Michael and Lisa are Young Entrepreneurs 2010

Michael and Lisa are Young Entrepreneurs 2010 Grads Gifts and LCD Re-cycling Plans do the Business for Kerry and Limerick Students

SCHOOL gifts for graduates and a new LCD recycling device were two business ideas that earned their creators the title of Young Entrepreneur 2010 at an awards ceremony in Killarney this evening (Thursday 22nd April). The awards were the culmination of the six-month Young Entrepreneur Programme, now in its third year.

Michael Dillane, a transition year student from CBS in Tralee, beat off over 350 secondary school students for the title with his business plan for a school gifts website. Schoolgiftsforgrads.com offers leaving certificate students a wide range of gifts in varying price, quality and style.  Michael is already running the business from his own home.

Third level winner Lisa Oâ¿¿Donoghue won the award for her idea to recycle LCDs. Currently no device exists in the market to address the millions of LCD screens scrapped. The University of Limerick research fellowâ¿¿s design allows LCD monitors to be safely disposed of into valuable computer waste.

She was one of more than 120 third-level students from the Institute of Technology, Tralee (IT,Tralee) and the University of Limerick (UL) who took part in the Young Entrepreneur Programme this year, a joint initiative between IT, Tralee, Shannon Development and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly.

⿿Over the past three years, 1,600 students have graduated from the Young Entrepreneur Programme and this number is set to increase to over 1,900 by 2013. The ⿿YEP⿿ generation will be better prepared for the freedom and joy of entrepreneurship than any of those who have come before them. Thanks to the Programme, they will be given access to the concept that their future success is only limited by their imagination, and their hunger to learn new skills, to satisfy the global demand for better, faster, cheaper and more innovative goods and services,⿝ said Mr. Kennelly.

Eighteen finalists with business plans ranging from reptile breeding, designer rowing gloves and solar powered bag lights to an electronic medical receipts card, easily detachable horse riding spurs and a dvd study aid for scientific experiments, today put their ideas to the final test in front of a judging panel at the Malton Hotel.

The countryâ¿¿s newest entrepreneurs were chosen by a panel of leading business people including Michael Dawson, CEO of Gift Voucher Shop; Nicola Byrne, MD and founder, 11890; Terry Mc Wade, Deputy CEO Royal College of Surgeons; Eddie Buckley, MD Aspen Connect and Jerry Kennelly.

⿿Fostering entrepreneurship is a key responsibility of the education sector and in Kerry we now have more than one in five students studying entrepreneurship. These fantastic students are proof that when as a region you commit to that, innovation and success is the result,⿝ said Michael Carmody, President of the Institute of Technology, Tralee. ⿿These students have learned from some of the best in the business and will hopefully go on to consider entrepreneurship as a valuable career choice.⿝

This year, the Young Entrepreneur Programme also acknowledged the best overall secondary school, giving the award to Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, in Kerry, where more than 30 students took part in the programme. The award was accepted by principal Cormac Bonner and teacher Mark Hanley.

Dr. Vincent Cunnane, chief executive, Shannon Development, said the programme was precisely the kind of education needed to breed success: ⿿The Young Entrepreneur Programme has received international recognition for its innovative approach to education in this field. We know the benefits of this programme will impact positively throughout the region and it is further validation of Kerry⿿s title as European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year for 2011.⿝

This year was the first year there were three category winners: Second Level, Third Level and Best School. Second level winner Michael Dillane receives a trip of a lifetime to Silicon Valley, California. Third level winner Lisa Oâ¿¿Donoghue gets €5,000 seed funding to transform her business dream into reality and Presentation Secondary School, Milltown will receive the latest IT equipment for the classroom to the value of €5,000.  In addition, each shortlisted second level finalist will receive a two week apprenticeship with mentor companies.