By@SimonCocking  A version of this first appeared at.

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This was the hype.

On November 18th 150 of the leading thinkers and doers came together to meet the some the most influential entrepreneurs from Ireland and Europe. Students from the arts, medicine, engineering, law, architecture,business and the sciences will meet business leaders and academics committed to innovation and entrepreneurship all in heart of Dublin in Saint Georges Hall.

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So how did it go?

There were some good speakers lined up. Overall this was good, though probably too long in terms of the number of speakers. The last one wasn’t due on till after 10pm, which, combined with perhaps inevitable knock on delays, meant that it would be even later before it finished. Long before this though streams of people were already leaving. Next time it might work better to have a couple of parallel threads for speakers, reduce the overall run time, and not compelling people to wait around until another relevant speaker came on.

At times there were round table events running in parallel. This was a good idea, allowing people to focus on their particular interests. However, in a large empty room, locating the circle of chairs back to back, meant that each group had to shout over each other to be heard. A simple fix would be to not have the circles all in the same part of the room, or perhaps in different rooms.

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Encourage students to network better

Many of the students arrived in groups, and generally remained in small cliques during the event. Even in normal events you need to encourage participants to mingle and introduce themselves to other people. With students, sometimes less experienced at networking, this needs to be encouraged even more. There were business cards printed off for each participant, however there were only 5, whereas you might have wanted to give out about 50 at an event like this.

Looking forwards

The event was a great idea, with some really interesting speakers, who were all approachable and willing to talk to people after their presentations. If they run any future events it offers a great opportunity for participants to find out what is out there, and who might be able to help them.

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For example John O’Dea from Enterprise Ireland had some great images which demonstrated just how many funds,

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awards, and initiatives there are currently available in Ireland.

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I found the event useful, positive and hopefully leads to some productive contacts made. My one wish, that the after event sushi was onsite and during the event, rather than being neither of these things. As always I guess that just illustrates there’s never any such thing as a free lunch.

To find out more about the Student Slingshot event see here , or via linkedIn or facebook.