Over three hundred second level students from counties Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon shared the experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs at a recent student enterprise conference. The event, organised by the Enterprise Boards in Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon was held on November 14th at the Radisson Hotel in Athlone. The conference aim was to foster an understanding of business and encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst second level students in the region. In delivering the keynote address, well-established entrepreneur, Jay Bourke, shared his experiences of setting up a successful range of innovative restaurants, bars and clubs around Ireland. Laura Thorp, owner of Laura’s Cookies, a young entrepreneur based in Wicklow started her own business at the age of twenty one. Laura educated the young attendees with her experiences of running her own business and the challenges she faced and overcome setting up at such a young age. Keeping a tight rein of proceedings, MC, RTE 2FM’s Ruth Scott kept the students energized and felt after hearing the experiences of two hard-working entrepreneurs it was time to welcome on stage, Kevin Kelly, motivational speaker to provide the students with the get up and go and next steps to reaching their hopes of entrepreneurship. Speaking after the event, Anne Browne of Roscommon County Enterprise Board, expressed her delight at the success of the event and went on to say ‘the focus of the day was on sowing the seed of entrepreneurship amongst the students and judging from the reaction of the students to the speakers, we hope to see some of them back with the Enterprise Board in the future starting their own businesses. It is of the great importance to the Enterprise Boards to encourage young people to consider setting up their own businesses as a career path’. Anne went on to thank the students and teachers from the schools for their interest and attention’. The Student Enterprise Conference is one of a range of supports the County Enterprise Boards offer to schools as a means of supporting and encouraging young entrepreneurs. The Board runs annually a student enterprise awards competition which provides students with hands on experience of running their own mini company, together with teacher support manuals. County and City Enterprise Boards are funded by the Irish Government and part funded by the European Union under the National Development Plan 2007-2013. If you would like more information on the supports offered to young entrepreneurs schools please contact Westmeath County Enterprise Board on 044 9349222.