Clara Hewstown (14) is the winner of of the Foróige NFTE International Business Plan Competition! She wins an all expenses paid trip to New York City and will attend a special Gala dinner celebrating youth entrepreneurship! Clara was one of eight shortlisted finalists in the running for the prize out of 50 entrants.
She says, "My product is a cook book with no words and just pictures. People just need to look at the pictures to make a recipe. It's for people who have difficulty with reading. I have learning difficulties and I find reading difficult myself. That's where I got the idea. It's also for people with Down's Syndrome because I have a few friends who have Down's Syndrome. 5% of my sales go towards the Leitrim West Cavan Down Syndrome branch.”
The judging panel were:
- Pat Burke, Grant Thornton
- Aoife Campbell, Jazz Pharmaceuticals
- Jacqueline McFadden, SMBC
Meet the other finalists and their businesses.
Michael Conlon (15) - Storybud
"My business is an app for Junior Cert students to help them with their revision. There are quiz questions and you input your own answer and it tells you if you are right or wrong. At the moment it is just for French but I am planning to roll it out for other subjects. It's also Android at the moment and is free to download. The best thing I've learned is that anybody can make a business but it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to make it successful."
Chris Curran (13) - Chess Nuts
"My product is a chess game made with nuts and bolts, I was experimenting in my Dad's garage trying to make different chess pieces out of nuts and bolts. They started to resemble the real chess pieces. I have made quite a few sets now. They are going to be sold in my local SuperValu eventually. I enjoyed a lot of the activities in the NFTE programme."
Apurva O'Leary (17) - Perky Pics & Portraits
"My business is drawing portraits from a photograph. They're 25EUR which is a lot less than the competition which ranges between 75EUR and 800 EUR. I've drawn famous portraits like Marilyn Monroe. I really do want to make people happy with their portraits. I like them to get what they're paying for. Through the programme I have learned how to persevere, to get on with it and get things done."
Connor Monks (15) - Jayden's Magic
"My business is teaching magic and also stage show for corporates and weddings. I've been practicing magic now for 5 years. Dai Vernon is my favourite magician, he lived in the 1890's. My favourite card trick is called "ambitious card routine". My ambition is to become a full time magician and also get a Degree in Arts and Business. I teach students at my school how to do magic and they performed in front of our school. None of them got their tricks wrong! This event was something that came about as a result of the Foróige NFTE programme."
Erika Masterson (13) - School Space Solutions
"I was a mentor at my school and I realised that many people were struggling with their lockers and how to organise them. My product is a shelf you can put in your locker to help you organise your lunch, phone and books. These are only available in the USA at the moment. Our school lockers are really narrow but also tall so your stuff doesn't get much room. The shelf keeps everything neat. The best thing about the NFTE programme are the opportunities to get to sell in the RDS Craft Fair and in my school. I also loved that the programme was not just lessons but really practical too."
Simona Baksaite (17) - Crafty Creations
"I learned how to do origami on YouTube. I made the first decoration for my Mum. She was really happy. I brought it into school and my teachers were amazed. The reactions made me feel proud. I'm happy that people like my work. It makes me feel confident. I want to study business at college and one day, to have employees. I like to be in charge. The NFTE programme has taught me the skills to set up a business."
Aisling Farrell (14) - Unique Hold
"My product is a personalised grip for a hurling stick in your county or club colours or even a bespoke design. When I was shopping for my own the selection was disappointing. I decided to customise them. My favourite one is the floral design. Lots of girls like it! The best thing that happened was attending the RDS Craft Fair. I want to sell the grips in bulk to local clubs and I've been in contact with the North American GAA and I'm trying to negotiate a deal."