On Wednesday 19th October, twenty TY’s were selected to go to an activity day on entrepreneurship in Letterkenny IT. The activity day began at 10:30, so we left our school at 09:00 accompanied by the two business teachers Ms. Conlon and Ms. Gallagher.
When we arrived we were split into two groups, CCBS A and CCBS B, I was in A. Once we were split, we did a few ice breaker games with the host and then we were given our task. The task consisted of creating a product and pitching it to the judges, similarly to “Dragons Den”. In order to complete the task we were given a mentor and had help from Ms.Conlon. However, before we began creating the product pitch and design we were given a talk by successful entrepreneurs, Jenny Timoney, Gerard Grant and Ian Halkin.
Timoney began the talks by telling us about her successes and defeats within the journey of her life. For example she was unable to attend university in Ireland due to taking her final exams in Australia. So, instead she looked for a gap in the market and decided to take the risk in setting up her own business. This at first seemed like a great idea, however, her first business soon went bankrupt and she was once again at a new beginning. She set up another company after this, in which she sold premade sandwiches. It was a slow beginning, however, it slowly began to pick up and shops wanted to stock her sandwiches. Timoney was delighted with her companies success, but when the recession hit she was unable to compete with other brands and her company soon went into liquidation. This was when she hit rock bottom and she didn’t know where to go from there. Yet, she got back on her feet and is now running a successful online wedding planning business. Timoney says she loves her job and it obvious she has a bright future. This was by far my favorite speaker as her story was inspirational and taught me that you should never give up.
After Timoney, Grant spoke to us about his career within “Information Technology Pramerica Systems Ireland”. He spoke to us of how he worked his way to the top and how he is now the vice president of that global firm. This taught me that you can achieve anything you want if you try and that you should always dream big. Next was the founder of “Lottie Dolls”, Ian Halkin, who had a vision to “empower children to be themselves”. He did this by producing a doll which was not promoting unrealistic standards for children and instead chose to base his doll around “real” people. I think this was an ingenious idea and I can really see why his business has took off.
After the talks we began to work on the task, we started to develop our product design and work on our pitch. The product we decided to make was a dog collar that had seasonal attachments and a mood sensor. We felt that our product was unique and was very imaginative and once, it was complete we finished off our pitch and were ready to meet the dragons. Patrick O’Connor and I were the pitchers and the meeting with the Dragons went very well. Once, we completed it, the top three teams would pitch to the entire hall. Our team came fourth so we were just out of cut-off. We were disappointed, however, it was clear the other teams were deserving.
The day finished off with a prize giving ceremony and we were all given certificates. Overall, the day was a great success and an unforgettable experience!