Local Enterprise Office Waterford has announced that a winning teenager entrepreneur, Nathan Sfendji from Waterpark College will represent Waterford at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals on Friday 5th May.
The winning business, named Hart Island is an online fashion retailer with clothing made in the EU using innovative and new to market techniques. The clothing is made from 100% organic cotton and environmentally sustainable. He also mixes recycled cotton into newer products, further reducing reliance on organic materials.
An estimated 850 students from 14 Waterford schools took part in the annual programme this year. 120 took part in the Waterford Final on March 7th as part of Local Enterprise Week, which was held at the Park Hotel in Dungarvan.
The enterprise education 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 over 24,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2021 / 2022. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Finals.
The Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr John O’Leary, spoke at the event about the Council’s long-standing commitment to youth enterprise and the outstanding efforts of the whole team at the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford.
Waterford has a strong history in this competition, winning awards on numerous occasions, including the overall Best Senior Enterprise Award, and hopes are high for more success this year.
Speaking at the county final, Acting Head of Enterprise, Jacqui Gaule of Local Enterprise Office Waterford congratulated the students, saying, “We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Waterford. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Offices are working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck on the May 5th. We will all be there to support them. What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and teamwork, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers”.
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 new range of online resources for 2022 / 2023 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.
Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.