'We made ladybirds, frogs, and butterflies out of plastic bottles' - eco-friendly kids get creative at the Junior Entrepreneur Programme showcase
Eco-friendly lunch bags, a cushion for your stiff school chair, and garden ornaments made from recycled plastic - these were just a few of the creative projects on show at the Junior Entrepreneur Programme All-Ireland showcase today.
Primary school students from all over the country arrived in the RDS for the awards with business ideas to rival the top board rooms of Irish companies.
The Class of the Year award went to Castlemartyr NS from Cork. The innovative 5th class bunch tapped into the popularity of Pokémon cards and designed a colourful card game GalackTyco.
With characters of all kinds from a dragon called Firebolt to Mr Hurley, the game can be played by any number of children with five cards each.
There were many practical projects on display too, with Detail Bracelets from the girls of Scoil Bheinin Naofa Cailin in Duleek, Co Meath walking away as Creative Pioneers. They made €2,070 profit.
Their high-tech creation meant that the wearers of their simple bracelets could install all their details, from emergency phone number to allergy information, on a QR code.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of projects to make young environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg proud.
Sixth class in Griffith Barracks Multi-D school in Dublin were the proud innovators behind RE&RE. They sold all 125 biodegradable lunch kits they had made, with bees wax wrap replacing cling film and mesh sandwich and fruit bags, as well as bamboo keep-cups.
An artistic project from St Brigid's Convent in Killester, Dublin 'Gairdin' also focused on helping the planet.
Sarah Curley (11) from Artane told Independent.ie they hoped to reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean with their recycled garden ornaments made with teacher Ciara Concannon.
"We made ladybirds, frogs, and butterflies out of plastic bottles," she said.
"We made €1000 profit, and we also gave back €300 we had borrowed from our school."
And as the summer holidays approach and more children will be out in the great outdoors, a kit to treat stings from nettles to wasps from bright sparks in St Anthony's school in Ballinlough, Cork was named as Genius Product.
Editor-in-chief of the Irish Independent Fionnan Sheahan presented the award to the Top Team, Gaelscoil Bhride, in Thurles for their bilingual boardgame Get Up and Go which encourages children to leave the iPads at home and get active.
Co-founder of JEP Jerry Kennelly said the concept behind the programme was to encourage children to engage with the adult world and consider the impact their ideas can have on business.
"We have tried to have a very inclusive platform - it isn't based on tech. We are hoping they see that entrepreneurs take a risk, come from all backgrounds and have an important place in society."
Celebrating the young minds of the future, 67,000 children have participated in the programme since it was founded in 2010 and it’s been proven to reinforce the critical learning elements from the primary school curriculum.
During JEP, children invest a small amount of money and need to monitor costs and sales closely to ensure they create a profit.