Beara students impress at enterprise camp
BY HELEN RIDDELL
A GROUP of 37 transition-year students from Beara Community School have successfully undertaken a youth enterprise ideation camp developed by American multinational Intel and run by members of the Bantry Bay Lions Club. The programme aims to develop idea generation and innovation skills in young people by giving them an opportunity to work on a real business challenge.
The pupils, who were grouped into six teams, were coached through an intensive series of ideation and entrepreneurship workshops over the past weekend, where they were tasked with developing ideas to tackle youth unemployment. They were also required to devise a business plan, and learn how to pitch their ideas to potential clients.
The course was led by Robert Chambers of Bantry Bay Lions, and a group of mentors who assisted the students in the programme.
The Intel Youth Enterprise Ideation Camp was devised with the aim of using technology to focus the innovation skills of young people. It encourages participants to firstly come up with an idea, validate it and then develop it into something that is commercially viable. The ultimate aim of the programme is to give participants the chance to work on real challenges faced by their communities. It is hoped that those undertaking the programmes are given the opportunities to use their innovation skills and create solutions which will positively impact their community with the use of technology.
The groups made their final presentations to a panel of judges at the school last Monday afternoon.
On the judging panel were Sean Mahon, managing director of The Southern Star; Susan Tucker, owner and proprietor of the Valley of the Hare self-catering holiday cottage business; and Noel Harrington, Castletownbere-based Fine Gael TD for Cork South West.
Commenting on the final presentations, Deputy Harrington said, ‘It was a fantastic event, and I was very impressed with the students’ confidence and professionalism. It was hard to pick one particular group as all did so well. Full credit should be given to all the teams and their teachers.’
Speaking at the presentation, one of the sponsors, Norman Steele of Milleens Cheese, outlined to the students his own experience in business, and told them how he refused to be swayed by mediocrity, and emphasised the need for uniqueness in business.
Organiser Robert Chambers said he was delighted with the event and all presentations were of a very high standard. He also extended his thanks to all the sponsors of the event – Athos Tsiopani of Eclipse Ireland, Chris Downey of SuperValu in Castletownbere, and Norman Steele of Mileens Cheese, as well as Kathleen Dwyer, transition-year co-ordinator.
The winning team was SAB Smoke Alarm Band, whose members were Daniel O’Neill, John O’Donoghue, Nicole Elphick, Caitriona Anne Nee, Jayden Murphy and Danny Gledhill. Their prize was a one-day course with Eclipse Ireland, the Killarney-based adventure and equestrian centre. The team will also go through to the national finals in May.