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Dublin Students Scoop Gold at Global Innovation and Enterprise World Cup

(L-R): Wendy Bould, Caoimhe Currie, Aoife Dardis, Katie Grogan, Keith Walsh

Three teenagers from St Joseph’s College, Lucan, Co. Dublin have taken the Gold Award at the SAGE World Cup 2018 (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship), taking place in Durban, South Africa. The students were announced last night as the global champions of the Socially Responsible Business category for their enterprise creating and publishing children’s books that feature a hero/heroine with a disability.

Delegations from 15 countries, including two from Ireland, travelled to South Africa to compete in the prestigious competition.

The innovative all-girl team has already produced three original illustrated story books which promote their important message of inclusion. Through these stories, they are challenging what they see as the lack of representation of those with disabilities in children’s literature. This is a meaningful issue for the team who have personal experience of loved ones one with a disability who have faced discrimination.

When developing their enterprising idea, the team liaised with organisations including Barretstown, Enable Ireland, Blossom Ireland, The Irish Wheelchair Association, Epilepsy Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland.

A percentage of the income generated from the sales of the books is donated to the particular charity that represents those with the highlighted disability.

The teenagers, who developed their enterprise through our Senior Action Programme have won a number of previous YSI Awards including the overall Silver Award at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland Awards in 2017. They have also accessed financial support through YSI’s Social Innovation Fund which was created to support young people sustain and develop socially innovative ideas.

As the national Co-ordinating Host for the SAGE World Cup, YSI chose this team to represent Ireland at this year’s competition. It is the third time that Ireland has taken the Gold Award in this category.

“We are so proud to represent Ireland at the SAGE World Cup and are delighted to be bringing home the Gold Award. We believe we are making a real difference and are looking forward to developing our project throughout Ireland and beyond. We’d like to thank everyone in YSI for their continued support and our fantastic YSI Guide and teacher Catherine Bligh and our teachers who accompanied us to SAGE Wendy Bould and Keith Walsh, all of whom have helped us every step of the way.”

Aoife Dardis, a member of the No Limits team

Ireland was also represented at this year’s World Cup by a team from Largy College, Clones, Co. Monaghan. The YSI All-Ireland Gold Winners 2017 competed with their initiative project aiming to remove the stigma around mental health. Their viral videos have already reached over 2 million people.

“Competitions like these demonstrate the immense power that teenagers have to be innovative. These young people have a real grasp on human, societal and environmental issues, as seen here in South Africa and indeed through our own work with thousands of young people each year in Ireland. Nurturing this creativity through our education system is vital to creating resilient and entrepreneurial young people equipped with the skills to meet the many challenges facing us in a rapidly changing world. Watching these YSI students excel on a global stage makes me extremely proud and I congratulate them, their teachers and their Principal on their wonderful achievement.” 

Rachel Collier, CEO and co-founder, Young Social Innovators