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Young entrepreneurs impress the judges as Kildare student's emergency app takes top spot

With entrants from 12 schools around the country, the Griffith College Business Enterprise Competition highlighted the best young entrepreneurs in Ireland.
Jack Jordan, Scoil Dara Kilcock, winner of the Griffith College Business Enterprise Competition

The 2018 Griffith College Business Enterprise Competition

Sometimes it's the smallest problems that need the biggest solutions.  Have you ever been taking the laundry out of the washing machine and find a few lonely socks in the drum without a partner? Or do you have someone in your life who is constantly burning things with red-hot hair straighteners? Or have you ever tried to entertain kids without the aid of a television or WiFi?

Well they are just some of the problems that young entrepreneurs around the country have tried to solve. This year's Griffith College Business Enterprise Competition saw 12 finalists from secondary schools all around the country. The competition took place at the Conference Centre at our Dublin campus and saw entrants from secondary schools in Cork and Donegal and everywhere in between. The event, which attracted a crowd of hundreds of students and teachers was organised superbly by our own Jackie Treacy and Emily Watts.

This year's competition was won by Jack Jordan from Scoil Dara, Kilcock in Co. Kildare. Jack's business - EirElert - is a disaster-warning app which keeps users up to date with the latest news and developments during emergency conditions. During Storm Emma, Jack spent 16-hour days updating his app and it wasn't long before he started to get noticed. State agencies have been in touch with the Kildare teenager about using his app. The judges at the competition were wowed by the technological prowess Jack showed as well as his business acumen. 

Seamus Fitzpatrick, head of the Business faculty at Griffith College said, “Jack is a natural entrepreneur. He saw a gap in the market whereby people don’t have access to up-to-date information in emergency situations. His technical skill is top-notch but he’s a great communicator too – and that’s a great advantage no matter what business you are in.”

Second place in the completion went to Lonely Sock Inc from Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk in Co. Cork with their ingenious Sock Box invention – which promises to eliminate the problem of lost socks forever. The Sock Box has differently-sized compartments for different socks so that when a 'lonely' sock is found - it can be placed in the Sock Box until its elusive partner is found.

Scoil Mhuire were the only school in the country with two finalists in the competition with Heavenly Hair - an ingenious hair-straightener holder also making the final 12. Third place went to Loreto Letterkenny with a tourism-based boardgames called Hotspots which was invented by the team from Donegal after looking for a way to combat boredom when they were in areas with no Wi-Fi. An age-old answer to a modern problem.

The judges were amazed at the scale and ambition of the student businesses on show. Steven Roberts, head of marketing at Griffith College and a member of the judging panel, said "the standard of entrants was incredible. The students showed amazing creativity but a really good business sense too. Some of the ideas have real commercial potential and we'll be hearing a lot more from these students in the coming years."