Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the Gaeltacht

2 November, 2017

min read

More than 750 Transition Year students from Gaeltacht regions in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Meath & Waterford will participate in the Údarás na Gaeltachta – Clár na gComhlachtaí this year.

Joe McHugh TD, Minister of State at the Department of Culture with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands, launched the 2017/18 programme in Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair this week and students from the school were on hand to showcase some of the innovative ideas that they have for their fledgling businesses!

Clár na gComhlachtaí is a hands-on business learning experience developed and delivered in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) and is taught through the Irish language to students attending schools in Gaeltacht regions. Based on the well-established JA Company Programme and Company of the Year Competition, students create, operate and manage their own business. The programme provides numerous opportunities for the development and reinforcement of important academic and leadership skills.

Minister McHugh commented, “I would like to congratulate Údarás na Gaeltachta and Junior Achievement Ireland for promoting a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in the Gaeltacht areas. The entrepreneurial skills and practical business experience developed through Clár na gComhlachtaí will stand these young people in good stead and ultimately benefit the economy of the Gaeltacht.”

Local business volunteers, each of whom is recruited, trained and supported by JAI, mentor the students alongside their teachers as they move from the idea generation stage, to production, marketing, sales, finance right through to going to market.

In February 2018, students will be challenged to report on the progress they have made at Regional Finals. These events in each region will allow the emerging entrepreneurs to display their finished products at trade stands, and be interviewed by a judging panel before pitching their business ideas on stage to a public audience. The regional finals are an ideal opportunity for the students to showcase the knowledge gained and the skills acquired in the course of the programme.

Last year’s winners were Cothú Cinnte, a company from Coláiste Chroí Mhuire, An Spidéal, Co. Galway. Cothú Cinnte produced hand-painted, glazed dinner plates, that were labelled “as Gaeilge” to encourage young people to include more vegetables in their diet and to promote healthy eating.

Based on research on entrepreneurship education, students participating in Údarás Clár na gComhlachtaí are more likely to start their own business, are at lower risk of being unemployed, and are more often in steady employment into adulthood. These projected outcomes are based on the success schemes around Europe, which incorporate the JA Company Programme, on which the design of Clár na gComhlachtaí is based.

Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, commented that “Údarás na Gaeltachta is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in Gaeltacht areas and we would like to thank Junior Achievement Ireland for their commitment to this programme. We are confident that the skills and practical business experience Gaeltacht students will gain through their participation in Clár na gComhlachtaí is a significant building block which will lead to future Gaeltacht enterprises.”

On behalf of JAI, Chief Executive Helen Raftery said: “The support from Údarás na Gaeltachta to run Clár na gComhlachtaí in schools across the Gaeltacht allows students to enjoy real-to-life learning opportunities they might not otherwise have benefited from. With the encouragement of their teachers and their business mentors, the students will gain confidence in many transversal skills such as team-working, negotiation and public speaking – skills which will be invaluable as they progress into the world of work.”