UCD student start-up GradHow wins Start-up Stars programme

29 Jun 2015

Student start-up GradHow was the winner of the UCD Start-up Stars competition. Pictured: Stephen Duffy, Alan John Browne and Ben Chadwick. Image by: Nick Bradshaw/Fotonic

GradHow, an early-stage student start-up that helps reduce the uncertainty for students when they graduate, has won the inaugural UCD Start-up Stars programme.

GradHow has created an online platform to help students understand employment opportunities and challenge how businesses recruit.

By improving connections between employers and universities, GradHow aims to improve the graduate employment process.

GradHow was founded by Ben Chadwick and Alan John Browne, who have both recently completed third-year commerce at UCD, and Stephen Duffy, who has recently completed first-year commerce (international) at UCD.

The winning team received a cash prize of €3,000, sponsored by Xilinx, and the five runners-up will each get €500.

All of the teams will be given free office space at NovaUCD for the duration of the programme.

Cross-disciplinary focus

UCD Start-up Stars began earlier this year with cross-disciplinary workshops delivered over a three-month period as part of the UCD Innovation Academy’s Creative Thinking and Entrepreneurial Endeavour modules.

During these modules, students from across the university learned creative thinking, teamwork, design thinking and lean business skills.

Following pitches at the end of the modules, six early-stage student ventures, with 16 team members, were selected to participate in an intensive mentoring programme, which took place over four weeks at NovaUCD.

The aim of the four-week programme was to assist the start-ups to refine their ideas, explained UCD’s director of Enterprise and Commercialisation Brendan Cremen.

“During the four-week programme we leveraged our start-up expertise and experience at NovaUCD to support this group of young entrepreneurial students to develop and refine their start-up ideas,” said Cremen.

“We now look forward to seeing these early-stage ventures move to the next stage of development and launch into the marketplace.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years