New business ideas by students from six Further Education Colleges in Cork City and County were celebrated at a showcase in Millenium Hall today. The showcase exhibition was the culmination of Enabling Entrepreneurship, a unique six week in-college programme run in partnership with Cork Education and Training Board (CorkETB) and JAI and delivered by volunteers from local businesses.
Business ideas ranged from sustainable farm holiday accommodation to goat weed management, fun educational websites to litter prevention tools.
CorkETB is committed to offering their students a learning experience that presents an opportunity for students to engage in entrepreneurial activity and foster an interest in business development.
Cork Companies PWC, Richard Cotter Engineering, AIB and Mallow Chamber of Commerce gave their staff the opportunity to deliver the Enabling Entrepreneurship programme to students in each college. JAI trained and resourced the business volunteers before they delivered the six week programme which explored Idea Generation, Pitching, Market Research, Marketing and Business Planning. With this knowledge the students went on to develop a business idea, product prototypes and marketing plans which they exhibited in Cork’s Millennium Hall. Enabling Entrepreneurship students participated in the programme alongside their college academic courses.
Mary Lenihan of CorkETB commented: “We at CorkETB are delighted to support the Enabling Entrepreneurship programme which cultivates student entrepreneurial thinking and mind-sets. The standard has been incredibly high, which is a testament to the dedication of the students in exploring entrepreneurship.”
Such is the level of commitment in Cork to supporting and developing entrepreneurship education and new business start-ups that Cork City Local Enterprise Office, North and West Cork Local Enterprise Office as well as a large number of Cork entrepreneurs also supported the programme. Students enjoyed an extended programme of seminars including a masterclass in Presentation Skills, a signposting of Local Enterprise Office Supports and ‘Life of the Entrepreneur’ seminars.
Eileen Doyle of Cork City Local Enterprise Office said: “Entrepreneurship education provides essential student learnings that foster entrepreneurial attitudes and skills and ensures that Cork continues to be a beacon for entrepreneurship.”
Data highlights the significant social and societal impacts to support the provision of wide-ranging entrepreneurial educational experiences for students while in formal education. A recent European Commission report concluded that students participating in entrepreneurship education are more likely to start their own business and their companies tend to be more innovative and more successful than those led by persons without entrepreneurship education backgrounds. Furthermore entrepreneurship education alumni are at lower risk of being unemployed, and are more often in steady employment.
Liz McAvoy, Cork Area Manager, JA Ireland said: “Thanks to the support of CorkETB, and other partners, participating students have learned the benefits of an entrepreneurial mind-set, been introduced to the elements of a successful business start-up and developed their own product or service. Through their journey they have also had the full support and expertise of a trained business volunteer from a local Cork business. We are privileged to support these local innovators as they begin their journey into entrepreneurship.”
JAI works with 37 Cork industry partners and almost 100 education partners in the Cork region to inspire and motivate students to realise their potential and see a future for themselves in the world of work.