THREE city students look set for a bright future in business after coming up with an innovative air freshening product - and supplying it to five Limerick shops.
Gaelcholaiste Luimni first year pupils Daniel Enright, 13, Oisin Cross, 12, and Brian Oâ€™Riordan, 13, beat 30 other students at the Student Enterprise Awards held in Croke Park.
Organised on an annual basis by the City and County Enterprise Boards, the event is designed to encourage young entrepreneurs.
Over the past few months, Daniel, Oisin and Brian have been working hard at perfecting their product â€˜Odour Absâ€™.
The budding entrepreneurs used the unusual properties of charcoal, which absorbs odour, with a pleasant fragrance.
They then mixed the two together in a case stuck together with glue.
Targeting people who frequently use sports bags - like GAA stars - the trio have already experienced a strong demand for their product so far.
Members of the Kerry and Monaleen football teams have endorsed the product, and pledged to use it on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Singland Motors, MACE and Vevo in Castletroy, and the Limerick Sports Store have agreed to stock the stink-buster.
Oisin said it was a big surprise when they heard their name being called out by the judges.
â€œWe were just ecstatic, and totally shocked. We could not believe it,â€ he confirmed.
Asked why they thought they landed the prize - a cheque for â‚¬300 to develop their product - Daniel said: â€œI think it was because of the individuality of the product made it stand out.â€
Brian added the judges gave his team a series of good ideas, including developing the product with new packaging. They are also working on a second air freshener, for use in a car.
â€œWe definitely want to continue in business: we had a taste for it and liked it,â€ he said.
The trio thanked the teachers and the Limerick City Enterprise Board, who have supported them.
Their business teacher Dathai O Genai said: â€œThe idea itself was different. From winning the Limerick Enterprise Awards to the National Enterprise Awards, they showed great progress. The boys were trying to garner market supply in bulk, so they changed the packaging to make it look like a tennis ball.â€
There was further success for Limerick, when â€˜Pink Lily Cupcakesâ€™ from Salesians Secondary School scooped the Best Display Award in the Senior Category.
Twins Robyn and April Oâ€™Brien had been waking up at 4.30 in the morning to ensure the cakes they sold were fresh on the day.
Eamon Ryan, CEO of the Limerick City Enterprise Board was one of the first to congratulate the winning students, saying: â€œThe student entrepreneurs from Limerick are fine examples of the creativity and energy that exist in our schools. Their enthusiasm for the product, their belief in themselves and their drive to succeed are wonderful to see in such young students. There is no doubt they will go far and Limerick City Enterprise Board is delighted to support them along the way.â€ The awards programme is run by the network of Enterprise boards and the entrepreneurs were marked on key business areas such as innovation, market research, sales, production, marketing, and finance.