Street smart, go-getting, profit making Amy Keatinge is the winner of the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2013 organised and run by Foróige for her business CoZey SoundZ. The Trade Fair and Awards Show took place at The Helix, DCU today. A total of 1,500 participants set up 850 businesses as part of this year’s NFTE Entrepreneurship programme generating a collective turnover of €250,000. The programme runs from September to May every year.The programme teaches young people to think like entrepreneurs, to take calculated risks, to be open to learning and be empowered to own their own futures.
Amy won the award for her business ‘CoZey SoundZ’ which manufactures and sells colourful ear muffs with inbuilt ear phones. Her target market is primarily women aged between the ages of 7 and 30 or anyone who wears ear muffs and likes listening to music in the winter. GAA fans have shown a keen interest in her product as the product can be customised in the various club or county colours for supporters.
Commenting on her win she said “All my hard work has paid off even though I faced some tough challenges and decisions with the business. I’m delighted. I hope to expand my product range to include products suitable to other seasons. My involvement in the progamme has inspired me to try and achieve 475 points in my Leaving Certificate to become a primary school teacher. I’m excited to see what my future holds.”
Second place goes to a group of five entrepreneurs - Eavan Mc Donagh, Susan Brannigan, Amber Mooney, Nicole O’Boyle and Katie Harrigan from Mercy College, Sligo for their business Adaptable Books, a series of four children’s books dealing with issues of bereavement, separation, cyber bullying and the death of a pet. Third place goes to Alex Fitzpatrick from Blanchardstown Youth Service for his business 'Love at First Bite', a specialist cupcake business.
The overall winner was chosen by an expert judging panel including Bobby Kerr, CEO, Insomnia; Linda Keating, Director, Marie Keating Foundation, Hugo Mac Neill, MD Goldman Sacs; Sophie Morris, MD Kooky Dough and John Crimmins Prospectus Consultants. Seven finalists made an elevator pitch to the judges ala Dragon’s Den style for the top prize.