College calls for the return of enterprising graduates

15 Jun 2009

Dundalk Institute of Technology is encouraging enterprising graduates from its 22,000 alumni with professional experience to return to the campus to develop their business ideas.

The Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) President’s Enterprise Development Programme for Alumni is likely to be of particular interest to institute graduates keen to develop their own businesses, having experienced changed circumstances arising from the ongoing recession.

The programme will offer participants three months of free business training and mentoring from July to September. They will also have free access to shared office space and funding to develop their business concept.

While priority will be given to applicants who have graduated from the institute and worked for five years or more, any surplus places will be allocated to those planning to locate their new enterprise in the northeast region.

It is also envisaged that several participants from the programme will go on to join the nine-month Novation Enterprise Platform Programme commencing in October. Novation has helped foster over 60 new businesses employing more than 300 people over the past eight years.

According to Denis Cummins, president, DKIT, the institute has a long tradition of encouraging and supporting start-up businesses, especially in the small and medium enterprise sector.

“There has always been a strong business culture in the northeast and that has always been reflected at the institute, especially since 1989 when the Regional Development Centre was established on campus to support graduate-led technology companies,” Cummins said.

“As an institute with deep roots in the northeast region, we are acutely aware of our wider societal and economic responsibilities. Given this, we are making a multi-pronged response to the current economic climate and this programme is a key element of that.

“It will allow those from our pool of over 22,000 alumni with relevant workplace experience and an innovative technology-focused idea to access the institute’s considerable business development resources and focus intensely on further developing their concept in a supportive environment.”

Cummins said the institute has also introduced a taster programme in business for those currently out of work, while a new year-long graduate diploma is allowing those with a primary degree at Level 8 on the NQAI scale to achieve a postgraduate qualification in information and communications technology (ICT).

“The graduate diploma in computing is attracting particular interest from graduates of other disciplines who recognise that many of the employment opportunities that do exist and which will exist for the coming period will be in the ICT sector.

“Another programme of particular interest in these challenging times for business is a Higher Diploma (HDip) in Small Enterprise Support, which we will offer on a part-time basis for the first time from September,” Cummins said.

By John Kennedy