Enterprise Ireland is inviting students from third-level institutions across the country who have an innovative business idea "with real commercial potential" to apply to this year's Student Entrepreneur Awards competition.

The awards aim to encourage students from all academic disciplines to explore starting their own business as a career option.

This year marks the 42nd year of the awards.

Ten finalists will be selected to compete for several awards, such as the Cruickshank High Achieving Merit Award, the Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award and the Local Enterprise Office High Achieving Merit award.

The overall winner of the Student Entrepreneur Awards competition will receive a prize of €10,000 and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to support them to develop the commercial viability of their concept.

Other award winners will also receive expert advice and mentoring support from Enterprise Ireland, as well as sponsorship to help them turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality.

University College Cork student Annie Madden, co-founder of FenuHealth, won Enterprise Ireland’s 2022 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Her company develops 100% natural products designed to prevent and resolve stomach problems in horses and ponies.

"The recognition from the Student Enterprise Awards was a great boost for the business," said Annie Madden, of FenuHealth.

"I am now focusing on promoting the products more within the sport horse industry.

"As well as the recognition FenuHealth received, the advice I received from the judges during the Student Entrepreneur Awards process was really helpful, and I have implemented that within the business.

"I would encourage any students who have an innovative idea and entrepreneurial ambitions to consider applying for this year's Student Enterprise Awards," she added.

Other 2022 award winners included SETU student Alannah Pardy of Recapture One, a cloud-based multimedia company specialising in the development of personalised bereavement memorials, and from St Angela's College, Sligo; vitamin C and collagen snack company Rollagen, established by Claire Finnegan.

Richard Murphy, Manager Local Enterprise Offices Support, Policy & Co-ordination Unit at Enterprise Ireland said the Student Entrepreneur Awards have provided young, ambitious entrepreneurs with the opportunity to showcase their innovative business ideas since its inception over four decades ago.

"Every year, we receive over 1,000 entries from third-level students from across the country," he said.

"We continue to be inspired by the high-calibre entries which are a testament to the emphasis that our higher-level institutes place on entrepreneurship.

"The awards are a stepping-stone to success for Ireland's future business leaders and many past participants have excelled in entrepreneurship on both national and international levels," he added.

The closing date for Student Entrepreneur Award entries is Thursday, 16th March 2023 and the award winners will be announced at a ceremony on Friday, 9 June 2023.