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Students commence 2018 entrepreneurship mentoring programme

  • An intensive 4-week mentoring programme, as part of University College Dublin’s (UCD) 2018 Start-Up Stars Programme, kicked-off earlier this week at NovaUCD with six (6) early-stage ventures and a total of 17 student team members.

    The entrepreneurship programme, now in its 4th year, has been developed by UCD Research and Innovation, the UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, as a framework to support UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

    The sponsors of the 2018 UCD Start-Up Stars programme are; AIB, Arthur Cox, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

    The 6 new ventures taking part in the programme are;

    Dr Noodle is developing a new noodle made from potatoes. Potatoes contain all the amino acids that humans need and are rich in trace elements and microorganisms, making them a perfect ingredient for a new noodle product. The members of the Dr Noodle team are; Wenyang Jia, Zhihao Zhou, Tianjiao Chen and Jingru Wang,postgraduate students in the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering.

    Elixitronic is developing a personal connected health home device to accurately measure the presence of cystic fibrosis pathogens in a blood sample, to help minimise the number of visits that individual cystic fibrosis patients need to make to hospitals for treatment. The members of the Elixitronic team are; Camille Sylver O’Malley and Christina Kenny, who are both completing the MSc in Biotechnology and Business in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business.

    Get-Volvd is a developing an app to promote campus events of third level institutions in a single platform to enable students become more informed about and involved with such events. The members of the Get-Volvd team are; Tejaswini Kumar, Mohamed Jama and Lorenzo Battilocchi, undergraduate students in the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics. 

    Kogii is developing 'intelligent' smart bike light sensors designed to improve road safety for cyclists by measuring the lateral distance between bicycles and passing vehicles. The sensor data will also be used to develop interactive visualisation maps to show dangerous cycling zones at differing times of the day.

    The members of the Kogii team are; Callon Eldon, a postgraduate student in the UCD School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering with Andrea Pignanelli and Karl Roe, postgraduate students in the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics.

    O2Cycle is developing a fashionable scarf accessory, made with a carbon filter, to prevent cyclists inhaling pollutants from vehicles whilst they are out cycling on the roads. The members of the O2Cycle team are; Clare McGurk and Ilona Margras, both undergraduate neuroscience students in the UCD College of Science and Sneha Saloni, who is completing a Masters in Gender Studies in the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

    Spare Space is developing an app to enable students, who need to store belongings, to identify and rent easily accessible and affordable space in houses in close vicinity to third level institutions at which they are studying. The members of the Spare Space team are; Marysol Angeloni and Conail Bridges, undergraduate students in the UCD College of Arts and Humanities.

    The 2018 UCD Start-Up Stars Programme began earlier this year with cross-disciplinary workshops and course modules delivered at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy. During this period students from across the University explored and evaluated a variety of real world problems before forming teams to develop start-up solutions to address the identified problems.

    Nine (9) student teams pitched their start-up ideas to a panel of judges who selected the 6 early-stage ventures to proceed to the mentoring phase of the programme.

    Welcoming the students to NovaUCD, Tom Flanagan, UCD’s Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said, “We look forward to helping the students develop their innovative business ideas into real business ventures over the next few weeks. While at NovaUCD I encourage them to take full advantage of the mentoring, the networking and the expertise that surrounds them here as we want them to succeed.”

    The mentoring programme will consist of a series of structured workshops, taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops as well as regular pitching sessions. In addition there will be opportunities for the teams to network with the NovaUCD community of entrepreneurs. Each team will also be given a cash stipend and office space at NovaUCD during this phase of the programme.

    Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy, said, "Programmes such as UCD Startup Stars are key to giving UCD students an opportunity to apply what they have learned at UCD in a meaningful way. Irrespective of the success or otherwise of the start-ups taking part on the programme, what is of most value is that the students are nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset that will serve them well in their future carers no matter path they follow."

    Majella Murphy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School said, “During the next month the UCD Start-Up Stars experience will push the students beyond their comfort zone to rise to the challenge of being real life entrepreneurs. I hope that the experience gives them the enthusiasm and confidence to pursue their start-up ventures after the completion of this programme.”

    At the final workshop, to be held in mid-June, each student venture will present to a final judging panel. Based on evaluation of the presentations and submitted business plans one overall winning team will be selected who will be awarded a €3,000 prize to help them on their start-up journey.

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