An enterprising student from Malahide Portmarnock Educate Together NS has taken first prize in the junior category of a national competition.
Ava Gilmartin had her eye on the prize when she invented ‘Specrest’ – an innovative device for conveniently storing eyewear.
Her win at the National Student Enterprise Programme marks the first victory for Fingal in the junior category in the 17 years of the programme.
Ava demonstrated her gadget at the national finals in Croke Park, explaining: “It just slides onto your clothing, and your glasses go through it and it keeps them secure and safe all day long.”
The 13-year-old came up with the idea after her mother, a nurse, complained about her glasses constantly falling off at work.
Specrest is an affordable, biodegradable holder for glasses that can slide into bags, pockets, clothing or even sun visors in cars.
Ava is now exploring a patent application for her invention, which costs €5 and is on sale in opticians, pharmacies and supermarkets.
The national awards programme is organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) for secondary school students to help them gain the skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business.
Oisin Geoghegan, chair of the LEO Network and head of enterprise at LEO Fingal, said: “We had three great entrants this year and they all did exceptionally well at the judging process at National level.
“Fingal continues to lead the way in the national Student Enterprise Programme, with more than 2,700 secondary students participating this year, from 29 schools.”
Separately, Fingal’s Best Young Entrepreneurs who will represent the county at national level were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by LEO.
Ciaran Brennan was awarded the title of Best Young Entrepreneur. He also won the Best Start-Up category with €15,000 investment for his construction firm profit system, LiveCosts.com, based in Blanchardstown.
Graham Brocklebank, founder of ed tech firm Peer in Castleknock, won the Best New Idea category with a €7,000 investment fund.
Meanwhile, the winner of Best Established Business, with an investment fund of €15,000, went to Seamus Tighe, founder of Everest Granola Ltd in Blanchardstown.