Tuesday 23 December 2014

Business pupils would benefit from a science-like exhibition

Published 17/01/2013 | 05:00

Like Supermacs, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition shouldn't work but does. Now in its 49th year, the exhibition was as charming and chaotic as ever last week and an inspiration to another generation of children.

Again, like Supermacs, the idea is being exported to other countries, this time to Tanzania.

That's great but the idea could also surely be exported inside Ireland to other disciplines such as business.

There is a fantastic opportunity for a company somewhere in Ireland to organise the latent entrepreneurial talents of Irish children into something as wonderful and inspiring as the Young Scientist.

We often complain that schools are not business-minded, but what incentive do teachers of business, commerce or economics have to compete at national level?

Schools are full of bright ideas and bright people. There are national competitions for everything from music and sport to science and art sponsored by great names from the business world but there is no great challenge for those interested in making money.

BT Young Scientist is already doing a great job of helping students to think commercially; the young exhibitors are given a helpline number for the Patents Office in Kilkenny and BT has devised a commercialisation course where they choose about 30 students to attend a business bootcamp.

Some, such as 2005 winner Patrick Collison who went on to study at MIT in Boston, have already set up and sold companies for many millions. Forty years earlier, Kildare teenager John Monahan won the competition. He now chairs a biotech company called Avigen in California.

That's all very well but surely some company out there could encourage a new generation of business ideas?

Indo Business

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