600 Students Look to Entrepreneurship As A Career

Young Entrepreneur Programme Expands as The Education Tool for the Future Young Entrepreneur Programme Expands as The Education Tool for the Future  

600 students in Kerry and Limerick embark on a 6 month entrepreneurship programme designed to introduce them to the world of entrepreneurship and to develop a set of lifelong transferable skills.

The Young Entrepreneur Programme, developed by the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Shannon Development and Jerry Kennelly, is now in its third year and has become a standard on the curriculum of secondary schools and for third level students in the region. This year the programme has expanded to take in Limerick Secondary Schools and the University of Limerick.

â¿¿Our programme is proving phenomenally successful and teachers, while hard-pressed for resources, have embraced YEP and are working with students and their mentors to equip the next generation with the skills and ambition to consider entrepreneurship as a valuable career choice⿝ says Programme manager Anne Looney. â¿¿One in five students in Kerry study entrepreneurship, more than anywhere else in Ireland.⿝  

And the students will get to learn from the best. Friday is Blue Sky Day when they will hear from some of Irelandâ¿¿s top entrepreneurs such as Niall Mellon; Anne Oâ¿¿Leary, founder of Cadco, Tony Allen whose SpiderCatcher invention is selling across the globe and the Dragonâ¿¿s Den Bobby Kerr of Insomnia.  

Theyâ¿¿ll also hear from last yearâ¿¿s winner, Aisling Ni Shúilleabháin. Her idea and business plan for Kiddie Krawlies - a range of comfortable and fashionable kneepads for babies and toddlers â¿¿ has now become a reality with the finished product about to go to market.

â¿¿It was fantastic to win last year but the real benefit was how much I learnt over the full programme,⿝ said Aisling, from Dingle. â¿¿In the Silicon Valley I got to meet with top business leaders, listening and learning from their suggestions and advice on how best to proceed with my business idea.   I am really excited about the upcoming launch of Kiddie Krawlies⿝.

From Friday, students on the Young Entrepreneur Programme will learn how to put their business idea to paper and how to craft a unique business model.   They will experience the benefit of learning in an interactive and fun environment.   Students will learn how to pitch their business idea at Business Boot Camp and how to fine tune the financials at the Business Plan WorkShop.  

Teachers, lecturers and mentors, supported by the Institute of Technology, Tralee and Shannon Development, will be involved at every stage to ensure students are given the best possible induction to the skills of starting a business.   As part of teacher training teachers have had the opportunity to work on taking their own business idea from concept to business plan.

The 600 students from over 21 schools, along with IT,Tralee and UL will also be mentored by top business people from businesses in the region, adding the critical reality check to the different business ideas and support to the educator and school.

Michael Carmody, President of IT, Tralee said: â¿¿These students are the job creators of the future. If only five per cent of the people taking part build successful businesses youâ¿¿re looking at up to 1,000 new jobs. Thatâ¿¿s why programmes such as these are the real drivers of economic recovery.⿝  

One of the drivers of the programme, Stockbyte founder Jerry Kennelly agreed: â¿¿We need young people coming through with the skills to drive our economy by creating   new businessess and new ideas. YEP is the only education programme in the country specifically designed to identify, nurture and encourage this talent.⿝  

Shannon Developmentâ¿¿s Marie Lynch, manager of Kerry Technology Park said the programme is a natural part of the regionâ¿¿s commitment to entrepreneurship

This year there are three category winners: Second Level, Third Level, Best School. Second level winner will receive a trip to Silicon Valley. Third level winner will receive €5,000 seed capital.   Best school will receive an IT package to the value of €5,000.   The shortlisted finalists will receive a 2 week apprenticeship with mentor companies.