Louth teenager is Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2021
‘Dlighted and so grateful’ Tadhg O’Brien wins for handmade wooden pen business
Tadhg O’Brien (17) from Co Louth has won the title of Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 with his business called Scriptorium Pens. Photograph: Maxwells
A 17-year-old from Co Louth has won the title of Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 for his handcrafted wooden pen business.
Tadhg O’Brien, a student at Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer, beat more than 5,000 young entrepreneurs throughout Ireland with his business, Scriptorium Pens. He will go on to represent Ireland at the European Youth Entrepreneur Awards in Switzerland in 2022.
“I just can’t believe it,” the student said: “I’m delighted and so grateful to be given the opportunity to represent my county and Ireland.”
The teen uses wood from native Irish trees, such as beech, ash, and ancient Irish bog oak, and individually turns, shapes and polishes the pens. Tadhg added that there are “plenty more pens to be made” before he heads to Switzerland for the European awards next year.
The Foróige competition celebrates young people who first participated in an Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme in their school or youth project. The top nine young entrepreneurs went on to pitch their businesses to an expert judging panel.
Sligo student Fiona Karkia, aged 17, won in the Best Innovation Category for designing a contactless traffic-light system for pedestrians. She was inspired when walking during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and she felt there had to be a safer way to activate pedestrian lights than pressing a button.
Séan Campbell, the chief executive of Foróige, said the entrepreneur programme encourages young people to be “brave, take a leap of faith and back themselves and their abilities”.
“It’s remarkable for a teenager to start a business at any time, but to do it in the midst of a global pandemic is something quite extraordinary,” he added.