INSPIRING the wilds of children’s imaginations and encouraging them to produce something concrete and real from those ideas is what the junior entrepreneur programme is all about and this year’s competition was just as brilliant as ever.
Hundreds of primary school children from across the county spent months coming up with their business ideas, drawing up a business plan, getting their products made and getting them to market, just like their grown-up counterparts do.
Netwatch, which organises and sponsors the competition, held a nail-biting showcase and awards ceremony in the Visual Arts Centre last week, when the overall winner was announced as Killeshin National School for its brilliant Flashbandz.
The judges were amazed by the bands, which are multi-coloured LED armbands designed for running, cycling and other outdoor activities. The product was such a massive hit that Flashbandz sold out numerous times. The children also approached local businesses to stock their product and it was sold through clubs and at events, impressing the judges immensely with their initiative.
“The business brains of the Kileshin pupils were obvious as they decided to purchase their product from China, meaning they could concentrate on the marketing and distribution of their product,” the judges noted.
Resourceful kids at Scoil Mhuire gan Smál scooped the prize for best innovation for their Woof Warmers and Krafty Kidz. The youngsters submitted four products to the competition this year, including body-warmers for dogs called Woof Warmers, made from the sleeves of old jumpers and leg-warmers. They also created a beautifully designed colouring book along with greeting cards featuring the girls’ artwork, which certainly caught the eye of the judges.
All products were created to professional standards and their use of recycled material was outstanding and inspirational, drawing comments from many observers.
Carlow Educate Together brought a playful aspect to the competition by creating and designing a set of trading cards based on the elements which scooped them the accolade for best marketing. The Eliminti Trading Cards can be collected, traded and used to play an attack and defence battle game.
The element of their business which most impressed the judges was the way in which they introduced their product to the public.
“Their marketing was of exemplary standard, creating a Twitter account and uploading blogs about the Eliminti release date.
It was agreed that the pupils’ instinct for marketing was a match for many successful businesses in the country today,” the impressed judges noted.
Ballinkillen NS decided to introduce a little bit of fantasy and magic to the competition with the two products that they submitted.
At the showcase they presented fairy houses made using lollipop sticks and fantastically imaginative woollen dream-catchers.
They marketed themselves as ‘The Dream Team’ and more than lived up to their name by showing how together they had been during the process, and proving it on the day.
The children advertised their product in school, at local events and in local shops, reiterating the benefit local businesses can have in the community. Their brilliant work garnered them the prize for best team work, much to their collective delight!
“Every great company needs great team work and it was great to see these young entrepreneurs naturally playing to their strengths and forming into certain areas such as marketing, finance, sales and production. It’s also great to see natural leaders coming through in many cases,” said group CEO of Netwatch Niall Kelly at the awards ceremony.