people in Ireland and we now offer models throughout all our courses, from Higher Certificate right through to Masters Degree level.⿝

Manager of Shannon Development⿿s Kerry Technology Park Marie Lynch said: ⿿In total 31 educators delivered this programme to over 600 students throughout the region. The Young Entrepreneur Programme is an extraordinary combination of business, educators and students all working to a common goal.⿝

Since September 2008, students have been involved in an intensive enterprise programme including a blue sky day, a business boot camp and a business plan work shop.   Teachers, lecturers and mentors, supported by the Institute of Technology, Tralee and Shannon Development, have been involved at every stage to ensure students were given the best possible induction to the skills of starting a business.

The ideas

The business plans submitted spanned wide range of ideas including:   from a websites to tackle obesity; a modern take on the piggybank to encourage saving; a recession-busting exercise online fitness programme; a 5-a-day gadget helping people keep track of fruit and vegetables intake; an online Swap n Shop helping people to redistribute unwanted gifts and many more.

The Prize

A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Apple headquarters in Cupertino and the Googleplex in Silicon Valley.   The prize includes a one-to-one entrepreneurship session with Apple co-founder Guy Kawasaki and a visit to Stanford University, which has produced some of Silicon Valley's most famous entrepreneurs.

The prize is sponsored by Kerry Group and represents a unique and priceless educational experience for the winner.   

The best second level and third level entries walk away with an Apple Mac Book each, while the best educator will receive a holiday voucher to the value of €1,000.