The Punt: Gold medals for biz whizkids
WATCH out - student Jennifer Greally or one of her fellow brain boxes might one day be employing you.
The secondary school students have been awarded gold medals for outstanding results in last year's Junior and Leaving Certificate business exams.
The Business Studies Teachers' Association of Ireland presented the awards at an event yesterday hosted by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland at its offices in Nassau Street, Dublin. The awards celebrate students who got top grades in accounting, economics and business. The winning students were Lorcan McCann from St Fintan's High School in Sutton in Dublin, David Dalton from Heywood Community School in Ballinakill in Co Laois, Conor Browne from Belvedere College in Dublin, and Jennifer Greally from Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Cork. Their teachers were Jenny Marshall, Paul Broderick, Olivia O'Connor, Rachel Keoghand Mary Roche. The Punt has always wondered why companies and indeed the State don't do more to encourage and celebrate this sort of thing.
Young Scientist is a wonderful and inspirational event. Is it time for something similar for business? A Young Entrepreneur event showcasing business projects would be a great event.
Hedgies score big over past year
Activist investors get a bad rap but Pershing Square's campaign to drive up the bidding for Botox maker Allergan helped it reap a whopping $4.5bn for investors last year.
Bill Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management, was the most successful hedge fund boss last year, in terms of delivering returns for investors, according to a report from LCH Investments.
The 48-year-old's fund gained a massive 40pc last year, compared to an average of just 1.4pc for the industry, according to the report.
Pershing Square's big bet was on Allergan, which became the subject of a titanic takeover battle between Ireland-based Actavis and Valeant.
Meanwhile the semi-retired George Soros topped the list for the all-time greatest gains, according to LCH. Soros has made $41.9bn for clients from his Quantum Endowment Fund since 1973. Back in 2011 he returned money to clients from his Soros Fund Management and now manages his own fortune.
UCC Ignite programme
Still on the subject of students, the Ignite programme - a nine-month business incubation scheme run out of UCC -has an interesting line-up of participants for 2015.
Apps and software are king, with one of the tech products really standing out. Conor Browne, a graduate of UCC's BComm programme, has developed an app called 'Wazere'.
Wazere is described as a "geo-tagging photo-sharing app" that allows users to take a photo that can only be opened by the recipient in a certain geographic location. The Punt can't really think why anyone would want to do that, but the technology sounds pretty cool all the same.
Wazere is due to hit the market soon, and Browne is looking to expand it to the US within three months. Wazere was a winner of Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Feasibility Fund, and was also awarded €10,000 as a winner of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur competition.
Another product the Punt could certainly use is being developed by the brother and sister team of Shane and Ciara O'Brien. They've come up with an app called iSave that aims to help users set, manage and achieve their savings goals.
It's the stuff of Charlie Weston's dreams.
Other products include farm safety devices, low-fat crisps for fitness fans and a project management system for Students' Unions and similar bodies. The Ignite programme aims to nurture and strengthen entrepreneurial potential and is based at UCC's Western Gateway Building.