Skillar crowned UCD Start-up Stars

Business | Thu 23 Jun | Author – Business & Finance
Skillar UCD-Startup-Stars
Skillar co-founders and UCD students; Stephen Jones, Andrew Desmond and Laurence McNally

Mobile application to accelerate part-time recruitment process wins the 2016 UCD Start-Up Programme for Students Award.

Skillar, an early-stage UCD student venture, has won the 2016 UCD Start-up Stars Programme. Skillar is developing Quik a new mobile application, to accelerate the part-time recruitment process.

Quik will allow employers to streamline the hiring and job-search process by enabling them to advertise part-time jobs and subsequently shortlist and talk to locally-available applicants who apply through the application. Quik will also provide validation of the previous work experience of applicants to shorten the recruitment and interview process.

The founders of Skillar are UCD students, Laurence McNally (Masters, Mechanical Engineering), Stephen Jones (4th year, Chemical Engineering) and Andrew Desmond (Masters, Digital Innovation).

UCD Start-up Stars is an entrepreneurship programme, developed by NovaUCD, UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, to provide a framework and support for UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

UCD Start-up Stars began earlier this year when students undertaking workshops and modules at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and at UCD Innovation Academy explored and evaluated a variety of real world problems before forming teams to develop start-up solutions to address the identified problems.

Six student ventures, with 14 team members, were then selected to participate in an intensive mentoring programme which has taken place over the last four weeks at NovaUCD. The aim of this mentoring programme was to assist the participants in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops and regular pitching sessions. In addition, each team also received a cash stipend and office space at NovaUCD.

Following final pitches Skillar was selected as the overall winner, as it was judged to have the most commercial potential, and the founders received a cash prize of €3,000 sponsored by Xilinx. Each of the five runners-up (profiled below) also received a cash prize of €500 each sponsored by Xilinx.

Laurence McNally, Skillar co-founder said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed our last four weeks at NovaUCD during which we have further developed our start-up idea and we are delighted that Skillar has won the 2016 UCD Start-up Stars Programme. Skillar is currently at the feasibility phase and we plan to use our prize to further develop our product. Our aim is that Quik will be a more attractive and faster solution than traditional CVs and online applications for employers who are seeking part-time staff and individuals who are seeking part-time jobs.”

Brendan Cremen, UCD firector of Enterprise and Commercialisation said, “During the last four weeks we leveraged our start-up expertise and experience to support this group of enthusiastic and entrepreneurial students to develop and refine their start-up ideas. We now look forward to seeing these early-stage ventures move to the next stage of development and launch into the marketplace.”

Professor Suzi Jarvis, founding director, UCD Innovation Academy said, “The quality of the ideas and the student pitches today is testament to the work that is being undertaken at UCD to foster entrepreneurial mind sets and the ambition of our students to tackle big problems. UCD Start-up Stars is a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop, test and launch a business or social venture that they are passionate about.”

The members of the final UCD Start-up Stars Programme judging panel were: Brendan Cremen, UCD director of Enterprise and Commercialisation; Libby Gribben, senior HR director, Xilinx; Ray Fitzpatrick, head of Equity Investment Unit, AIB Group; Raomal Perera, chair, UCD Innovation Academy Advisory Group, entrepreneur and adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD; and Niamh Mac Sweeney, managing editor with Business & Finance magazine.