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The Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre

An Lárionad Nuála agus Aistrithe Teicneolaíochta

15th 'Entrepreneurs Live'! Seminar Series

Four leading innovators and entrepreneurs will share the secrets of their entrepreneurial success at 15th NovaUCD 'Entrepreneurs Live!' seminar series, which has a focus on design, creativity and innovation. This seminar series, will be delivered in association with the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, commences on 3 November 2010 and runs each Wednesday lunch time until 24 November 2010.

Companies and countries that excel at innovation have already adopted the principles of Design-Thinking Innovation, including Denmark, Finland, the UK and US and companies like Apple, Samsung, Proctor & Gamble and Google. In a recent Irish Times article, Dr Frank Devitt, Head of Department of Design and Innovation, NUI Maynooth, wrote about this topic in the context of how Ireland has an opportunity to manage its way through the current recession.

"...Design Thinking Innovation is about shaping the physical world to the satisfaction of human needs, it’s finding a balance between the technological (invention) and humanity (the customer).  Companies that incorporate this approach will demonstrate behaviours like discovering real customer needs through early observation, early and repeated experimenting, collaboration & creativity.   Through design thinking, empathy and human understanding become key drivers of 21st century business innovation…..”

The guest speakers at the forthcoming 'Entrepreneurs Live!' seminar series are:

Date   Speaker  Company 
3 November Vincent Cleary, Managing Director  Glenisk
10 November Damini Kumar,
European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation
17 November Emmet O'Neill, CEO & Co-founder Smiles Dental
24 November Brian Stephens, MD & Co-founder Design Partners 

These four guest speakers in the current series will share his/her creative and entrepreneurial experiences in setting-up and running successful enterprises. They will also discuss the strategic role that design, creativity and innovation can play in assisting companies to navigate through the current downturn and to place them in pole position to take advantage of the economic recovery to come.

Podcasts of previous 'Entrepreneurs Live!' seminars are available.

All seminars take place from 1pm - 1:50pm (light lunch available from 12:30 pm) in NovaUCD, Belfield Innovation Park, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Attendance at the seminar series is open to all especially undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The aim of this NovaUCD 'Entrepreneurs Live!' seminar series delivered by NovaUCD in association with the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board is to promote the importance of design creativity and innovation among the academic, research and student population at UCD.

**** As space is limited at these seminars advanced registration is recommended ***

To register to attend any seminar please contact: Caroline Gill,  t: 716 3715,  e:

The NovaUCD 'Entrepreneurs Live!' Seminar Series is kindly sponsored by the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board.


The second seminar in this current series, with Damini Kumar, European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation takes place as part of the Innovation Dublin 2010 festival of events at University College Dublin.


Speaker Profiles

Vincent Cleary is Managing Director of Glenisk, the innovative, predominantly family-owned and award-winning organic yogurt maker based in Killeigh, Co. Offaly.  Vincent’s father Jack established a dairy product business, Tullamore Dairy in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s Vincent and his siblings took their father’s business into a new direction when they established Glenisk. Originally selling natural dairy products Vincent became aware of the popularity of organic dairy products from overseas work experiences and decided to introduce organic yogurt into the Irish market.

Glenisk, which now processes about 90% of all organic milk produced in Ireland from 50 farmers, employs a staff of 40 and had a turnover of €12 in 2009 accompanied by a 14.5% sales increase.

The winner of numerous awards Glenisk was the overall winner of the 2010 SFA National Business Award. Vincent graduated with a BComm and an MBS from University College Dublin.

Damini Kumar, an award winning designer, is a European Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation. She was appointed to this prestigious role by the EU Commission in January 2009 to foster the principles and values of innovation and creativity at all levels of European society.

Damini is an international expert in design, creative thinking and innovation and continues to stimulate an interest in these areas as she believes it is critical to the future of the economy and is regularly asked to advise organisations and governments on these topics.

Headhunted to Ireland in 2004, Damini worked for Media Lab Europe (European partner of Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and began her academic career as a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2006. She joined NUI Maynooth in 2007 where she directed and successfully completed the establishment of a new BSc Honours degree in Product Design before moving to her current role of Director of Design and Creativity.

In 1998 Damini invented the world's first non-drip spout, a worldwide patented award winning innovation, which disproved years of scientific research into the ubiquitous problem of the dripping teapot and can be applied to any pouring spout from bottles to petrol pumps.

Awards include, The Young British Female Inventor of the Year Award, 2001, winner of The Asian Young Achiever of the Year Award, 2006.

Emmet O'Neill is CEO and co-founder of Smiles Dental, the largest privately-owned provider of dental care in Ireland. After working in banking and aviation finance, Emmet identified a gap in the market for a specialised tooth whitening clinic in Ireland, and in 2005 he opened the first Smiles Clinic in Dublin. Soon after launch, O'Neill realised that the market was not just for tooth whitening but for all dental services and since 2006 he has opened 13 clinics nationwide offering all forms of dental treatment, from check-ups to cleaning right through to oral surgery and orthodontic treatments. Current locations include Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Wexford, Galway, Waterford and Louth.

In 2007 the company began acquiring existing dental practices and merging this new transparent approach to delivering dentistry with the traditional relationship based delivery which exists locally.

Smiles Dental, which will treat 150,000 patients in 2010 currently employs over 60 dentists a team of 100 nurses and administration staff. Smiles Dental recently unveliled plans for a €3 million expansion which will create 100 jobs and see 10 new clinics opening around Ireland during 2011.

Emmet, a University College Dublin graduate, was a finalist in the recent 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Awards, Emerging Business Category.

Brian Stephens, is the co-founder and managing director of Design Partners, the Irish design company based in Bray, Co Wicklow, founded in 1984. Brian and his team of twenty-six engineers, model makers and designers create new products for international brands particularly in the consumer product sector. Customers include brands such as Le Creuset, Logitech, HP and Palm.

The company established in 1984 also has an office Silicon Valley, California and has had its work exhibited in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and has been successful in many prestigious international design competitions.