On Thursday, 12th May, the Drogheda Young Innovators Competition Final for transition year students took place at East Coast Bakehouse’s new Centre of Innovation. Twenty-one projects were shortlisted from the initial 52 applications, and prizes were awarded in each of the three categories (Science, Business, and Social Enterprise) for both individual and team entries, and one overall competition prize. This is the third year of the awards which focus on all aspects of Innovation.
Over 50 students heard businesswoman, and Dragon from RTE’s Dragon’s Den, Alison Cowzer, speak on Innovation, and the process of creating a new biscuit production facility. Alison is co-founder and Marketing / Innovation Director of East Coast Bakehouse, Ireland’s only large scale biscuit manufacturing business, based in Drogheda. Alison told the students that they should be proud of their achievements, and that, based on her conversations with them, she was confident that many of them will have significant achievements in the future, “I am extremely impressed by the innovation on display today across all three categories. The standard is very high, and I’m not surprised that the judges found it so difficult to pick the winners. Based on the level of innovation displayed, Drogheda’s future is very bright”
Organised by a voluntary group of teachers, and local business people, the competition challenges Drogheda’s students to think about an innovating career in science, social enterprise, or business.
The winners include:
- “Flashdiscs” – Overall winner of DYI 2016, Drogheda Grammar School
- “Goaty Goodness” – Business Group Category, Scoil Uí Mhuirí, Dunleer
- “First Year Starter Pack” – Business Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Grenhills.
- “BMC Digital Workshop” – Social Enterprise Individual Category, Ballymakenny College
- “How You Doin’?” – Social Enterprise Group Category, Ballymakenny College
- “Investigation of Glitter Paths” – Science Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills
- “Puppy Planner” – Individual Science Category, St. Joseph’s CBS
- “A Comparative Study of invertebrates that inhabit tree bark at night” – Group Science Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills.
“The Drogheda Young Innovators competition has been a success over the past few years”, says Breanndán Casey, the BDM of The Mill Enterprise Centre, “This year the programme is being supported by some innovative local companies, such as State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, Fitz Scientific, Paycheck Plus, and Mor Solutions. It is great to see local companies showing their support to youth entrepreneurship projects in Drogheda, and fantastic that we can highlight innovation that is taking place every day in our community”.
This format of the competition changed this year which resulted in a higher number of applications, and greater support for local innovative companies. In March, more than 80 students attended an Innovation Workshop organised by the Coca-Cola International Services team in Drogheda. The students availed of an opportunity to work on their ideas for the Drogheda Young Innovators competition, and to practice some divergent and convergent thinking as part of the brainstorming process.
Previous DYI winners Elle Loughran and Anna Mc Evoy of Our Lady’s College Greenhills have both represented Drogheda and Ireland abroad in various youth entrepreneurship initiatives. In January 2016 Elle Loughran launched her own website www.tigertunity.com which aims to help second and third-level students to find work opportunities, scholarships and competitions. She also attended the Outbox Incubator programme in London last August for females making a valuable contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths).
“At least 1 in 10 of Drogheda’s students will be running their own business when they finish education” says Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific. He continued “We want to encourage them and reward their enterprise. In the future, they will be employing people in Drogheda and making a very positive contribution to the local economy and community.”