St. Mary’s students scoop top prize at enterprise competition


‘Grass Girls’ Katie Quirke, Jennifer Maloney, Rachel Lynch and Niamh Kavanagh, with Gary Lowe, Programme Co-Ordinator, Ger O’Donovan, Joan Kelleher, Business Advisor LEO Cork North and West,, Cllr Seamus McGrath, Mayor of County Cork, Ann Doherty, Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise, LEO Cork North and West, and Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council at the finals of the Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West Cork Schools Enterprise Programme 2017. The event took place in County Hall, Cork.

Students from St Mary’s Secondary School in Charleville walked away with the top prize in Cork County Hall on Friday last at the Regional Final of the Cork North and West Schools Enterprise Programme. ‘Grass Girls’ is a young enterprise company made up of four entrepreneurs, Rachel Lynch, Niamh Kavanagh, Jennifer Maloney and Katie Quirke, and their business idea is ‘gender tags’ for calves. These transparent stickers for calf cattle tags make it easy for farmers to identify male and female calves at first glance, and are used on newborn calves to distinguish the gender of the animal. High quality transparent stickers are placed over the number on the tag; thus pink transparent for a heifer, and blue for a bull. The girls worked very hard on their business over the past 6 months, taking their product from the idea stage through to production, and sales and marketing, as part of running their student enterprise over the academic year.
The girls’ unique idea won them great acclaim at the North Cork Enterprise Regional Finals, held in Mallow last month, where they competed against over 60 companies and were named ‘Best Overall Senior company.’ The girls are supported by Cormack Tagging, one of only two agents in the country who are involved in tagging, and Grass Girls products are promoted on their website for their ‘true usefulness’ and high quality. Other farming associations such as ICSA, (Irish Cattle and Sheep Association) are also very excited about Grass girls ‘gender tags’ which can be bought through: Cormac Tagging, Tuam, Galway, the Grass Girls Facebook page, and in the local co-op and vets.
Speaking at the event, Head of Local Enterprise at the North Cork Local Enterprise Office, Kevin Curran, thanked the teachers for the support they provide to their students and said, “We are seeking the next generation of entrepreneurs and the standard on display here today is very impressive. Congratulations to the finalists. We look forward to seeing you again as clients of the LEO in the years to come.”
The competition is part of the National Student Enterprise Awards, in which over 17,000 students from all over Ireland take part each year. The girls from St. Mary’s Secondary School will now go on to represent  North and West Cork at the National Final of the Student Enterprise Awards which take place in Croke Park on 3rd May.