I recently facilitated the first day of a two-day ideation workshop in NUIG for transition year students. The event is sponsored by Intel and staffed by the teachers of the participating schools and members of the Galway and Corrib Lions Clubs.
The idea behind the event is to generate an entrepreneurial spirit in the young people attending in the hope that it might encourage some of them to consider starting their own businesses as opposed to looking for a job working for someone else.
Ninety students took part in this event and it was encouraging to see the motivation, enthusiasm and innovation of the participants. The students had to work in teams on a very serious problem facing young people at the moment, the 28% youth unemployment rate. The fifteen teams had to each work on one aspect of this problem and come up with a fully costed solution showing how part of this problem could be addressed. This was to be done in a way that would result in a new product or service being provided, that would involve the start-up of an enterprise and a reduction in the number of unemployed young people. In particular, they were encouraged to use new technology in a creative way as part of this process.
It was very encouraging to see the energy, enthusiasm and innovation of each team in coming up with new angles and solutions to what has seemed to be an intractable problem since the onset of the recession in 2008.
If these students are representative of young people in general then the future of the country is likely to be in good, and in many cases, in entrepreneurial hands.