NovaUCD Launches New Entrepreneurship Initiative for Students at University College Dublin

Guest speakers at the Nova Vision kick-off event are; Dr Alison Darcy; Eóin Tuohy; Faye Walsh Drouillard; Charlie Gleeson and Sarah Walker.

NovaUCD Launches New Entrepreneurship Initiative for Students at University College Dublin

- Woebot Health Founder and President keynote guest speaker at Nova Vision kick-off event

NovaUCD has today announced the launch of a new initiative which aims to further cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among undergraduate and postgraduate students at University College Dublin (UCD) and to inspire them to address future challenges through innovation.

Simon Factor, Senior Manager, New Ventures and Investments, NovaUCD, said, “We are delighted to launch our new entrepreneurship initiative, called Nova Vision for students at UCD. The key goal of Nova Vision is to nurture sustainability and technology, in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and to empower students in contributing to positive global change through entrepreneurial activities. We hope as many students as possible attend the Nova Vision kick-off event later this month.”

The kick-off event for the Nova Vision initiative will take place in the UCD Village on 27 February (4 pm – 7 pm) and will include several guest speakers who will share insights of their entrepreneurial journeys to date and their passion for innovation.

Click here to sign-up for the Nova Vision initiative. 

The keynote guest speaker at the event will be UCD Alumna, Dr Alison Darcy, a clinical research psychologist, the founder and President of Woebot Health and the creator of Woebot, an evidence-based, AI-powered mental health support tool which is available as a smartphone app.

Dr Darcy launched Woebot Health in 2017 with a team of psychologists and AI experts. Since then the app’s user base has grown to 1.5 million people and the company, headquartered in San Francisco, has now raised over $120 million in funding.

Dr Darcy who received the 2023 UCD Alumni Award in Social Sciences, holds a PhD, an MLitt and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from UCD. Last September she was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in AI.

Nova Vision keynote guest speaker Dr Alison Darcy, the founder and President of Woebot Health 
(Credit: Marc O'Sullivan Photography). 

The other confirmed guest speakers at the Nova Vision kick-off event are; Faye Walsh Drouillard, Founder and General Partner, WakeUp Capital; Charlie Gleeson, General Manager, FreeNow, Ireland; Sarah Walker, former Strategic Engagement Director, Dogpatch Labs and Eóin Tuohy, Founder, Sports Impact Technologies.

Charlie Gleeson, a graduate of the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, was previously the founder and CEO of Zipp Mobility, a NovaUCD-based company which was acquired by ZEUS Scooters in 2023. Eóin Tuohy, a UCD graduate with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MEng in Mechanical Engineering and Business, previously worked at the European Astronaut Centre developing medical devices and wearables for space flight.

Vish Gain, journalist, will be the Nova Vision event moderator.

Click here to sign-up for the Nova Vision initiative.

Students participating in the initiative elect to take part in one or more of the following Design Sprint sessions (4 pm – 7 pm) which will be held at NovaUCD, each of which is designed to channel student creativity and collaboration in specific UN SDGs.

  • Sustainable Communities (27.03.24): Focused on addressing urban sustainability, responsible consumption, and production through innovative ideas.
  • Educate and Innovate (03.04.24): Focused on improving education quality, creating job opportunities, reducing poverty, and promoting well-being and innovation.
  • Climate for the Planet (10.04.24): Focused on enhancing solutions to address climate change challenges, with a focus on protecting our planet, lands, and oceans.

These Design Sprint sessions aim to educate, inspire, and foster a culture of innovation among participating students.

The Nova Vision initiative is sponsored by Terra Solar with support from the NovaUCD founding sponsors, AIB, AMD, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson and Goodbody, and the UCD Foundation.

Students who take part in the Nova Vision initiative may wish to further develop their entrepreneurial ideas through the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition. Now in its 10th year this competition provides a framework to support UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of this competition is to assist 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.

Ten (10) teams will be selected to participate in the 4-week, full-time, in-person competition which will take place at NovaUCD from 27 May to 20 June. A final pitching event takes place on 20 June at which an overall winner will be selected and will be awarded the Tech Sustainability Prize of €3,000 sponsored by Terra Solar.

The closing date for applications for the 2024 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is 19 April.

Click here for further information on the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.


13 February 2024

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, e: