Business Boot Camp - Young Entrepreneur Programme 2011
Friday the 4th of February will see some of Ireland's top entrepreneurs descend on the Brandon Hotel in Co. Kerry for the annual Business Boot Camp, part of the Young Entrepreneur Programme 2011. Well known business names such as Hugh O'Donnell of Kentz, Colum O'Sullivan of Cully & Sully, John Rice of JAM Media and familiar Dragons Den participants Elaine-Sarah Comerford of Buttons & Co. and Daithí O'Regan of Hand Craft Hurleys, will take to the stage at Business Boot Camp discussing their journeys to a successful business, the difficulties they faced and key tips to a winning business pitch to the 600 students and business mentors attending the half day event in Tralee hosted by Colette Fitzpatrick of TV3.
The Young Entrepreneur Programme, which is now successfully in its fourth year, is an initiative developed by the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Shannon Development and Tweak.com, aimed at 15-23 year old students in second and third level schools in Kerry, Limerick and Cork. This year the programme is being run in association with LEADER. Students are required to identify a business idea and develop a business plan for that idea during this 8 month programme. The students develop their business plans under the guidance of their teachers, who receive educator training on all aspects of the programme and entrepreneurship, as well as dedicated business mentors for the duration of the programme. In March 2011 the students sit an examination and the best business ideas are then shortlisted for the final, which culminates in an awards ceremony in May, where the Young Entrepreneur of the Year is announced. There are three category winners: Second Level, Third Level and Best School. The second level winner receives a trip to Silicon Valley California, giving them an opportunity to visit iconic companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook. The third level winner receives €5,000 seed capital and the best school receives an IT package to the value of €5,000. In addition, the shortlisted finalists receive a two week internship with a mentor company and an entrepreneurial day trip to Dublin in April.
The Business Boot Camp day is an integral part of the Young Entrepreneur Programme as it is here that the students will get their first taste of pitching a business idea to a panel outside of their school. Students will get the opportunity to showcase their ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs who will provide feedback on areas such as originality of idea, market potential, costing and revenue potential. The speakers taking part in the boot camp day are a combination of local businesses that have seen success in their own county, such as Mark Doe of Just Cooking Cookery School, national success in the form of Fred Karlsson of DoneDeal.ie and international success with representatives from Kentz and JAM Media, telling the students how they developed their businesses from an idea to the success it is today. Dr. Jerry Kennelly of Tweak.com, co-founder of the Young Entrepreneur Programme, believes it is programmes such as YEP that will help to develop a generation of graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit. "By May of this year over 2000 students will have completed the programme and we believe it is well on the way to transforming the future of Kerry by empowering students to take control of their own destiny." said Mr. Kennelly.
The Young Entrepreneur Programme was the first initiative developed by IT Tralee, Shannon Development and Tweak.com who have since gone on to launch the Endeavour programme and last week launched the first Junior Entrepreneur Programme to primary schools in the Kerry region. County Kerry was named European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year 2011 in recognition of its vision for entrepreneurial training and development, and in particular, the success achieved through the Young Entrepreneur Programme and Endeavour. All students who take part in the Young Entrepreneur Programme and Junior Entrepreneur Programme will take part in the European Entrepreneurial Region celebrations at the YEP Awards in May.