Student Challenge


17
Feb 14

Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards to Help Inspire Third-level Students

Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards to help inspire third-level studentsEntrepreneurial students can be in with a chance to win a prize from an overall €30,000 cash prize fund and €30,000 consultancy fund, which includes a €10,000 first prize, in the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards competition.

Ireland’s Minister for Small Business, John Perry, TD, said the competition aims to spur third-level students to develop innovative business proposals and develop a real-world business venture.

The Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Intel, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Grant Thornton, are Ireland’s biggest and longest-established student enterprise competition for third-level student teams from the whole island.

The sponsors will also provide guidance to the students in areas such as intellectual property, market research, finances, technology development, public relations and advertising.

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2
Jul 13

Pharma firms create research hub

By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton

Launching the Synthesis & Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre at the University of Limerick (UL) yesterday, Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said: “This centre is to turn good ideas into good jobs.

“The pharmaceutical sector is crucially important to Ireland and employs 60,000 people, it exports €50m of product and it is absolutely essential that we develop the new opportunities in this rapidly changing sector.”

The Government has invested €30m to super the new ‘think tank’, with a further €10m coming from the industries involved.

Up to 90 research jobs will be generated in third- level colleges which will feed into the centre at UL.

Mr Bruton said the UL centre will draw world-class researchers to help develop new products. It will also, he said, act as a magnet to attract new pharmaceutical companies here.

Mr Bruton said: “This centre will be a unique resource that the industry can tap into.

“We pride ourselves in being able to promote collaboration in a way that other countries haven’t. We are creating a new environment for promoting commercialisation of research. That’s the key.”

Ireland is home to eight of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies and six of the top 10 ‘blockbuster’ drugs are now made here.

Professor Kieran Hodnett, scientific director of the new centre at UL, said they will research topics important to the manufacture of medicines.

Prof Hodnett said: “Of all the medicines manufactured in the world, some part of half of all those medicines are manufactured in this country.”

He said the new centre will strengthen the position of pharmaceutical companies based here by conducting shared research, which will make their operations here more efficient and cost effective.

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25
Jun 13

Govt pumps €21m into Enterprise Ireland fund to commercialise third-level research

Govt pumps €21m into Enterprise Ireland fund to commercialise third-level research

Govt pumps €21m into Enterprise Ireland fund to commercialise third-level research

The Irish Government is to pump €21m into Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund to support the commercialisation of further third-level research in 2013. The goal of the funding is to speed up the development of innovative new products and services and increase the number of new technology-based start-ups spinning out of third-level institutes.

Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, announced the funding this morning.

According to Bruton, Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund will be available to researchers in the third-level sector to commercialise ideas and inventions at all stages of development.

Spawning new Irish start-ups

The ultimate goal is that this research will help to spawn new start-ups and new industries – and ultimately, jobs.

Enterprise Ireland awards such commercialisation funding to projects that are addressing a gap or need in the market by developing innovations that will ideally be ready for licensing to Irish industry or may form the basis of a new start-up company in two to five years.

“Over the past decade, Ireland has built a system of research and innovation that ranks extremely well internationally – the challenge now at a time of jobs crisis is to put in place measures that will turn these achievements into economic growth and jobs,” said Bruton this morning.

“This fund will provide support for projects seeking to take innovations and develop them into commercial products and services that can sustain businesses and ultimately create jobs,” he said.

So far this year, Enterprise Ireland has funded 24 commercialisation projects valued at €5.3m across a wide range of areas, including ICT, life sciences, food, manufacturing, engineering and energy.

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21
Apr 13

Student Project that Tackles Food Waste Problem Wins Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award

A Trinity student-led initiative has won the prestigious Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) ‘Minnovation’ Award at the competition finals.

The winning ‘Food Glorious Food’ project aims to bridge the ever growing gap between food waste and food poverty. The SEI has recognised the success of this Dublin based project in tackling the food waste crisis in Ireland.

Ireland is the 5th worst nation in Europe for food wastage per head. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we produce 1 million tonnes of food waste each year. The ‘Food Glorious Food’ project has created a ‘virtual food bank’, whereby restaurants and catering facilities with surplus food, which may once have been thrown in the rubbish bin, are linked with charities through a smart phone app. Those charities can then redistribute the surplus produce to the most vulnerable within our society.

Commenting on winning the award, final year Business and Economics student and Project Leader Iseult Ward said: “Everyone at Food Glorious Food HQ is overwhelmed at the success of the project thus far. To win the ‘Minnovation’ award is undoubtedly a massive step in the development of the project. Thanks to the support of the SEI and their financial backing, we are hopeful that the project, which relies upon the tremendous effort of student volunteers, will be able to expand beyond the current pilot scheme to across the nation”.

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12
Apr 13

Job permits to be increased by 50pc

A total of 2,000 graduate-level job opportunities in Ireland have been keyed into Government targets over the coming year.

New employment permits within the ICT sector will be increased by 50pc within the coming year, as a result of new reforms.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton have also pledged a 33pc reduction in the processing time for employment permits.

