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National Award for Meath Students at Enterprise Finals

Meath students from St. Patrick’s Classical School have taken a national award in the Senior Category at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals. The Finals of the Local Enterprise Office initiative were held physically for the first time in three years at the Helix in Dublin with An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and host RTE’s Rick O’Shea, with students and teachers in attendance from all over the country.

Supported by Local Enterprise Office Meath, the students won Overall Best Business in the Senior Category. The winning students were: Matthew Kealy (16) and Theo Staunton (17) who worked under the guidance of their teacher, Patrick Molony. Their student enterprise was called: BARRELDA which manufactures calf feeders from recycled barrels.

There were 15 student enterprises shortlisted for the Final in what is Ireland’s largest entrepreneurship programme for second level students.  The 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 24,000 students from almost 500 secondary schools across the country take part.

An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, who took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students, “congratulations, of course, to all the winners and finalists here today, but also to everyone who took part. To be able to create an idea, turn that idea into a business and to grow that business, is a remarkable skill that will stand to you no matter what you end up doing in your career later in life. In Ireland we have always shown great fortitude, determination and grit in times of difficulty and if these students are anything to go by, we have not lost that ability – in fact, I’m more positive than ever about the future and the next generation. Special mention to the teachers and parents who helped the students along the way, we will all benefit from your efforts. Please know that for anyone who wants to keep their idea going or has an idea for a business in the future, Government will back you every step of the way.”

Joe English from LEO Meath said, “year on year the Student Enterprise Programme continues to showcase the very best of Irish ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst our secondary school students. This year produced a varied selection of businesses, from agricultural products and homemade gifts to products that were built on our unique ability to tell compelling stories. We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 21/22 we will see some business leaders and global entrepreneurs of the future emerge.”

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive of Meath County Council said, “we are thrilled to see Matthew and Theo scoop top prize at the national final.  We know they have worked tirelessly on this business since last year and they are very deserving winners. We wish them continued success.”

The National Final students, who competed across three categories, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, saw judging take place virtually via electronic submissions.  Each student enterprise was challenged with creating, setting up and running their own business, which must show sales of their service or product.  The judging panel included business owners and representatives from enterprise agencies and associated bodies. 

The three main category winners on the day were: ‘Barrelda’ from St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan, representing Local Enterprise Office Meath (Senior Category Winner), ‘’Earrings by Aoibheann” from Loreto Abbey, Dalkey representing Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (Intermediate Category Winner), and ‘Sew Stylish’ from St. Brigid’s College, Callan representing Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny (Junior Category Winner).

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 a new range of online resources for 2021/2022 at, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.

Source: Meath County Council

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