A cracking idea of a thirteen year old Clonmel High School student has topped all entrants to secure first prize in the national finals of the Student enterprise awards.
Andrew Butler, a 13 year old from Kilsheelan, has turned an interest in keeping chickens in his back garden into a business that helped him scoop top prize in the Junior Category of the 11th Annual Student Enterprise Awards national finals.
Andrew was awarded first place in his category for his Chook Book series at the awards ceremony in Croke Park.
Having kept chickens since he was 8 years old, Andrew saw a gap in the market for a comprehensive handbook for the fledgling chicken keeper. He penned his first book ‘Beginners Guide to Keeping Chickens’ as a concise manual for beginners and soon followed with a second publication, ‘A Complete Guide to Chicken Breeds’, which contains information on over 95 different breeds of chicken. He is currently in the process of writing a third book on the theme of advanced chicken keeping, funding his business by selling his publications through the Chook Books website and a selection of retail outlets.
After the school and county stages 83 projects were eventually selected for the National Final and the daunting task of facing three high profile judges did not deter Andrew in his quest for success.
To date Andrew has bred Brahmas, Barnevelders, Orpingtons, Leghorns, Minorchs, Bluebells, Light Sussex, Buff Sussex, Blackhorns, Isa Browns, Marans, Thode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. According to his Business Teacher Martina O’Reilly, “Andrew has shown real entrepreneurial spirit by turning a hobby into a business, a business that is fast becoming more urban especially in this economic climate”.
After hearing about his books, Andrew was invited to the National Poultry Conference and this led to a huge increase in sales. He also appeared on RTE 1’s Nationwide and was interviewed for the radio programme Countrywide. As a result his two books are currently out of stock due to the huge demand for them but he is working very hard to fill orders and get the books back in the market place as quickly as possible.
School Principal Shay Bannon said “the school community is delighted for Andrew on his success - he is an extremely popular and well liked student and his achievement in winning a National Award is a wonderful recognition of all his hard work. It is also a great boost for the promotion of enterprise within the school and acknowledges the ongoing work of staff in the business department in encouraging and fostering entrepreneurship in the High School”.
“Andrew himself found the setting up of the business very hard work but worth it when he saw his Post Office account increasing. He is so glad that it was compulsory to set up a business in the school and is grateful for all the help and encouragement that he got”, he said.
Supported by the Tipperary South County Enterprise Board, Andrew researched, developed and ran his business as part of the Student Enterprise Awards Programme and as Junior winner will receive a €300 cash prize and trophy.
Ita Horan, Acting CEO of Tipperary South County Enterprise Board was one of the first to congratulate Chook Books, saying, “Andrew’s hard work and drive means he has created a successful business at a very young age and is a wonderful example of the entrepreneurship and ingenuity that thrives in South Tipperary. He thoroughly deserves his great win and South Tipperary County Enterprise Board look forward to seeing this young man develop his business and reach new heights in the future.”
Loman O’Byrne, Chair of the Enterprise Education Committee with the County and City Enterprise Boards said - “The winning student enterprises today are the leaders of business tomorrow and the student programme is delighted to be able to play a key role in fostering that entrepreneurial spirit”.