Aisling O’Keeffe Maher of Saint Mary’s Secondary School, Nenagh, receives a presentation from Mr Brian Lawlor, Deputy Principal, following her local win.

Enterprising students to fly the Tipp flag

The Local Enterprise Office Tipperary has announced that winning teenage entrepreneurs from Nenagh, Thurles, Clonmel and Cahir will proudly represent Tipperary at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Final.

In the ‘My Entrepreneurial Journey’ category open to junior and intermediate students, Aisling O'Keeffe Maher of St Mary’s Secondary School, Nenagh, encouraged by teacher Mr Donal Linehan, will represent Tipperary at the National Final.

The winning local students will now compete against approximately 80 student enterprises from all over the country for a place in the Top 15 shortlisted teams to make it to a live event on Wednesday, May 18, at The Helix in Dublin. This year’s live event will not only be a special one as it’s the first in-person event since 2019, but also as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Student Enterprise Programme.

The students all took part in the County Final on March 11, which was held virtually. An estimated 1,368 students from 21 secondary schools took part in the annual programme locally.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 24,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2020 / 2021. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals.

In the Junior Category, the students representing Tipperary at the National Final are Sebastin Stockil, James Bateman and Jack McGonigle from Wonderful Wood Workers at Coláiste Dun Iascaigh, Cahir under the supporting eye of teachers Ms Martina Harrahill and Mr Cunningham.

In the Intermediate Category, Peadar Bradshaw from Lives Transformed at CBS High School Clonmel, supported by teachers Ms Carol Dwane and Ms Martina O’Reily, will be representing the county at the Final.

In the Senior Category of the competition, Jack Ryan, Ethan Whitehead and Louis Ryan from Cocobow at CBS Thurles will represent the county at the National Final.

In the ‘Most Creative Business Idea’ section (senior category), Sarah McCoy of Scoil Mhuire, Greenhill, Carrick on Suir came out on top helped by teacher Ms Catherine McConalogue and Melt a Message of Ursuline, Thurles were the overall winners of the Social Media award supported by teacher Ms Sharon Hynes.

Special guests at the County Final included National Prize winners 2020 Jack O’Mara and Daniel Ruddy from CBS Thurles who encouraged students to be part of this initiative.

Anthony Fitzgerald, Head of Enterprise Tipperary, congratulated the students.

“We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Tipperary, with over 1,300 students from 21 local schools taking part this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck in the National Final 2022. In what has been a particularly challenging couple of years for students the programme has offered them an outlet outside of the usual school demands. What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and team-work, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers.”

Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, commended students and teachers on their enthusiasm and commitment to enterprise in Tipperary. Mr MacGrath also thanked the panel of judges for their great work in selecting the category winners that will represent Tipperary in the National final in May and urged each student business regardless of the outcome in the county or national final to continue trading if they have the belief, passion and commitment to make their business work.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 300,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.

The Student Enterprise Programme also has new range of online resources for 2021 / 2022 at, which includes webinars, templates and interactive teacher and student resources.