Emerging HR Start-Up Wins NovaUCD’s 2022 Student Enterprise Competition

Pictured (l-r) at NovaUCD are strive team members, Aness Al Qawlaq, Saoirse Kelders and Sean Hughes.

Emerging HR Start-Up Wins NovaUCD’s 2022 Student Enterprise Competition

NovaUCD today announced strive, an emerging HR start-up, as the overall winner of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition and a €5,000 cash prize.

Students and graduates are unsure of what internships or jobs offers they want to accept during or after college and end up accepting roles that they are not excited or passionate about. In addition, employers are struggling to increase their brand visibility to source ‘the right fit’ and improve retention rates.

To address these issues, strive is developing an online platform to match students and recent graduates to job opportunities by providing an optimal fit between the individual and the employer using a machine learning algorithm and an intuitive user experience.

strive aims to focus on providing higher quality information about career opportunities, transparency, and data driven insights to empower students to find careers they are truly passionate about and to enable employers to improve retention rates and hire better suited candidates for their organisation.

The members of the strive team are, Saoirse Kelders, who has just completed her studies in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, Raena McElwee, who has just completed her studies in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics along with Yevhenii Mormul and Aness Al Qawlaq, both undergraduate students in the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Sean Hughes, a graduate of Global Commerce at NUI Galway.

Aness Al Qawlaq said, “We are delighted to have been declared the overall winner of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, especially as the standard of this year’s competition was very high, with many fantastic early-stage student start-ups taking part.

Saoirse Kelders added, “strive’s goal is to be the world’s first transparency-based recruitment platform, providing equal visibility to start-ups, SMEs, social enterprises, and multinational corporations and to encourage students and graduates to think bigger about the first step in their careers, to be bold, and spark curiosity and excitement for the future.”

Sean Quinn added, “Our next step includes applying for an Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme and seeking support from a Local Enterprise Office to enable strive to implement user acquisition strategies, hire some additional team members and develop and roll out of the strive website and app.”

The NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is an intensive 4-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs. The programme now in its 8th year, is run by NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of the competition is to assist the participating 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) early-stage student ventures and 24 participants took part in year’s competition. Over 60 early-stage ventures and nearly 150 students have now completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition over the last 8 years.

strive was declared overall winner of the competition following final pitches to an external judging panel. Two other participating ventures, Trust Homes and ELTC.earth, were announced as second and third place winners and receive €3,000 and €2,000 cash prizes respectively.

Trust Homes aims to provide a transparent, reliable, and secure housing platform for both tenants and landlords to protect them from scams. Trust Homes removes biases, stress and anxiety in the house hunting process. With user-friendly features and credibility, the platform promotes inclusiveness and provides a fair system for both landlord and tenants to find the right home and right tenant.

The members of the Trust Homes team are, Thejesvi Bhagavath Kumar and Reshma Shetty, postgraduate students in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. 

Pictured at NovaUCD are Trust Homes team members, Reshma Shetty and Thejesvi Bhagavath Kumar.

ELTC.earth empowers communities of advocates to deliver meaningful action on climate change using an ecosystem of products, services and resources to aid them on their sustainability journey. The ELTC (Every Little Thing Counts) platform addresses the reasons why people cannot or do not act. It enables people to implement their own personal actions, alleviating their eco-anxiety while tackling climate change meaningfully.

Damien Mulligan left his corporate role of 15+ years’ experience leading customer experience organisations and programmes in the tech industry to launch ELTC.earth. He has recently completed a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership in the UCD Innovation Academy.

Pictured at NovaUCD is Damien Mulligan, promoter, ELTC.earth

The 7 other early-stage ventures taking part in this year’s competition (profiled below) each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, said, “It was fantastic that after two years of being virtual this year’s 4-week competition took place in-person enabling the participating students to come together at NovaUCD to refine their start-up ideas. We now hope in the months ahead to see many of these early-stage student ventures move forward and develop further and in due course successfully launch on the market. I would especially like to congratulate the strive team, the overall winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.”

