Offaly Teens Finalists Of Youth Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017

Claire Hutchinson (17) & Gabrielle Mooney (15), The Acorn Project, Edenderry, Co. Offaly were finalists of the Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 with their business Nifty Dog Collars.


The event took place in the Mansion House Dublin and the fourteen finalists managing seven start-up businesses pitched their products to a panel of expert judges from the business world including Stephen Vernon, M.D., Green Properties; Laura Lunch, Head of Youth Banking, Bank of Ireland; Siobhan Daly; Senior Supply Chain Specialist, Jazz Pharmaceutical and Judging Panel Chair, John Cahill, Assistant Chief Executive, Foróige.

Offaly Teens Finalists Of Youth Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017

Foroige Youth Entrepreneur finalists, Claire Hutchinson and Gabrielle Mooney

Claire and Gabrielle’s products are made Using recyclable material, and the dog collars are unique, handmade and available in a variety of designs and colours. Dog owners can purchase a collar for their pet for any occasion. The girls were inspired to set up the business when they noticed an increased interest in dog ownership in Ireland.

The finalists were from Limerick, Offaly, Sligo, Donegal and Dublin. They made the final from 1,000 young entrepreneurs who set up start-up businesses as part of the Foróige Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme this year.


Products developed by the seven finalists included …. Laser made keyring puzzles; Gender neutral clothing; Wheelie bin clips for windy weather; Hand-made soaps for skin conditions; Hand-crafted pencil holders; Personalised dog collars; & Cosmic tie-dyed t-shirts.


Sean Campbell, Chief Executive, Foróige said, “We are so proud of all of the finalists. Entrepreneurship is a rare skill, it takes a special mix of creativity; determination; self-discipline and competitiveness to get a business off the ground. These young entrepreneurs have not only created high quality marketable products and thriving businesses, they have laid the foundation for their future careers and earned critical skills for the modern world. The level of leadership and passion the young people have shown throughout the process is phenomenal and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every finalist.

“For the last four years the winner of our competition has gone on to take the European title. This shows there is something really special about our programme and that the young people coming through it are simply world class.” Mr Campbell finished.   

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