UCD Start Up Stars

UCD Start Up Stars

Powered by UCD Research and Innovation, the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

UCD Startup Stars is an entrepreneurship programme for UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines. It is run by NovaUCD in collaboration with the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Successful applicants will participate in an intensive 4-week programme at NovaUCD, incorporating a cash stipend, office space, a structured set of workshops and mentoring sessions in addition to a cash prize of €3,000 for the overall winner.

What we are Doing

We are drawing together the University’s most creative undergraduate and postgraduate students, those who have the boldness to attempt to solve difficult problems. This is an opportunity for the students to work beyond their individual disciplines.

Students are drawn from different Colleges and Schools from across the University and they will work together on this programme. Together they will learn how to launch their own start-up company.

How It Works 

UCD StartupStars will begin with cross-disciplinary workshops and course modules delivered during Semester 1 and 2 at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy. During this period students from across the University will explore what real-world problems exist, whether these problems are big enough to be worth solving and what solutions could be designed to address those problems.

Students will also have the opportunity to form teams with like-minded peers at the team forming event. Ideas will emerge. Teams will form. Startups will be born.

In April, fifteen applicants will be invited to pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and mentors from NovaUCD, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy.

At this pitch event, seven successful teams will be selected to participate on an intensive 4-week programme at NovaUCD.

Teams are selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Is there a big business problem that’s worth solving?
  2. Does the proposed solution address this problem effectively?
  3. Has appropriate thought been given to the future development of the project?
  4. Does the team demonstrate a strong collaborative spirit and an ability to deliver?
  5. Overall is the value proposition clearly articulated and compelling?

The intensive 4-week programme starting in May will consist of a series of workshops including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops as well as regular pitching sessions.

In addition to the structured workshops there will be team mentoring and opportunities to network with the community of entrepreneurs who are based at NovaUCD.

The following are examples of the areas will be covered, using the business model canvas, throughout the programme:

  • Introduction and Business Model Canvas
  • Building the Value Proposition & Customer Segments
  • The Customer Journey Framework
  • Revenue Model and Pricing
  • Funding Strategy and Sources
  • Building the Team – Start-up Culture, Founders & Understanding Emotional
  • Intelligence
  • Pitching for Investment and What a VC is Looking For.

Grand Final 

At the final workshop at the end of June each startup will present their business model to an assessment panel consisting of representatives from the StartupStars corporate sponsors. Based on the evaluation of the presentation and the business plan, the panel will pick one overall winning team who will be awarded a prize of €3,000 to help them on their startup journey.

Application Process and Key Dates for 2019

Applications open

Final deadline for applications

Pitch Presentations

Programme begins at NovaUCD

Final event – teams pitch to the panel of judges from the entrepreneurial and investment community and the winning team announced.

[button title="Application Form 2019 UCD Startup Stars"url="/innovation/filebank/Startup Stars Application Form.docx"color="tile-green"]


The sponsors of UCD Startup Stars Programme are AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

For further information 

Caroline Gill

Innovation Education Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, NovaUCD

t: +353 1 716 3715
e: caroline.gill@ucd.ie

David Nevin

Sustainability Manager, UCD Innovation Academy

t: +353 1 716 2041
e: david.nevin@ucd.ie

Majella Murphy (Postgraduate queries)

Entrepreneur in Residence at UCD College of Business

e: majella.murphy@ucd.ie