Two young entrepreneurs with a scheme to convert cow manure to cash will represent Ireland at a global youth entrepreneurship showcase in New York attended by Chelsea Clinton.
Cousins Linda and Clare Dolan, 17 and 16, have devised a way of turning cow manure into odourless fuel briquettes and set up a business, Mure, through the Foróige Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (FNTE).
The fifth-year students from St Clare’s Comprehensive School in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, who come from a farming background, will represent Ireland at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) global showcase celebrating youth entrepreneurship in New York this March.
Mure is an eco-friendly product and has proven to be a more efficient fuel than peat.
“Mure’s aim is to reduce global warming. Our product is renewable and made out of a completely natural resource — cow manure,” said Linda.
A year-long study carried out by the girls in conjunction with Sligo Institute of Technology found their briquettes more efficient than peat alternatives. “Ours have both a higher calorific value and a longer burning time,” said Linda .
The main marketing challenge for the budding businesswomen is persuading customers that the fuel is odourless due to the drying and processing it undergoes. However, the girls are also willing to cash in on the humourous aspect of their product.
“ ‘Your Effluence is our Affluence’ is our business motto,” said Linda.
The cousins have developed several products, including a fire log and a fire bag, which includes briquettes, kindlers, and a fire lighter, and have generated an income of €1,154 to date. They are hoping to sell their products nationwide and are in consultation with several fuel stockists and garage chains.
In Ireland, 1,000 teens have participated in national youth organisation Foróige’s entrepreneurship programme, generating a turnover of €250,000 since the FNTE programme started while also learning a wide variety of business and interpersonal skills.
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