Business News

New UCD Student Innovation Fund awards €15,500 to six early-stage start-ups

By Business & Finance
09 April 2014

Six early-stage start-ups being established by UCD students have been awarded a combined total of just over €15,500 through the UCD Student Innovation Fund.

This new fund has been established by the UCD Student Centre in association with the UCD Students’ Union. The aim of fund is to encourage UCD undergraduate and postgraduate student inventors and entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to secure funding to assist them in further developing their start-up ideas.

At a Dragons’ Den style event, held in the UCD Student Centre, over 30 business ideas were pitched to a panel of judges who decided to fund six of the ideas.

Speaking after the event, Dominic O’Keeffe, UCD director of Student Services and Facilities said: “We were delighted with the diversity, enthusiasm and creativity of the UCD students who participated in this event. This event demonstrates that UCD students are among the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs and innovators and that by providing positive support, encouragement and access to some early-stage funding that we can assist them to turn their business ideas into start-ups.” He added, “Given the high level of engagement from UCD students on this our inaugural event we now plan to run this an event annually.”

On receiving €1,000 funding for his business idea HireMe, Donal Tobin, a UCD economics and finance undergraduate student said: “My business idea is to establish HireMe, a ‘LinkedIn for students’, to assist with graduate recruitment. I am delighted to receive this funding which will really help to accelerate HireMe’s growth and development. I would like to congratulate the UCD Student Centre and UCD Students’ Union who did a great job organising the event.”

Ciara Keane, a UCD physiology undergraduate student, who received €3,000 in funding for her idea to establish a website that will allow women to read and review women’s health products all across the world, to help them find a product what will best suit their needs said: “I want to help women make informed choices about the health products they were buying, saving them both time and money.”

Shane Keaveney recently completed his PhD in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. His start-up idea, developed with Robert Dowdall, a UCD Energy Systems postgraduate, is to develop a method of creating high-quality, dry, energy-dense pelleted material from low-quality, wet biomass or waste in an energy efficient manner for fuel applications. On receiving €4,000 funding to further develop this idea Shane Keaveney said: “It is great that this UCD competition exists to spark entrepreneurial students and to kick start them with critical early-stage support.”

In addition to financial support, the student entrepreneurs can also avail of ongoing support and advice from the UCD Students’ Union and the UCD Student Centre and where appropriate participate on programmes such as the UCD Commercialisation Bootcamp held at NovaUCD.

Mícheál Gallagher, president of the UCD Students’ Union said: “I was delighted when this opportunity came along for the UCD Students’ Union be able to help students realise their entrepreneurial goals. Sometimes all it takes is some seed funding and business support to help transform an idea into reality.”