Eleven Early-Stage Ventures Commence NovaUCD’s 2021 Start-up Programme for Student Entrepreneurs


The 2021 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, an intensive 4-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs, has commenced with eleven (11) early-stage ventures and a total of 23 participants.

[The eleven participating ventures are profiled below.]

The entrepreneurship programme, now in its 7th year, is run by NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD), as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of the Competition, which this year, like last year, is being run virtually, is to assist the students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

Over 100 students and over 40 early-stage ventures have completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition to date. Among former Competition participants are Zipp Mobility and Joyst Instruments.

In 2019 Charlie Gleeson, then an undergraduate student in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, took part in the Competition with his e-scooter business idea. Since completing the programme Charlie has gone on to establish Zipp Mobility, launch e-scooter shared schemes across the UK, secure over €1 million in seed funding, including €250k from Enterprise Ireland, and crowdfunded over €500k as part of an ongoing campaign on the Spark Crowdfunding platform.

Last year postgraduate engineering students, Philip Snell, Edward Byrne and William Langrell, took part in the Competition with a business idea to commercialise a new MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller for musicians. The controller had been developed by Philip as part of his final year thesis project. They went on to establish Joyst Instruments Ltd, a UCD spin-out company with Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and raise just under €23,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to commercialise the JV-1 Midi Controller.

Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD said, “Over the next four weeks we will be working with the participating student entrepreneurs to help them to begin to transform their innovative business ideas into early-stage ventures. Our hope is that the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition gives them the knowledge and confidence to build and grow new start-ups following in the footsteps of previous Competition participants, Zipp Mobility and Joyst.”

The 4-week mentoring programme, which is using the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas approach, includes a series of online structured workshops and interactive workshops delivered by Raomal Perera and Rohan Perera of Lean Disruptor, amongst others. Topics such as, customer development; value proposition; working in teams; design thinking; prototyping, environment mapping; financial planning and effective fundraising and pitching, will be covered.

At a final workshop, to be held in mid-June, each start-up will present to a judging panel. Based on evaluation of the presentations an overall winning team will be selected and will awarded a €5,000 cash prize; the second placed team will be awarded a €3,000 cash prize and the third placed team a €2,000 cash prize. The remaining teams will each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

The sponsors of the 2021 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition are, AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.


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