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East & Dublin

Junior Dragons' Den at Optum Global Services

WP 20171114 12 33 34 ProStudents from St. Joseph’s Co-Educational School with Optum 'Dragons' and mentors

Students from St Joseph’s Co-Educational School, East Wall recently visited the Dublin offices of Optum Global Solutions, located in the Spencer Dock area of the city, for a unique entrepreneurial experience.

Students spent the morning at Optum where volunteers took time out of their busy schedules to mentor their groups of students in preparation for much anticipated Dragons’ Den business ideas pitches to members of the senior management team, at this, Optum’s inaugural Dragons’ Den Event.

IMG 20171114 114101Students presenting their business ideas to the Optum 'Dragons'Optum’s mission, to help modernise the health care infrastructures of organisations and empower individuals as they take control of their own health, was very much in keeping with the ethos and objectives of Optum’s Dragons’ Den volunteers, who provided business mentoring and assistance of the students of St Joseph’s School, also empowering these bright and enthusiastic students, helping them gain an insight into the world of business and entrepreneurship!

Danny Boles, Associate Director, Optum Global Services, reflected on his experience: “As it was my first time volunteering, I would take part again as it is important to give something back to the community. Although time is precious for all of us, it is even more precious for children and me must make time for them to help them on their journey to adulthood so they can achieve their goals and dreams. You just never know – one comment or action may be the catalyst for them to do great things. Keep up the good work!

Both the teachers and students were warmly welcomed by the team of Optum volunteers. Students were very excited and engaged throughout the morning where they got to work early, receiving one on one mentoring and support from their assigned Optum Business mentor!

IMG 20171114 121538The stakes are high during student business presentationsBenefiting from the experience of team work, idea generation, brain-storming and deciding how they would bring their groups’ business ideas to the market, they were later given the opportunity to present to the hugely important and ‘influential’ Optum Dragons, who would ultimately decide on their level of investment in each group’s business proposal.

Presentation skills were developed, as well as the negotiation skills required to maximise the degree of Dragon investment available, without conceding too much of their company equity!

Lauren McKeon, Business Analyst, Optum Global Solutions said: “I was so delighted to get involved with the Dragons’ Den event and I loved working with my group “Clip’n’Go”. I was really impressed at how confident and innovative my team were. We had great discussions about sourcing suppliers, digital marketing, and lots more. Many thanks for the opportunity to help out, it was an excellent initiative and I really enjoyed it.”

Following a hugely successful day of learning and enjoyment, the students of St Joseph’s were presented with their well-deserved Junior Achievement – Optum Dragons’ Den Certificates of Achievement.

WP 20171114 12 37 50 ProOur Optum business volunteers

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Let's Go with Disney

IMG 3505Jason Sherlock presents Let's Go students with their certificates

More than 100 students from schools in Stoneybatter, Ballymun and Darndale participated in healthy living workshops as part of the Let’s Go programme, in partnership with Disney, in DCU on Monday 18th December. Facilitated by volunteers from Disney, Oracle, Core Media, AIG and Standard Life, the workshops were action packed and fun-filled.

The creativity and ideas presented by the students were inspiring and went down a (healthy) treat with our volunteers. The students were hugely energised by the event while the volunteers kept pace!  Everyone got physically active; the dance moves were rocking! There was much excitement when guest judges Jason Sherlock and Jonny Cooper joined the event to hear the teams’ fantastic creative ideas to spread the healthy living message.

We are very grateful for the expertise from DCU’s Department of Health & Human Performance and to all our students and volunteers for participating in such a worthwhile initiative.

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Junior Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business in Xilinx

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6th class students from St. Ronan’s National School in Clondalkin sought investment for their innovative business ideas when they pitched to the 'Dragons' at the Xilinx Citywest Business Campus as part of an exciting Junior Dragons’ Den event.

The students created advertising and marketing plans for their new business ideas assisted by mentors from Xilinx. The students put the final touches to their business plans before presenting them to their peers, teachers and Xilinx business mentors in the Dragons' Den!

Principal of St. Ronan’s National School, Ms. Mary Fitzgerald said “Thank you to the Xilinx volunteers for their generosity and expertise in guiding their pupils through the whole process of developing, financing and marketing products for today’s consumers. It is a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to develop their orating skills outside the classroom and they made memories that they will cherish even after they leave primary school."

Xilinx 1Students and their mentor present their innovative idea to the Xilinx 'Dragons'

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AWAS celebrate their first year with JAI

AWASAWAS volunteers receive their certificates from JAI CEO Helen Raftery

We were delighted to mark AWAS' first year working with JAI with an award presentation in their offices on Sir John Rodgerson’s Quay. In that time AWAS volunteers have worked with more than 200 students in nine local schools.

AWAS 2Students from City Quay National School during a JA sesssion with volunteer Mary O'SullivanDuring the year 3rd class students from City Quay National School had the opportunity of visiting the AWAS office which is located just around the corner from their school. They received a full tour of the AWAS office space and had their certificates presented to them by their AWAS volunteer Mary O’Sullivan.

We have already begun planning for next year and we would like to pass on our sincerest thanks to the 10 AWAS volunteers who gave of their time to volunteer in the 2016/07 school year.

Many thanks again to AWAS for their support.

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Young Entrepreneurs Impress at Mercer

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5th & 6th class students from CBS Synge Street, Dublin 8 were invited to Mercer to take part in our Dragons’ Den event on 14th June 2017. The event was designed to encourage students to learn entrepreneurial skills and to design a business plan focusing on innovation and enterprise.

mercer 2The students met eight warm and friendly mentors from Mercer - Ged Quinn, Sheena Frost, Marian McCabe, John Mercer, Sinead Twohig, Lorraine Farrell, John Joe McArdle and Sarah Doody - who helped the students prepare their business plans and gave them advise on how to pitch their ideas to the ‘Dragons’ - Martine Ferland, Tom Geraghty and Stephen O'Driscoll. This resulted in the students receiving investment for their product / service ideas and each group received one of the following awards - Best Team Work, Best Presentation, Best Advertising/Marketing Plan and Most Innovative Idea.

Prior to the Dragons' Den event four Mercer volunteers assisted the students in their classroom where they came up with their product or service ideas and discussed the 4 P’s of marketing that fed into their overall business plan.

mercer 3Julio Portalatin, President & CEO at Mercer, attended this event and was extremely impressed with the students’ ideas and all the hard work they put into their business plans.

The students loved their visit to a local business and they were extremely thankful to be given the opportunity to be involved in such an exciting event!

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