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Highlights from BizFactor 2016

Last Thursday, we held our annual BizFactor competition in which eight schools showcased their business ideas and pitched ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to a judging panel of high-profile figures from the worlds of enterprise and education.  All of the finalist schools had participated in a BizWorld Ireland workshop earlier this year.

From extraordinary business ideas to inspirational words from Niamh Bushnell to a judging panel that featured experienced ‘Dragon’ Gavin Duffy, BizFactor 2016 was a great success. We’ve compiled a round-up of the best bits below…

‘Mind and Body’, a business idea from pupils from Scoil Mhuire NS, Broadford was awarded Enterprise of the Year at the competition by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh. The business is a board game that aims to give both the mind and body a work-out and is a shining example of a creative business idea that contributes to society.

The other seven finalists included:

  • Scoil Mhuire, Shankill, Dublin 18 with ‘Zoo and You’, an educational app with live zoo video feeds and animal themed games and crafts including instructions on how to make origami animals. The team was awarded second place in the competition.
  • St Michael’s NS, Castlepollard, Westmeath with ‘Eazy Keyz’, an app that links your piano with a smart device to help you learn to play by lighting up the keys of your piano. The team was awarded joint third place in the competition.
  • SN Chreachmhaoil, Craughwell, Galway with ‘Safety Net’, a button built into all social media platforms that children can click to automatically send an email to their parents if they witness cyberbullying. The team was awarded joint third place in the competition.
  • Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro, Limerick with ‘Mop Socks’. Mop Socks are brightly coloured socks with mops attached to the sole which allow you to clean your floor simply by walking around. The team was awarded a merit in the competition.
  • Gaelscoil Sáirséal, Limerick with ‘Bye Bye to Bullying’, a workshop presentation about how to deal with bullying that is available for schools throughout the country to use in their classrooms. The team was awarded a merit in the competition.
  • St Marys College Junior School, Dublin 6 with ‘Gymlets’, a family gym that includes a health food shop and a sports clothes shop. The team was awarded a merit in the competition.
  • Our Lady’s Grove Primary School, Dublin 14 with ‘Daasie & Co’. Daasie & Co present a sensor for the doors of the Luas which tags passengers of and off automatically with their Leap Card to reduce the number of people who dodge fairs or simply forget.The team was awarded a merit in the competition.

The judging panel included: BizWorld Ireland Ambassador and founder of Casey Games Jordan Casey; entrepreneur and investor on RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, Gavin Duffy; Group Managing Director at Alternatives, Charley Stoney; Head of External Collaboration at ESB, John McKiernan; and MD at Irish TV, Mairéad Ni Mhaoilchiaráin.

Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, delivered a keynote address at the event. She said: “The future of business in Ireland is in the hands of young entrepreneurs like the great contestants we see here today at Bizworld. They are the role models of a future generation and their potential for themselves and for Ireland is immense.  It’s also encouraging to see how engaged our current business leaders are in educating the future generations. Working together, we can speed Ireland’s growth in the global digital economy.”

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh delivered the closing address and presented the prizes to the teams. She said: “The business sector has the potential to make a very significant contribution to entrepreneurship education here in Ireland. Starting and running a business is an act of courage; inspiring the entrepreneurs of tomorrow is an act of generosity that that the whole country will benefit from as these young people become the innovators and job creators of the future.”

BIZ Factor 2016 was sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Enterprise Office, Limerick Local Enterprise Office, pharmaceutical company AptarGroup, estate agents Twomey and Associates and mediation consultants Equita.  The event took place as part of Tech Week, Ireland’s nationwide festival of technology, which took place last week.