Student Enterprise Awards

On the 27th February, three Transition Year mini-company teams and supporters travelled to the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery with their teachers Ms Sinead O’Donovan and Ms Maria Brosnan to take part in the Regional Finals of the West Cork Student Enterprise Awards.  The Student Enterprise Programme is Ireland’s biggest student enterprise competition. Each year over 22,000 secondary students from 620 schools take part in this Programme by setting up and running their own student business.  Students get to find out what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur and get a practical, hands-on taste of real life business.


Prior to the SEA’s the three groups, ‘Crafty Pillows’, ‘Ocean Memories’ and ‘Kinsale Calendars’ were selected to represent KCS at the awards by a panel of judges at an in-school Christmas trade fair organised by their mini-company teachers.  In preparation for the competition both teams had to submit a Business Report to the Enterprise Office outlining their product idea, finances, production process, sales and marketing strategies and social media campaigns.  

Crafty Pillows mini-company is run by Shauna Murphy who operates her company as a sole trader.  This company offers bespoke handmade animal shaped pillows in a variety of designs ranging from owls to rabbits and dogs to elephants.  Even a few unicorns are thrown in for good measure!  Crafty Pillows is customer-focused and enables customers to customise the animal, colour and patterns.  Special request designs are also welcome.  Shauna has a passion for making pillows and the skills gained from her Home Economics craftwork project was the inspiration behind her company. 

Ocean Memories mini-company design, make and sell hand-made frames and hand-poured candles using locally sourced materials. Photo frames come in two sizes and are decorated with seashells and sea glass. Ocean Memories also expanded their product range to produce a large range of candles which are made from recycled roof slates and oyster shells sourced from local restaurant Fishy Fishy.  Candles are offered in a range of 8 invigorating fragrances such as lavender and orange and a choice of 7 colours. The team consists of four members – Kelly Coughlan (Marketing Manager), Maya Mahendran (Design Manager), Orlaith Cummins (Finance Manager) and Amanda Draper (Production Manager). 

Kinsale Calendars (now re-branded KSPP Kinsale Shipyard Photography & Printing)   mini-company produces high-quality gloss calendars which incorporate a selection of well-known images of various points of interest in the local community of Kinsale such as James Fort, Old Head and Kinsale Harbour.  The product also includes some interesting pieces of information about the individual photo and highlights important dates of local events happing in Kinsale such as Kinsale 7’s etc.  The company is now focusing on expanding their product range and hope to offer a selection of Kinsale themed postcards in the coming months.  The team consists of four members – Cian Murphy (Managing Director), Sam Peare (Sales & Marketing Manager), David Gunn (Secretary) and Oisin Ruxton (Finance Manager). 

It was an early start for the three teams who departed KCS at 7.35am to make the scenic journey to the West Cork town of Rosscarbery.  Although tired from the early rise the students were delighted to be one of the first teams to arrive at the Celtic Ross Hotel and had the opportunity to select a prime location for the setup of their display pods!  After enjoying a hot cup of tea and a snack the competition began.  Over 35 mini-companies from schools across West Cork were in attendance and the air swirled with anticipation and excitement as they anxiously awaited their interviews by a panel of three judges – Dragon’s Den style!!

Much to the delight of all the students, a sit-down lunch followed the judging and students could take a few minutes to gather themselves before results were announced.  A variety of prizes were awarded including

·         1st, 2nd and 3rd place

·         Best innovation

·         Best display

·         Best use of social media

·         Young Entrepreneur of the Future

Huge congratulations to Shauna Murphy of Crafty Pillows Mini-Company on being awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Future.  The panel of judges were very impressed by the level of hard-work, determination and quality of the produce.  Shauna was presented with a prize and even came away with a few more orders – even some from the judges!!  It was a very insightful and enjoyable day and students had the opportunity to speak with other teams and teachers in the West Cork area and learn more about the world of enterprise.  Thank you to their teachers Ms O’Donovan and Ms Brosnan for their guidance and support throughout the year.


Maria Brosnan