The finals of the NUIM Student Entrepreneur Awards, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Maynooth, and McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, took place last night.
The culmination of a tough three-round battle, which began with 19 teams from the undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in NUIM, the awards placed a strong emphasis on coaching the students in pitching techniques, communication and basic business skills.
The overall winner was Bespoke Mobile Suits, presented by Fintan Lalor, who received €6,000. In second place was MS Solutions, presented by Eileen Clifford, Ursula Carragher and John Doyle, who received €3,000, and in joint third place were DealCube, presented by Andrew Thompson and James Dowling, and ElectR Cycle, presented by Patrick McElhinney. Both won €500.
Fintan Lawlor’s business (Bespoke Mobile Suits) will provide a mobile tailoring service to busy executives. Lawlor has all the elements of his business in place and will be setting up the company formally after his final exams in May.
Of special interest to the Commercialisation Office was MS Solutions, based on research by Eileen Clifford and her colleagues in the Institute of Immunology, who discovered an opportunity for delivering a therapeutic treatment to alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The promoters of DealCube demonstrated technology they have developed for allowing wholesalers who do not have the time or resources to sell online to effectively do so. They are trading and have demonstrated a solid income in their first foray.
Patrick McElhinney made an excellent pitch for his import business for electric mopeds, which he sourced while on work experience in China.
Throughout the competition, the NUIM Commercialisation Office drafted in judges with domain experience to provide maximum advice to the competitors, including Ciaran Crean of Micksgarage.com and Ted Laverty of Onlinetradesmen.ie. The judges on the final night were Paul Lavery of McCann FitzGerald Solicitors; Christine Flannery, branch manager of Bank of Ireland, Maynooth; Conor Boyce of FRKelly Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys; and Conor Mallaghan of Carton House Estates.
The judges, or ‘dragons’, were instructed by Owen Laverty of the NUIM Commercialisation Office to use viability as the fundamental principle for assessing the ideas, and judge how well the competitors understood their business challenges and market segments.
Photo: Fintan Lawlor is announced as the winner of the NUIM Student Entrepreneur Awards 2010