200 primary students from eight schools across Waterford city and county have taken part in the Local Enterprise Achievement Programme (LEAP), sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office.
At the start of the programme each class was visited by a local business person who delivered the Junior Achievement 'Our First Business' programme, empowering students to come up with their very first business idea. All the students' hard work and preparation came to fruition at the LEAP Event which was held in Waterford Institute of Technology on 7th and 8th June.
Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, who opened the LEAP Event on the 8th of June said: “Initiatives such as the LEAP Project are essential for fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in the Waterford area, which will help to ensure Ireland continues to be one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. We must support young people to acquire the skills and confidence they need so that they can face any challenge and shape their careers in the future world of work. I commend Junior Achievement and Waterford Local Enterprise Office for such a wonderful initiative.”Minister John Halligan TD,
Each day four local schools showcased their business ideas and presented them to local business people known as FROGS (For Recognition of Greatness in Students) who questioned the students on their ideasand offered each group a fictional investment in recognition of the potential of their business idea.
Speaking at the event Jacqui Gaule from Waterford LEO said: “One of our core values at Waterford LEO is to encourage the spirit of enterprise in our local community. The creativity and innovation showed by the students was inspiring. To reach primary school students and sow the seed of self-employment at this young age offers us the opportunity of a bright future for entrepreneurship in Waterford. We are delighted that Junior Achievement is our partner for this project.”
On completion of the project each student was awarded with a Certificate of Achievement to recognise their participation and one team from each school was given a special plaque to mark their outstanding contribution to the LEAP. The eight schools involved in the project were. Dunhill N.S.,Fenor N.S., Killea B.N.S., Portlaw N.S,Scoil Lorcain B.N.S., St. Ursula’s Primary School, St. John of God N.S. and St. Declan’s B.N.S.
The students were joined in their classroom prior to the event by local business people who worked with them on their ideas; Peter Grogan, Emagine; Elaine Fennelly, Lisa McGowan and Pat O’Grady, Bluefin Technologies; Padraig O’Scanaill, Fundrecs; Gemma Kennedy, Q1 Scientific; Danielle Kennedy, Lloyds and Mary O’Brien, Bausch & Lomb.
Mayor Adam Wyse who closed the two day event said: “As Mayor of Waterford City and County I’m delighted to pay tribute to all these young people participating in the LEAP initiative. The programme offers an invaluable experience to students; they learn valuable skills, grow in self-confidence and have the opportunity to meet inspiring people from the business world. It is exciting to be involved with so many volunteers facilitating a variety of quality learning experiences for students all over Waterford county.I love the connection between LEAP (Local Enterprise Achievement Project) and FROGS (For Recognition of Greatness in Students) and it is encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the students in participating - it all makes the future of Waterford entrepreneurship look so bright.”