Down to business as Kerry boot camp puts 600 students to the test

A BUSINESS Boot Camp will see 600 students from Kerry and Limerick put their ideas to the test in front of a panel of leading Irish entrepreneurs and business people, as part of the annual Young Entrepreneur Programme and Awards.

Satellite navigation hiking boots, a medical receipts card which eliminates paper receipts and a milk carton crusher for waste disposal are among the emerging ideas students will be pitching at this year’s event, which takes place on January 29 at the Brandon Conference Centre in Tralee.

The camp gives students an invaluable opportunity to learn from, and be challenged by, mentors who will advise on where business opportunities exist, how to win in business and what makes a good business plan.

Students will hear from a host of well-known speakers including Kerry football team manager, Jack O’Connor; chief executive of Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, Michael Carey; co-founder of Cully & Sully, Colum O’Sullivan and owner of Snap Printing, Colin Teahon.

Developed by the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Shannon Development and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, the Young Entrepreneur Programme is now in its third year and has become a standard on the curriculum of secondary schools and for third-level students in the region.

For the first time this year, the programme has expanded to take in Limerick secondary schools and the University of Limerick.

Michael Carmody, president of the Institute of Technology, Tralee, explains: “The Young Entrepreneur Programme is designed to introduce students to the world of entrepreneurship, empowering them to create their own opportunities and fostering a spirit of enterprise that will stay with them throughout their working lives.”

Shannon Development’s chief executive Vincent Cunnane said the Business Boot Camp is “an ideal platform for the students to receive feedback from leading business people, giving their business ideas a critical reality check”.

Mr Cunnane said innovation is at the heart of economic recovery and “we recognise the importance of connecting students with the business community”.

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