Pictured (l-r) at NovaUCD are, Aness Al Qawlaq, Saoirse Kelders and Sean Hughes (strive), Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD, Caroline Gill, Innovation Education Manager, NovaUCD, Reshma Shetty and Thejesvi Bhagavath Kumar (Trust Homes) and Damien Mulligan (ELTC.earth).

The members of the judging panel were Michelle O’Grady, Senior Development Advisor, Fintech, Financial and Business Services, Enterprise Ireland; Weili Wang, Investment Associate, Atlantic Bridge; Orla Reynolds, New Frontiers Programme Manager, IADT and Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD (Chair).

The 4-week mentoring programme, which used the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas approach, included a series of  structured and interactive workshops and interactive workshops led by Raomal Perera and Rohan Perera of Lean Disruptor.

The sponsors of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition are, AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

23 June 2022

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, NovaUCD, e: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie.

Editors Notes

Profiles of other participants 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition

At-It 360 is developing a unique, revolutionary way to experience live events from the comfort of your home. At-It 360 helps you connect yourself to the event by live streaming in 360 degrees allowing users to experience more of the atmosphere, at a fraction of the cost.

The members of the At-It 360 team are, Caimin Kenny, an undergraduate student in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business and Siddharth Rastogi, a postgraduate student in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics

Companies spend billions of dollars providing benefits to their employees. Often the employees are unaware of all the benefits that are being provided to them. Benefits-In helps to make employees aware of the benefits provided by the company and its value to them. Eric Fernandes an MSc Business Analytics student in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is the promoter of Benefits-in.

Easyly is a hyperlocal marketplace for home services at your doorstep through a mobile application. They aggregate Service professionals who provide services like house cleaning, pet care, childcare, and many other services that they are still working on. The hyperlocal model ensures that your request for service is received by multiple service professionals who are already located near to you and hence gives you a faster turnaround time on services. They focus on fair pricing, quality service, reliable customer support, and most importantly the security and safety of either party.

The members of the Easyly team are, Aishwarya Bargal, Rahul Raj, and Tushar, who are all MSc Business Analytics students in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Eventz aims to ease the process of finding a venue for weddings and other events through high-quality leads and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool using an intuitive web and app experience for both customers and venue owners.

The members of the Eventz team are, Aaron Braxton Fernandes, Clinton Clement Dcruz and Prachi Mate, all MSc Business Analytics students at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

IMME Sustainables t/a Offset is developing an online marketplace platform determined to offset the damage done by fast fashion. We offer a safe and secure online community where people can buy and sell second-hand clothing.

Jennifer Thornton, who has just completed a postgraduate certificate in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the UCD Innovation Academy is the promoter of Offset.

MilkMate is developing a precision pouring jug which aims to reduce the amount of milk wasted in the coffee making process, elevating the importance of milk as an input and instilling a sustainable mindset in members of staff anywhere coffee is being served.

The precision pouring jug eliminates the key reasons for milk wastage in the coffee making process which is predominantly the free pouring of milk into a frothing jug. Settings on the jug allow the user to dispense precisely the volume of milk required, it complements current workflow systems, and its sleek stainless-steel designs ensures milk remains at optimum temperature for frothing.

The MilkMate team members are, Jeff Burke and Marianne Egan, both postgraduate students of Design Thinking for Sustainability in the UCD Innovation Academy.

Patch Post is developing a slow-fashion and circular economy platform to provide people with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to extend the life of their clothes, therefore reducing consumption and buy-in to the fast fashion industry. Patch Post: Stitch, Don't Ditch.

The Patch Post team members are, Elizabeth Gageby Bell, Antonia Butler, Cillian Fealey, Tarren Leigh Agnew-Skalsa, all postgraduate students of Design Thinking for Sustainability in the UCD Innovation Academy.

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