And there will be an improvement in the appeals process and a reduction in the number of appeals.

They also said that there would be a broadening of the eligible occupations list and improved customer service and communications.

Irish ICT company Version 1 is just one of those firms to benefit.

The Dublin-based group employs more than 350 people and has hired several people in senior technology positions through the employment permits system in recent years.

This has allowed the company to win new business and create new jobs. Version 1 also announced that it is hiring 10 people, who have all graduated from the new ICT conversion courses.

The employment permit system is demand-led and there is a global demand for high-tech skills.

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5
Apr 13

Bantry students launch West Cork tourism website

The Bantry team behind the new website. Pic West Cork Times

The Bantry team behind the new website. Pic West Cork Times

RTE has “Dragons Den” but in Bantry, Ireland’s future entrepreneurs can all be found at Bantry Community School.

For six transition year students at the school, tapping into West Cork’s biggest asset was an easy and worthwhile project that is proving very successful indeed.

“Tourism is the biggest employer in West Cork and we came up with an idea that makes it easier for visitors to get all the information they need about places to stay in the area.

“Not only this but we wanted our product to be the ‘one stop shop’ for tourists planning a holiday in West Cork,” student Niamh Cotter told West Cork Times.

The students designed a website that lists not only the hotels and B&Bs in the area but also holiday homes, hostels and campsites.

“We want people to be able to find everything they need to enjoy a holiday in West Cork on our website.

“We found from our research that visitors planning a trip like to be able get all the information easily and our website allows this,” Niamh continued.

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3
Apr 13

€1m satellite technology competition opens for Irish entries

€1m satellite technology competition opens for Irish entries

€1m satellite technology competition opens for Irish entries. Image depicting the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit. Credit:European Space Agency.

Start-ups and third-level researchers with ideas for new innovations using satellite navigation technology can now submit their entries for this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). The winning entry from the Irish region will avail of free incubation space at the National Space Centre in Co Cork.

As part of the overall €1m prize fund open to 24 regions, the National Space Centre is sponsoring the Irish region’s prize. The overall contest is supported by the European Commission and European Space Agency.

The National Space Centre, which is based near Midleton in Co Cork, is seeking entries from start-ups, individuals and researchers at third level to submit ideas based on satellite navigation applications.

“Irish entries enter the Irish regional prize. From that, there is an Irish regional winner who goes forward to represent Ireland at the international competition later this year,” explains Fiona Eivers, who is based at the National Space Centre

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6
Jul 12

ALR Innovations wins top prize at Limerick business awards

ALR Innovations wins top prize at LIT Business AwardsALR Innovations wins top prize at LIT Business Awards

A Limerick start-up company that has designed the world’s first automated recycling technology for flat-screen TVs has been awarded seed funding and consultancy supports to the value of €75,000 after claiming first prize in Limerick Institute of Technology’s (LIT) LEAP Business Awards for 2011/2012.

ALR Innovations, founded by Limerick engineer Dr Lisa O’Donoghue, expects to commence manufacturing in 2013 and is already at an advanced stage of discussions with potential customers for the technology in Ireland, Europe and the Far East.

The awards were for companies on LIT’s Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Platform (LEAP) and were presented by Minister at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Jan O’Sullivan at the Millennium Theatre, LIT. The total €100,000 awards fund is the largest administered by any of the 16 enterprise programmes for start-up businesses at institutes of technology in Ireland.

ALR claimed a first prize of equity investment from AIB Seed Capital, which is managed by Enterprise Equity, to the tune of €50,000.  It also received a cheque from LIT of €5,000, plus €25,000 worth of consultancy/supports, including legal advice from Limerick’s and one of Ireland’s best known firms Holmes O’Malley Sexton and mentoring from the Discovery Partnership.  The winner will also receive free membership of Limerick Chamber.  ALR also received an award for best Intellectual Property, sponsored by the HDS Partnership.

ALR’s technology is driven by international regulatory directives on the mandatory removal of hazardous materials from LCD screens. Materials contained within LCD screens hold significant financial value and recycling organisations actively tender for the opportunity to recycle screens. ALR’s technology will be capable of recycling up to 80 units per hour, compared to the current manual rate of three to four units per hour by recycling companies.

Speaking after the announcement of the awards, O’Donoghue said:  ”I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed mentoring and support on a range of areas of the business, including developing a business plan ready for market, through the LEAP programme over the past 12 months.  But this award is a huge boost for my company and at a critical time.

“Securing funding is extremely difficult in the current environment for start-ups, but the package available now, including the equity offer from AIB Seed Capital Fund, gives the business great security at what is a really exciting and a very important stage of its development.”

The award is the latest accolade for the emerging young company and its CEO O’Donoghue, including the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, the JCI Young Person of the Year Award 2011 and the Molex Frederick A. Krehbiel II Medal for frontier research with this recycling technology.

