Eleven Early Stage Ventures Commence NovaUCD’s 2020 Start-up Programme for Student Entrepreneurs

 - €18,000 prize fund available for participants on the 2020 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition

The 2020 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, an intensive 4-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs, has kicked-off today with eleven (11) early-stage ventures and a total of 30 participants.

The entrepreneurship programme (formerly known as the UCD Start-Up Stars Programme), now in its 6th year, is run by NovaUCD as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

NovaUCD is the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD).

One of the early-stage ventures participating on this year’s competition is Productivity App which is developing a recommender systems-based app to provide people who work remotely with personalised workday schedules, including breaks, taking into consideration their individual work styles and preferences, as well as their weekly workload, while helping them maintain social connections. The members of the team are, Ciara Feely and Courtney Ford, both PhD students in the UCD School of Computer Science.

The aim of the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, which this year is being run virtually, is to assist the students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD said, “This year given the COVID-19 pandemic we are running the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition virtually. Over the next four weeks we will be working with the participating student entrepreneurs to help them to begin to transform their innovative business ideas into early-stage ventures. Our hope is that this programme gives them the knowledge and confidence to build substantial new ventures.”

The 10 other early-stage ventures taking part in this year’s competition, in addition to Productivity App are;

Appointment Pal is developing an app to make booking a doctor’s appointment more efficient. The members of the team are; Conor Moloney, Seán Patterson and Katharina Rehbock, who have just completed the MSc in Business Analytics in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

betterways.co is creating a platform that helps people find the career opportunities they deserve and guide them through their job search. Mahendra Indukuri, who is studying an MSc in Cognitive Science in the UCD School of Computer Science, is leading the team.

Byowave is developing custom controllers for disabled gamers. The members of the team are; Brandon Blacoe, Louis Gunning and Maksimilian Suvajev who have just completed ME degrees in Electronic and Computer Engineering in the UCD College of Engineering and Architecture, and Eibhlin O’Riordan, a game design student at TU Dublin. 

Emofit is developing a mental health support app. The members of the team are; Qipeng Liu, a PhD student in the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocessing Engineering and Zhipeng Ni, an undergraduate student in the UCD School of Computer Science. 

Joyst is developing a new musical instrument deploying precision analogue joysticks for note activation, pitch-bending and note articulation effects, coupled with an intuitive and easy-to-learn note layout. The members of the team are; Philip Snell, William Langrell and Edward Byrne, who have just completed Masters’ degrees in the UCD College of Engineering and Architecture, with ongoing support from Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. 

JustFeedMe is developing an app that links takeaways cafes and restaurants with clients enthusiastic to buy unsold food at a lower cost helping to reduce food waste. The members of the team are; Eric Giannitrapani, Joshua Mansfield and Mohamed Ohaida, undergraduate students in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business.

Medsimilars is developing a platform through which customers can access detailed information on biosimilar medicines approved by the European Medicines Agency and order such medicines. The members of the team are; Aamir Khan, Deepali Ingawale and Shivani Dusane, MSc in Biotherapeutics and Business students in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Tribe is developing an app to help people learning a new language to make connections with native speakers to help them learn the language. The members of the team are; Afreen Zaheer, an undergraduate student in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business and the UCD Sutherland School of Law, Maxence Vidal, who has just completed a BComm International in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business and Misan Erewa-Meggison, an undergraduate student in the UCD School of Medicine.

UCD Formula Student (UCDFS) is developing and constructing an electrical race car for amateur drivers to compete in the Formula Student Electric competition. The members of the UCDFS team taking part in this competition are; Peter Gatley, Kelly Kaulsay, and Scott Mulligan, undergraduate students in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The overall UCDFS team consists of over 50 UCD engineering and business students. 

Uni21 is developing an app that transforms students’ lecture material into multiple choice questions (MCQs) and allows students to play against their fellow classmates, to promote active learning and enhanced memory retention.         The members of the team are; Garreth Byrne, a MSc Biotechnology and Business student in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ashwin Manikandan, a MSc student in the UCD School of Computer Science and Matthew Clarke, a computer applications student in DCU.

The 4-week mentoring programme, which will use the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas approach, will include a series of online structured workshops and interactive workshops delivered by Raomal Perera and Rohan Perera of Lean Disruptor, amongst others. Topics such as, customer development; value proposition; working in teams; design thinking; prototyping, environment mapping; financial planning and effective fundraising and pitching, will be covered.

At a final workshop, to be held in mid-June, each start-up will present to a judging panel. Based on evaluation of the presentations an overall winning team will be selected and will awarded a €5,000 cash prize; the second placed team will be awarded a €3,000 cash prize and the third placed team a €2,000 cash prize. The other 8 remaining teams will each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

The sponsors of the 2020 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition are; AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

ENDS
27 May 2020

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, t: + 353 1 716 3712, e: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie.

Editors Notes

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies. At NovaUCD, we also offer a range of tailored modules, courses, seminars and programmes to researchers and students in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and technology commercialisation, including the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. www.novaucd.ie