A 16-year-old who developed an anti-microbial face-mask storage case has won top prize at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals.
Matthew McVicar from Co Monaghan developed Coppercase after noticing the excessive number of face masks being disposed of in his community.
The St Macartan's College student said that just three minutes in a Coppercase will leave your mask free from Covid-19 and other viruses and bacteria.
The product is now being sold in pharmacies in Ireland and the UK.
"Hundreds of studies have proven the antimicrobial effects of copper and Coppercase is one of only seven companies in Europe who have this authorisation to place copper on the market as a biocide," said Matthew.
Runners-up in today's finals which was held virtually and broadcast from Croke Park were Amy's Y2K Vintage Shop from Lough Allen College, Co Leitrim.
The young entrepreneur set up an online store that sources and sells vintage clothes.
In the Junior Category, the top award went to a group from Salerno Secondary School who created a 'go green now' pack which included a tree kit with Coillte-sourced high quality acorns.
Today's event was hosted by RTÉ's Rick O'Shea and broadcast live to hundreds of finalists, students and teachers across the country.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar who joined in today's event told the finalists that it was an incredible achievement to have made it to the finals given all that has happened in the past year.
"Everyone who took part should be very proud of all that they have achieved. Special mention to their teachers, parents and all those who helped them along the way," said Mr Varadkar.
"The ability to create an idea, turn it into a business and to run that business is a skill that will be invaluable later in life.
"Ireland has a proud history of entrepreneurship and no doubt those here today will all go on to achieve great things."
Michael Nevin, chair of the Local Enterprise Office’s Enterprise Education Committee, said it was no surprise to see students respond to the challenges thrown up by the pandemic by channeling their ingenuity and entrepreneurship into creating services or products that help address ongoing issues in society.
The initiative from the Local Enterprise Office began in September and 29,000 students from almost 500 schools took part.