Second place in the awards went to Co Clare company Lavida Food Ltd, which specialises in the sourcing and supply of high-quality, gluten-free foods for the wholesale and retail market in the UK and Ireland. They receive a package worth €15,000, including €5,000 in cash from LIT, plus legal and mentoring supports and Limerick Chamber membership.  The third placed company, games design and development company NeverMind Games, from Thurles, Co Tipperary, received €1,500 in cash plus similar supports.  Fourth prize went to Eventmaster, an online event registration and ticketing company.

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5
Jun 12

UL Spin-Off Firm Creates 50 Jobs.

Action Point Technology Group announces 50 new jobs

Action Point Technology Group – a technology services and software development specialist company founded by UL Computer Systems graduates, John Savage and David Jeffreys – has unveiled expansion plans to the end of 2014 that will result in the creation of 50 new high-grade technology jobs.

The announcement was officially made by Finance Minister Michael Noonan at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick.

The jobs will be mostly created in the software development side of the company’s operations, with the first phase of the expansion, incorporating seven of the 50 posts, currently being finalised.  The next phase of recruitment, of 30 software developers, begins immediately, with the remainder to come on stream between now and the end of 2014.

Action Point Technology Group anticipates an 84% increase in turnover in the current financial year alone to €3.2m.  Overall growth targets for the next three years will bring employment levels from 26 to 69, with the majority of these new posts created at its headquarters in Limerick. Action Point Technology Group also has offices at Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2 and the National Software Centre, Mahon Point, Cork.

The company’s growth has been concentrated on the Irish market to date and shared between its technology management and software development services. Largely due to significant expansion of business in the UK, the Irish market will be overtaken by export trade, which will account for 70% of sales, over the coming years, with the growth dominated in the software development sector of the company’s operations.

Commenting at the announcement, Action Point Technology Group CEO David Jeffreys said, “This is a pivotal moment for Action Point as it marks an exciting phase of expansion of our company.  Thanks to our unique proposition encompassing all aspects of technology and software development, we have achieved steady growth we established Action Point in 2005 but we are now setting ourselves more ambitious targets based on the very real opportunity we believe there is for a specialist operation like ours.We believe that as a business, Action Point very much mirrors a wider opportunity for the Irish economy in the years ahead. That’s in delivering highly advanced services and products for the export market.”

Announcing the expansion of the indigenous Limerick company, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said, “I am delighted that Action Point’s expansion phase will lead to the creation of 50 jobs.   This expansion is an example of the increasing opportunities for service providers, especially in high end IT services and infrastructure and it shows that indigenous Irish companies can rapidly expand and compete in international markets.”

Founded in 2005 by David Jeffreys and John Savage, graduates of UL’s BSc Computer Systems programme, Action Point Technology Group delivers a unique proposition in technology services in Ireland by combining technology services with software development.

Speaking at the announcement, UL President, Professor Don Barry said; “At UL, we believe in the importance of helping our students to work positively with others, to operate in challenging and changing environments, to develop the skills to articulate their ideas and perspective, and to enlist the courage it often takes to make a real difference in the world.  The Founders of Action Point, John and David and their team are helping to make that real difference for our local economy.”

The company’s software development solutions involve a bespoke technology innovation partnership, including a highly skilled and multi-disciplined team, to take client companies from concept through to ‘go-to market’ stage. The service includes business analysis, software product development and accessibility of client companies to a vast library of software codes written over the last ten years. Its technology services include design, installation and management of technology services for medium size to large companies.  Services also include risk minimisation and disaster recovery solutions, involving both storage and virtualisation, as well as cloud.

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23
Apr 12

All to play for with Sandbox’s Irish hub

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Kyra Maya Philips of the Sandbox business networking website yesterday.Photograph: Eric Luke

AN INTERNATIONAL business networking organisation, which aims to bring the brightest, youngest entrepreneurs in the world into contact with each other, opened its first Irish “hub” yesterday, with the blessing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Sandbox was founded in Switzerland three years ago and now has about 650 members, all under 30 years old. Its adviser here, John Egan, says it will “identify exceptional people who have already made an impact in business at a very young age”.

A number of the young entrepreneurs identified by Sandbox in other countries were in Dublin yesterday for the photocall with Mr Kenny and Eoghan Murphy TD, who is also advising Sandbox here.

Among them were Mariano Kostelec from Portugal, who founded uniplaces.com, a website to help students find student accommodation throughout Portugal, and Dominik Grolimund from Austria, founder of wuala.comwhich is a secure cloud-storage system for computer data anywhere in the world.

Mr Murphy said the community would help Irish young entrepreneurs develop their skills by introducing them to like-minded peers from around the world, providing access to senior leaders and identifying opportunities to help them reach their full potential.

“We’re a young country and it’s an exciting time for young people who are taking the initiative and launching their own ideas and enterprises. There is huge potential here. Sandbox launching a hub in Dublin is recognition of that.”

Mr Egan said: “We know already that there are a lot of amazing young Irish entrepreneurs doing exceptional things,” Mr Egan continued.

“For Sandbox to decide to choose Dublin as their next international hub is a great credit to the work of Ireland’s young business community and a vindication of sorts of the work that they are doing, despite being faced with difficult obstacles every step of the way.”

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