Young Entrepreneurs Thrive in Uncertain Times

foroigeadmin May 27, 2020
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship 2020 logo


JM Woodwork wins the title of Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 with his personalised wood craft and engraving business


Jessie GH Designs takes the title of Foróige Innovator of the Year 2020 with her real life comic series to create understanding about what it’s like to have Asperger’s


The winners of both The Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 and The Foróige  Innovator of the Year 2020 were announced today (27/05/20) via Zoom hosted by leading youth development organisation Foróige. 


The Youth Entrepreneur of the Year competition is a highlight of the Foróige year where the Top nine youth driven businesses in the country, who have participated in the NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, are invited to present their achievements to an expert panel of Judges.  The competition took place online this year with young people taking part in both regional and semi final competitions to be selected as a finalist.


Joseph Mannion, aged 15, from Dungarvan attends Meánscoil San Nioclás, Co. Waterford took the title of Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, for his business JM Woodwork and Personalised Engraving.



A passion for music and sustainability is at the core of Joseph Mannion’s business, JM Woodwork and Personalised Engraving.  He got the idea for his business when he was leaving primary school and wanted to give his teacher a personalised present – a bodhrán stick with a message from Joseph on it. His father taught him the woodwork skills he needed and his interest was sparked from there. He started to experiment with different types of wood for the bodhrán sticks, being a bodhrán player himself from the age of three. This led to the creation of JM Woodwork and Personalised Engraving which offers personalised bodhrán sticks which can be customised by the type of wood and engraving. Joseph’s vision for JM woodwork is to provide his customers with a high quality, hand turned, individualised and unique stick. 


Jessica Griffin, aged 18, from the Cork Life Centre, in Cork was the winner of the Foróige Innovator of the Year 2020 with her business, Jessie GH Designs ‘One Piece Missing’.


‘One Piece Missing’ is a Real Life Comic Series to educate people about what it’s like to live with Asperger’s. Being diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child, Jessica wanted to create a comic book series to make Autism easier to understand. Growing up there was no one in books or on television that reflected Jessica’s life and so ‘One Piece Missing’ was born. Jessica’s goal with the ‘One Piece Missing’ Comic Series is to provide knowledge, comfort and support to people living with Autism. The comic will also help parents introduce their children to the fact that it is ok to be who they are and no matter what their struggle is, support is there.



Seán Campbell, CEO Foróige said “The NFTE Programme changes the lives of young people by enabling them to develop core skills in business and enterprise, and in doing so, helping them to unlock their individual talents and potential. It puts the career path of 'entrepreneur' firmly in the sights of the young participants and gives them an 'I can and I will' attitude that is quite remarkable. This attitude has enabled these young people to persevere through the past few turbulent months, to continue with the programme and to develop their impressive businesses.



“We have been incredibly fortunate to receive Dormant Accounts funding through the Department of Education and Skills and corporate support from basis.point and JP Morgan  to grow the Foróige NFTE programme.  Over 4,000 young people and 120 Schools and Youth Projects right across the country took part this year and this is something that we are incredibly proud of..


“Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the young people of NFTE showed their resilience and determination to continue with over 90% of participants continuing with their businesses and completing the programme. 


“The winning groups will also have the thrilling opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Youth Entrepreneur Awards in Vienna in 2021”.


The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Programme is a world recognised, youth entrepreneurship education and development programme, provided by Foróige in Ireland.  It is affiliated to NFTE International.


Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists


Inishowen Pens - Scoil Mhuire - Buncrana, Co Donegal

One of kind wooden pens and personalised pen clips.


Artistic Adventures  - Duiske College, Co. Kilkenny.    

A range of fun and original colouring and stationery products


Bee Fresh- Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

Reusable beeswax wraps, a sustainable alternative to clingfilm and tinfoil.


Twelve Month of Irish Traditions and Superstitions - Carndonagh Community School, Co Donegal      A 56-page booklet comprising Twelve Month of Irish Traditions and Superstitions.


Gettin Eggs  - Ardscoil Phádraig, Granard, Co. Longford

Sustainable and environmentally friendly farm which provides high quality eggs to the local community.


Kingwood Craft - Scoil Úi Mhuíri, Dunleer, Co. Louth

Hand painted wood Christmas decorations.


Soaptazia -  St Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton. Co. Leitrim

Unique handcrafted SLS FREE soap bars with vivid and distinct scents.


Amber and Hazel Handmade Pots - Portlaoise FETC

Upcycled high quality decorative flower pots using recycled materials.




Best Innovation Award Finalists


Book Worms - St. Clare’s Comprehensive School, Co. Leitrim 

A thumb book holder in different sizes and colours.


Caties Scrunchies - St.Dominic's College, Ballyfermot


Duck and Co - Royal and Prior Comprehensive School, Raphoe, Co Donegal      

A wooden duck utensil which enables the steam to release from a pot.


Choose Your Path - Duiske College, Graiguenamanagh Co. Kilkenny

Choose Your Path is a business dedicated to writing choose your own path books.



Enhanced Digital Stethoscope for Remote Auscultation.


Resin Inspired - Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin Dublin

Bespoke handmade resin jewellery.


Wide Awake - Castlepollard Community College, Westmeath

The Wide Awake is a sleek lightweight device; which emits an intermittent low frequency sound and parental instruction in response to a fire alarm alert to wake a child and aid escape from the home in the event of a fire.


SES - St. Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim 

Handmade and unique timber products (clocks, tables, etc.)  SES uses recycles unused timber to create beautifully crafted items.







For further information please contact:

Hannah McGovern, Foróige Marketing Communications Officer

086 035 4139


[email protected]


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