STUDENTS from schools in Mallow and Kanturk have shown they have what it takes to become Ireland's next business leaders.
Ten teams from schools across the region recently showcased their innovative idea in a Dragons Dens style competition organised by the North Cork Enterprise Board (NCEB).
A DIY Easter egg making kit and a line of children's books highlighting recycling and healthy eating were two of the top ideas presented by students at finals of the Cork Schools Enterprise Programme in the Mallow GAA complex.
In December of last year a call went out to schools across North Cork to come up with innovative ideas for the coveted Best Business Idea award.
More than 80 teams entered the competition, with the top ten going through to present their work to judges in the grand final.
The judging panel, which included Mallow based business people Dan Murphy, Geraldine O'Brien and Jerome O'Sullivan, were given the tough task of picking the winners from the thought provoking projects on show.
The girls from St Mary's secondary school in Mallow scooped the top prize in the senior category with their Lesson In Line project, which involved the production of a series of children's' books highlighting the importance of healthy eating and recycling.
The boys from Colaiste Treasa in Kanturk took the top prize in the junior category with their Make Your Own Easter Egg kit.
Pupils from the Kanturk school also secured second and third place in the junior category with a teaching tool entitled The Highs and Flows of Ireland and their design for a shopping basket for disabled people.
The Cork Schools Enterprise Programme is just one element of a comprehensive enterprise programme for students organised each year by the NCEB.
Other initiatives include the Student Enterprise Awards and the Applied Business Question competition.
An NCEB spokesperson said they are committed to fostering a real spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among students attending local schools.
"This Dragons Den style competition generates a lot of interest amongst the schools in the region and the students really enjoy pitching their business ideas to the judges," said the spokesperson.