BT awards summer placements to five budding entrepreneurs

7 Mar 2011

Five young entrepreneurs have been awarded summer placements at the University of Limerick (UL) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), following their success at the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2011 held at NovaUCD.

The secondary school students participated in an intensive course in commercialisation skills, and displayed natural abilities for business when tasked with creating viable businesses from ideas on pioneering sports equipment, biomass fuel development and a flood barrier for domestic use.

Katie Pierce O’Shea, Barry Holland, Kate O’Regan and Romy Gerring won the overall group award. The group worked on P-row-tect, a specially designed rowing glove Katie had entered into the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January. 

The marketability and originality of the product caught the judges’ attention. O’Shea who is from Banbridge Academy, Co Down, is preparing to target teams who will participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

William Clackett, who is also a student at Banbridge Academy, was named best individual for the skills and business insight he developed over the week of the programme. Clackett presented a project which was based on research into the affects of toilet paper choices on the environment.

Colm O’Neill, managing director, business, BT Ireland, said, “Business executives that worked with the students last week were given a real uplift, these budding entrepreneurs don’t focus on the negatives, they are too busy inventing the solutions. We should look at as many opportunities as possible to give students business skills from an earlier age, whether it means changes to the school curriculum or more one-week placements in enterprises across the island, for example.”

Devised by BT and delivered by NovaUCD, the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme involved 31 students who were selected from the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The third-level summer placements are organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprise of a one-week placement at UL/NUIG.

Dr Pat Frain, director, NovaUCD, said, “This programme, devised by BT and delivered by NovaUCD, has challenged the students’ thinking and helped them to understand and work through some of the critical steps required to transform ideas into commercial reality. NovaUCD is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with BT on this important initiative to help develop an entrepreneurial culture amongst second-level students in Ireland.”