By Zara Hill
Budding entrepreneur, Katie O’Sullivan from Holy Rosary Secondary School is the lucky winner of the seventh annual BEST Competition and the top prize of €1,000. She made it all the way to the final, impressing judges with her clever innovation: ‘’Snap & See” 3D Lenses.
With huge participation from three of the local schools – Holy Rosary Mountbellew, Scoil Mhuire and Garbally College – this year’s judging panel (John Power, Gerry Kelly and Pat Ward) had the difficult task of choosing the overall winner from 80 entries. Katie was thrilled to win the competition, saying: ‘’it’s fantastic. I genuinely didn’t expect to win anything but it was definitely a pleasant surprise.’’
A member of the BEST judging panel for the past few years, John Power said he was impressed by the 14 final projects that excelled in terms of ‘’quality and preparation’’. ‘’Like a lot of good ideas, Katie’s is a remarkably simple idea. 3D is now very common and most of the hit movies in recent years have 3D Versions. 3D TV is at the early stage of development, but is certainly growing. Katie has developed a Prototype clip on 3D lens – similar to clip on sunglasses. We believe customers will love them”, said John. Katie came up with the idea of ‘’Snap & See’’ while on a trip to the cinema to see a 3D movie in Killarney with her parents Stephen and Ann from Ballagh, Menlough. ‘’I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses so I had to force the 3D glasses over my own pair for the entire movie. It was uncomfortable and inconvenient so I decided to try and come up with a solution,’’ remarked Katie.
Katie’s Business teacher, Ms Burke worked with her and the other participating students in the school to produce their prototypes and help them prepare their presentations. Hazel Burke remarked: ‘’the BEST competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to brainstorm business ideas and look for gaps in the market. Katie’s idea is such a brilliant one that solves an everyday problem for people with glasses. As a teacher, I loved getting to hear all of the students’ ideas and see how they developed them throughout the course of the competition.’’
For Katie, the most enjoyable part of the competition was discussing her idea with teachers, students and other people.‘’It was nice to see people’s reactions and listen to their opinions on my product’’, remarked the aspiring journalist. Having won the top prize of €1,000, Katie remarked: ‘’no new clothes I’m afraid. Instead it’s all going into my Credit Union account and will probably stay there until after I leave school.’’ This year’s competition was sponsored by the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre (BEC) and the Credit Union. For more about the 2015 BEST Competition, including a list of the other prize winners, projects and the after story video, visit our blog at ballinasloelife.wordpress. com.
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