Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Meath student lifts Student Enterprise of the Year award

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Finnegan Fabrication’s ‘High Lift’ – a portable crane lift designed for use in commercial vans – has been announced as the winner of the Student Enterprise of the Year at a ceremony which took place in Mullingar today.

The business, set up by Séan Finnegan, a student of St Patrick’s Classical School in Navan, creates portable cranes that can be fitted to the interior of commercial vans to help those in construction and similar industries to lift heavy materials in and out.

He said it is “essentially a modular pivotal crane which loads in and out of commercial vans for loading and unloading construction machinery”.

“I came up with the idea because my father injured his back in 2015 from the improper usage of lifting equipment throughout his construction career,” he said.

Séan said he has not made many sales yet. He only got his patent application back yesterday, which leaves him now patent pending, but he has 14 pre-sales to go out next week.

It’s the second time in three years that a business from St Patrick’s in Navan has won the top prize.

Barrelda, a company who create farm products from discarded poly drums took the Student Enterprise of the Year award in 2022.

The Intermediate Award went to Esker Timber Creations from Presentation College Athenry in Galway. The business, set up by student Cormac Monaghan, manufactures unique wooden products from repurposed pallet wood.

In the Junior category the award went to Carry Camán. The business, set up by Marguerite Herlihy, Seána Walsh, Clodagh Buckley and Lucy Matassa from Presentation Secondary School Castleisland in Kerry, is a high-visability hurley and sliotar holder.

It enables users to easily carry their hurling equipment and is also highly visible for those who may walk or cycle to training and matches.

Clodagh said they were told to go home and think about inconveniences when thinking of ideas for a product.

“I was talking to my sister and she used to play camogie. She said how girls find it hard to carry their things including their hurley.”

So she said,’Why don’t you make something to hold your hurley in and carry it around the place?’”

The finals saw 81 businesses from across the country shortlisted in three main categories.

The Local Enterprise Office initiative, supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities, commenced last September in secondary schools nationwide with close to 28,000 students taking part.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke took part in the ceremony, congratulated the students.

“Some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs have come from this programme – the majority did not win any prizes but are still running successful businesses today,” he said.

“So, to those of you who won something today, a huge congratulations, but most importantly, to you all, this is the first step on the path, you are the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future and everyone here today is excited to see what you do next.”

Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Office’s Enterprise Education Committee, said the programme continues to showcase the very best of Irish ingenuity and entrepreneurship amongst secondary school students.

“This year produced a varied selection of businesses, from agricultural products and homemade gifts to pet apps and seaweed harvesting and some amazing winners across the board,” Mr Nevin said.

“We see every year that the National Finals are not an end point for our student entrepreneurs, but a stepping stone on the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey. From our class of 23/24 we hope to see some of our next great wave of Irish business leaders and global entrepreneurs emerge.”

Additional reporting Gail Conway

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