Luke Byrne from Coláiste Chraobh Abhann Wins Top Award at the Student Enterprise Awards National Finals

April 21, 2016

Patent-pending product for earphones wins top Irish award

Second national award in just five years for Wicklow Teens

Another teenage entrepreneur from Wicklow has won the top award at the Student Enterprise Awards National Finals in Croke Park, thanks to the support of Local Enterprise Office Wicklow.

16-year-old Luke Byrne from  Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Kilcoole took the overall Senior Category prize for ‘Headphone Helpers’ at the National Finals yesterday (April 20th) with a patent-pending silicone band to stop earphones from getting tangled.

In 2012, another Wicklow Teenager, Ciara Whooley from St. David’s Secondary School in Greystones, also won the top award at the Student Enterprise Awards National Final with ‘Irish Baubles’.

Co-ordinated by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the Local Authorities Network, the 14th Annual Student Enterprise Awards National Final in Croke Park saw 201 student entrepreneurs from 69 schools showcase 76 different student enterprises, across Junior, Intermediate and Senior Categories.  A record-breaking 22,000 students from 620 schools took part in the programme this year.

Awards for Innovation, Best Display, Intellectual Property Awareness and Social Media were also presented during the ceremony, as part of the overall €10,000 prize fund.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Croke Park, The Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office, Sheelagh Daly congratulated Luke, saying: “The judges were very impressed with Luke’s ability to identify a problem and develop a solution that has real commercial potential. The Student Enterprise Programme was set up to encourage more young people, like Luke, to start a business and to foster a more enterprising culture for start-ups. A record number of students and schools took part in this year’s programme, showing a growing interest in enterprise in the classroom.”

She added: “I would also like to pay tribute to the Principal of Coláiste Chraobh Abhann, Shane Eivers and to Luke’s teacher, Ruairi Farrell and to Luke’s family, for all their support for the Student Enterprise Programme.”

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr.  Damien English T.D., presented the awards on stage , saying: “It is extremely encouraging to see the level of ingenuity and entrepreneurship in action throughout classrooms in Ireland today.  Through the Student Enterprise Awards, the Local Enterprise Offices are supporting more young people to develop practical business experience and it provides students with the opportunity to learn first-hand skills that are vital for securing future growth within the Irish economy.”

The Intermediate Category, which is open to second and third year students, was won by ‘Inish Wood Working’ from Scoil Mhuire Buncrana from County Donegal for their hand-crafted giftware. The top prize in the Junior Category, for first year students, went to ‘Amor’ from St. Oliver Post Primary School in Oldcastle in County Meath, for their modified stirrup tread for horse-riding.

The Social Media Awards were supported by Essential French and the Intellectual Property Awareness Awards were supported by the Irish Patents Office.

Luke, along with twenty students with the highest marks in the Senior Category were also offered a place at the week-long ‘Winners Business Bootcamp’, which is running in University College Cork from May 30th to June 4th.

The 2016/2017 Student Enterprise Awards programme starts in September, with full details available at or by searching #studententerprise on social media.

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