18 year old entrepreneur wows Kerry students at Blue Sky Day
The Young Entrepreneur Programme ignites the imaginations of the next generation
An 18 year old entrepreneur who has three employees and a venture capital investment under his belt was the star of the show at the Young Entrepreneur Programme Blue Sky Day in Tralee on Friday 23rd Sept. James Whelton, CEO of Disruptive Developments gave a practical lesson in solving a practical problem by developing an app to the 700 second and third level students at the launch of the fifth year of the programme in the Brandon Hotel in Tralee. Whelton’s claim to fame in the global tech space was when he hacked the Ipod Nano. Since he’s gone on to be a co-founder of Coder Dojo, a nationwide initiative to empower students as young as ten to write computer code and games.
The audience were wowed by sixteen year old Tara Haughton from Kildare who started her business Rosso Solini, a sticker which transforms high street shoes into designer lookalikes. Tara, helped by her parents is now exporting to 22 countries. Cheers rose from the packed auditorium when she announced “My dad sort of works for me. It’s nice being his boss”. er advice to students was to surround yourself with mentors. “Get help, have a group around you. I was on my own and it was difficult. If you have an idea, go for it, it’s worth it” she told the assembled students.
Among those who recounted their success stories to students were Bill Liao a world renowned social media guru and co-founder of Coder Cojo who brought seven software and intellectual proeprty companies public and now lives in Cork. Liao stressed the importance of hitting a sweet spot with your business idea “ Look for a problem to solve and find a surprising way to solve it. The global stage is only minutes away If you have an interesting idea and work hard to making it real”.
Superquinn founder and TV star Senator Fergal Quinn shared his passion for entrepreneurship and the importance of the customer.
The Young Entrepreneur Programme, now in its fifth year, is developed by the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Shannon Development and Tweak.com. To date, more than 2,500 students have completed the programme. The Blue Sky Day is the kick-off event of a year long programme for participants.
"The Young Entrepreneur Programme has proven to be phenomenally successful and educators have embraced the programme 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 Jerry Kennelly. “Furthermore, it's an amazing opportunity for students to learn from local professionals, who can act as mentors during the year. The uniqueness of the programme is that anyone can become an entrepreneur. We are empowering and inspriring the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.”