Irish Teens Talk Entrepreneurship at Model SNS

A Non-Partisan Global Leadership Event for Youths

Startup Nations Model Summit

The Inaugural Startup Nations Model Summit drew Irish teens from across the country to Cork city for a discussion about youth entrepreneurship. The model summit aimed to create an awareness and understanding among young people of the opportunities and challenges faced across the nations in starting and growing a business. It also sought to educate decision-makers of the future while developing their interest and skills in addressing high level local and international issues jointly.

This event was led by partners LIT, UCC and Foróige in association with Startup Nations and with support from Cork Innovates, Junior Achievement Ireland and to Bullseye Food Marketing, O’Crualaoi and Taste Cork.

Bringing Teenagers on a Journey from Thought to Action

Event organiser, Gillian Barry (who is also the Enterprise Development Manager with LIT), explained the inspiration behind the Model Summit:

“The day was designed to take the model delegates on a journey from thinking about things to taking action! I wanted to develop an experience that would encourage young people to think about policy development while also fostering the core skills that would help them to affect change. It’s important to nurture leadership skills in our young people and support their development. Creating great experiences to help them on that journey is absolutely vital.”

The role of Foróige as the National Voluntary Youth Development Organisation, through Brid Canny Regional Youth Officer, on the day was to enable the young people express their voice and opinions on each of the topics. The format enabled the young people present to explore the issue and to give concrete recommendations. They fed these recommendations back to the vice president of UCC Prof. John O’Halloran. The young people present enjoyed the experience of being asked the questions and having their opinions actively listened to. Many of those present had experience of operating business through School programmes and Foróige’s NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) programme. The Youth workers, volunteers and teachers present on the day were very involved in the facilitation of the groups, guided by Foróige, and were very pleased with the running of the day. The atmosphere in the room was very positive with young people expressing a wish to return to the next summit.

Tackling the Challenges Facing Young Entrepreneurs

The model delegates focused on key factors (based on the OECD Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Brief) which may help or hinder the youth entrepreneurs of today. They formed recommendations on the following tactics and offered insights and calls to action which were then passed on to the Global Startup Nations delegates. The topics discussed included:

  • What is the role of parents; teachers and other actors in society in promoting or demoting entrepreneurship?

  • Do education and training programmes sufficiently nurture entrepreneurial attitudes and skills?

  • How can young people gain the experience they need to prepare for success?

  • What can financial institutions do to support the youth entrepreneur?

  • How can we engage youth more in business networks?

  • How can market barriers facing youth entrepreneurship be tackled?

An Inspiring Line-Up of Speakers

The model summit boasted a colourful roster of speakers. Coming from a diverse range of backgrounds, the speakers included government advisors, academics and two of Cork’s most inspiring young entrepreneurs. The speakers offered their own unique perspectives on entrepreneurship and discussed the power of young people to affect change.