Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Enterprise Ireland launches Student Entrepreneur Awards 2016

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Enterprise Ireland launches Student Entrepreneur Awards 2016

October 29
09:41 2015
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Rob Laffan, Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2015; Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland; Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD; Gillian Slattery, Regional Development, Enterprise Ireland.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today announced details of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards for 2016.

The Awards, now in their 35th year, are open to all full time third-level students in the Republic of Ireland.  Co-sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Grant Thornton and Intel, the Awards attracted submissions from over 1,200 students in 2015.

The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of an ongoing drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students to turn entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. The objective is to encourage third-level students to start their own business as a career option.

With a total cash prize fund of €35,000 and expert mentoring, guidance and consultancy worth €30,000 from the blue-chip sponsors, the Awards provide a great platform for ambitious and enterprising third level students to build a viable and commercial business venture.

The 2015 winner Rob Laffan, a student from Limerick Institute of Technology, beat off stiff competition with his project ‘Tippy Talk’, a bespoke, robust touch-screen communication system for non-verbal children with autism. ‘TippyTalk’ allows the child to communicate their desires, feelings and needs to their parents through the transfer of pictures to text messages. ‘TippyTalk’ can also be adapted to cover other areas of non-verbal disabilities.  Rob is now completing New Frontiers in LIT.

Announcing details of the Awards Minister Bruton said: “As we work towards getting back to full employment we are determined to nurture and support those who start a business in Ireland.  Two thirds of all new jobs come from start-ups… Third level students represent an exciting seed bed for future business start-ups.”

With a practical combination of cash prizes and consultancy, the Awards provide a great opportunity to turn a realistic business idea into a winning project and possibly a commercial business. The sponsors of the Awards bring their expertise to nurturing the finalists in the competition to commercialise their business by providing them with expert guidance in areas such as intellectual property, market research, finances, technology development, public relations and advertising, all aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to develop viable businesses and create jobs.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, explained why students play an important part in driving entrepreneurship, “we need to play to our strengths, like the fact that  Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe.  These young entrepreneurs have the potential to be the next big Irish business success stories and we are pleased to help them onto the first rung of the business ladder”.

To enter the Awards, students are requested to submit a short video that captures their business idea and shows it’s commercial and export potential. If shortlisted, students will need to develop a business plan that shows the judges how viable and well researched the project is. A dedicated website, Facebook page, twitter account and pod casts support the promotion of the Awards and the subsequent winners.

Executives from Enterprise Ireland will present details of the competition to all colleges and institutions between now and the closing date for the competition, 17 March 2016. More information here.

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