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Gaeltacht student entrepreneurs heading to Europe to represent Ireland

44udaras JAI 20 SavetheSeas are winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019 

‘SavetheSeas’, a fledgling company from Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán was acclaimed as the winner of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019 National Final held in Galway. The winners of this year’s National Final will represent Ireland at the Junior Achievement Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 competition in Lille, France in July. It is the first time that winners of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Clár na gComhlachtaí will have the opportunity to take part at the European level of the competition.

24udaras JAI 19With more than 750 Transition Year students taking part in Gaeltacht regions in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Meath & Waterford, eight teams were ultimately selected to proceed to the national final. The standards set by these regional winners means the winner of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí can be regarded as particularly astute entrepreneurs.

SavetheSeas is an online retail business with a social responsibility theme to raise money for charities which work to remove plastics from the ocean. SavetheSeas was mentored by their business studies teacher Máirín Ní Mhainnín and by local business volunteer Kathleen McDonagh from GoWest.

Clár na gComhlachtaí is developed and delivered by Údarás na Gaeltachta and JAI. Students create, operate and manage their own business as they move from the idea generation stage, to finance, production, marketing, sales right through to going to market. Local business volunteers, executives from Údarás na Gaeltachta and JAI mentored the students alongside their teachers.

Having emerged from very competitive regional finals in Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Donegal, teams from the below schools also represented their regions with great distinction at the national final:
Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Íre, Co. Cork;
Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Daingean Uí Chúis, Co. Kerry;
Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán, Co. Galway;
Coláiste Pobail Acla, Coláiste Bhreandán Naofa, Co. Mayo;
Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Béal an Átha Mhóir, Co. Dhún na nGall
Pobascoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal

35udaras JAI 19All participating students enjoyed a communications workshop with Darach Ó Tuairisg of Fíbín on the eve of the final, with each team exhibiting at a trade stand, displaying their business acumen during the judges’ interview and presenting their business ideas on stage in front of a public audience on the day of the final.

The judging panel comprising Mark de Faoite, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Bernie Ní Shúilleabháin, Telegael, was very impressed with the performance of all the students across each element of the competition however SavetheSeas just edged Píosa Beag ón Daingean, from Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and Number Ninjas from Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair to come out on top based on the quality of their innovative business idea and overall performance on the day.

Europe-wide research shows students who participate in entrepreneurial education activities such as Clár na gComhlachtaí are more likely to start their own business, are at lower risk of being unemployed, and are more often in steady employment into adulthood. Clár na gComhlachtaí aids in the development of creativity, initiative, financial literacy, teamwork, communication skills, understanding of risk and a sense of responsibility.

34udaras JAI 19Mark De Faoite, Enterprise and Employment Director with Údarás na Gaeltachta, commented: “It was inspiring to witness such enterprising young people at the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for their business ideas indicates that enterprise in the Gaeltacht areas is in safe hands. Údarás na Gaeltachta are proud to help promote student entrepreneurship in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland and I’m sure we will be seeing more of these young entrepreneurs in the future. Special congratulations to our winning team Save the Seas from Coláiste Cholmcille for your dedication and entrepreneurial flare. I am confident that these efforts will inspire new Gaeltacht enterprises in the future.”

Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI added: “The Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí Competition has enabled more than 750 students from Gaeltacht regions throughout the country to develop and practise entrepreneurial skills which will be invaluable as they progress in schools and into their careers. I wish to thank Údarás na Gaeltachta for working with us throughout the year, as well as leaders in our partner schools and business mentors, for making these learning experiences available to students. Finally, congratulations to our Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na Comhlachtaí 2019 winners SavetheSeas from Coláiste Cholmcille. The team will go forward to represent Ireland at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition in Lille, France in July.”

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