Steps to Success Enterprise Conference

On Friday 5th October a number of TY students travelled to the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery with their teacher Ms Brosnan and teaching assistant Ms Gallagher to attend the ‘Steps to Success Student Enterprise Conference’.  The event was opened and MC’d by Christine Heffernan from the West Cork Local Enterprise Office.  It was a very busy event with over 300 TY students from all over West Cork in attendance.  It was an eye-opening and interesting experience for the enterprise students who listened to a variety of speakers from various business backgrounds.  It also provided students with an opportunity to learn about various aspects of enterprise.

A diverse range of entrepreneurs were lined up for the day and it began with guest speaker Eoin Leonard, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of i3PT Certification and Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2018.  I3PT Certification is a leading independent certification firm operating in Ireland who audit, inspect and certify buildings in construction projects. Eoin spoke about his own experiences of entrepreneurship from his former days as a TY student to his current position as CEO of i3PT.  Eoin advised students to ‘Take advantage of our incredible third level education system’ and ‘Be tenacious, even if it sometimes hurts your pride. Nothing replaces work ethic’.  It was a very witty and inspiring story which highlighted the importance of ‘Thinking Differently and Finding your Niche’.  


Next up was felt artist Stephanie Tenier from Feltastic in Bantry.  This was a big hit with students hoping to create hand-made products.  Stephanie spoke vividly about her overzealous imagination and her creative journey in producing handmade fairies from felt.  The theme of her presentation emphasised the importance of ‘Using your talents to create a business’ and in the words of Confucius she encouraged students to ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’.


After a short interval, the next speaker Maurice Allshire of Irish Biltong, which produces a high protein health snack, focused on the theme of ‘Standing Out’.  He advised students on the hard work and determination required in getting a business up and running and the importance of creating a brand for a product.  Maurice spoke about his experience working in the family business and his recent launch of a new product ‘Irish Biltong’ which is now available in stores.    

Next up was Aisling Reardon of and her theme was ‘Finding your innovative self’.  Aisling spoke about her online business where diners can swipe through images of food.  Restaurants can showcase the products they have to offer and the platform makes ordering food and takeaways fun and easy for consumers.

Finally the conference came to a close with speaker Jamie Gale who currently runs two businesses ‘Stamp Owl’ and ‘Swift Fox Apps’.  The theme of Jamie’s presentation was ‘Taking the first steps’. Stamp Owl is an app which enables users to create a postcard using an image taken on a phone and personalise it with a message.  Jamie also spoke about his business Swift Fox Apps which has a design HQ located in Kinsale, Head Office in Dublin and European base in Vienna.  Swift Fox Apps design and create apps for various businesses and events e.g. Kinsale Sevens.  

Overall it was an interesting, enjoyable and educational experience for all.  We wish our enterprise students the very best of luck in their mini-company projects and in their preparation for the Student Enterprise competition next year.


Maria Brosnan