The excitement was palpable as some of Ireland’s future leading youth entrepreneurs gathered at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin, to battle it out for the crown of Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.
It was an occasion to be inspired, as over 45 teams of young entrepreneurs from around the country, pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from some of Ireland’s leading companies.
This year basis.point, was represented on the judging panels by Chairperson Clive Bellows and Committee Head of Marketing, Geraldine Gleeson.
“Foróige are one of our more recent partner charities and we have been supporting the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme for the past two years. It is a great event and it’s rewarding to see how we are helping these young people unlock their individual potential” enthused Geraldine Gleeson after the event.
Thanks in part to the funding provided by basis.point, Foróige have been able to grow the NFTE programme with a focus on engaging Deis schools throughout the country.
In total, over 3000 young people competed nationwide, with each of the finalists having been through a series of tough competitions earlier in the year, winning their local, regional and semi-finals in order to reach this point.
Idea’s in fields as diverse as technology, sustainability, construction, health, tourism, transport, fashion and agriculture were just some of the businesses presented to the judges and brought to life by these young entrepreneurs.
Conor Stinchon from Summerhill College, Sligo, took the title of Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 for his business Gaelic Superstore offering personalised GAA gloves which can be customised for clubs, schools and county teams. Conor will represent Ireland at the European Entrepreneur of the year in Barcelona later this year.
‘Best Innovation Award’ went to the team from Deele College in Donegal with their business Clean Guard a holder designed to clean gum shields and retainers. ‘Special Recognition Award’ were presented to Chaotic Arts, Charleville Spy Project, Cork and Nathan Connor, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Mayo both of whom stood out as exceptional examples of how NFTE can transform the lives of young people.
But it’s not all about winning. Involvement in the NFTE programme has been shown to improve the business, academic, life skills and aspirations of young people experiencing disadvantage and adversity in their lives.
Sean Campbell of Foróige commented “The program is not just about business, it’s about encouraging young people to dream big and to believe that their hard work will one day pay off.”
There is a lot to look forward to from this pool of young talent.