On Friday, 11th May, the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) Competition Final for secondary school students took place at Coca-Cola International Services offices in Southgate Shopping Centre. Twenty shortlisted projects from the original 44 applications, were reviewed in detail by the judges from Coca-Cola International Services, State Street, Fitz Scientific, The Mill Enterprise Hub, and Bricks4Kidz Louth. The overall winners were George O’Carroll and Hugo Collins, students at Drogheda Grammar School, who impressed judges with their social enterprise project, “Storyboard”.
Storyboards was created by George and Hugo as learning tools used to help people with autism deal with anxiety in everyday life. They list out the exact steps that are taken when performing everyday tasks or going to new places e.g. going to the barbers. These are currently freely available in the Arc cinema, Southgate Barbers, Drogheda Leisure Park, and in a few other places in Drogheda.
Prizes were also awarded in each of the three categories (Science/Technology, Business, and Social Enterprise) for both individual and team entries. This is the fifth year of the awards which focus on all aspects of Innovation, and has become an integral part of the local school curriculum.
According to Breanndán Casey, BDM of The Mill Enterprise, “This competition has gone from strength to strength each year, and with 44 applications, it’s fair to say that Innovation is alive and well in Drogheda. We work with our partners State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, Bricks4Kidz, and Fitz Scientific to visit all nine schools in the region to highlight the innovation that is currently occurring locally, and to ensure that students have an opportunity to flex their creative muscles”.
Alison Cowzer of East Coat Bakehouse was one of the judges, and commented “I am extremely impressed by the innovation on display today across all three categories, and some of the applicants would not be out of place on Dragons’ Den. Based on the level of innovation displayed, Drogheda’s future is very bright”. Alison also told the students to put aside the question of what they want to be in the future, and focus on what they enjoy doing and what they are good at – by doing so, they will truly excel in their future careers and entrepreneurial endeavours.
Organised by a voluntary group of local business people, teachers, and The Mill Enterprise Hub, the competition challenges Drogheda’s students to think about an innovating career in science, social enterprise, or business.
The 2018 winners who received their certificates and cash prizes included:
- “Storyboard” – Overall winner of DYI 2018, Drogheda Grammar School (George O’Carroll, Hugo Collins)
- “Makes Cents Prepaid Card” – Business Group Category, Sacred Heart
- “Handii”– Business Group Category, St Mary’s Diocesan School
- “Ovea Soap” – Business Group Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills
- “Get a girl through a day” – Social Enterprise Group Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills
- “Hele-Shaw Cell Experiment” – Science Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills (Sorcha McGeown).
The TY students at Drogheda Grammar School will also receive a workshop from Bricks4Kidz, focusing on STEM using LEGO as a fun and practical way of learning.
“It was great to have the diverse range of ideas this year, and more importantly, to see how the students have worked on their ideas over the past three months”, said Anna Keller of Coca-Cola International Services, “We also had 80 students attend a Workshop at The Mill in April which gave students an opportunity to work on their projects and receive real feedback from students and judges”.
“We expect 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 “The applicants have already displayed great initiative and innovation, and the DYI project gives them a fantastic opportunity to work on ideas and interact with like-minded students and entrepreneurs.”