Last Friday, the 12th of May, the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) Competition Final for secondary school students took place at East Coast Bakehouse’s Centre of Innovation. Twenty shortlisted projects from the original 100 applications, were reviewed in details by the judges. The overall winner was Blathnaid Murphy, a student at Our Lady’s college Greeenhills, who impressed judges with her business, “Daisy’s Pawsome Bowties”. Blathnaid, at twelve years of age, is the youngest winner of the DYI competition.

Prizes were also awarded in each of the three categories (Science/Technology, Business, and Social Enterprise) for both individual and team entries. This is the fourth year of the awards which focus on all aspects of Innovation.

According to Breanndán Casey, BDM of The Mill Enterprise, “This competition has gone from strength to strength each year, and with circa 100 applications, it’s fair to say that Innovation is alive and well in Drogheda. We work with our partners State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, and Fitz Scientific to visit all nine schools in the region to highlight the innovation that is currently occurring locally, and to ensure that students have an opportunity to flex their creative muscles”.

Over 50 students had an opportunity to question a panel of local innovators including Alison Cowzer of East Coast Bakehouse / Dragon’s Den, Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific, Cormac Bohan of State Street, and Sean MacEntee of The Mill Enterprise on starting and growing a business, and how to ensure that innovation remains a focal point of your business. Alison Cowzer of East Coat Bakehouse commented “I am extremely impressed by the innovation on display today across all three categories. The standard is very high, and I can see how the judges had an extremely difficult process to pick the winners. Based on the level of innovation displayed, Drogheda’s future is very bright”.  

Organised by a voluntary group of local business people, teachers, and The Mill Enterprise Hub, the competition challenges Drogheda’s students to think about an innovating career in science, social enterprise, or business.

The 2017 winners who received their certificates and cash prizes included:

  • “Daisy’s Pawsome Bowties” – Overall winner of DYI 2017, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills (Blathnaid Murphy).
  • “YAMA music portfolio” – Business Group Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills
  • “Daisy’s Pawsome Bowties”– Business Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills.
  • “Help bees throw seeds” – Social Enterprise Individual Category, Scoil ui Mhuiri (Patrick Dorian)
  • “Totem” – Social Enterprise Group Category, Drogheda Grammar School
  • “The antimicrobial potential of tree bark extracts” – Science Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills (Niamh Ann Kelly)
  • “Edible insects for sustainable future” – Science Group Category, St. Oliver’s Community College

“It was great to have the diverse range of ideas this year, and more importantly, to see how the students have worked on their ideas over the past three months”, says Sean MacEntee, a Dircetor at The Mill Enterprise Centre, “We also had 80 students attend the Innovation Workshop at Coca-Cola in March which gave students an opportunity to work on the innovation process.”

 “We expect at least 1 in 10 of Drogheda’s students will be running their own business when they finish education says Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific. He continued “Blathnaid has already won a National Student Enterprise Award, and is the youngest winner of this competition. In the future, I’ve no doubt that these students will be employing people in Drogheda and making a very positive contribution to the local economy and community. This project gives them an opportunity to work on ideas and interact with like-minded students and entrepreneurs.”

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