Details of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards for 2016 have been announced today. The Awards, now in their 35th year, are open to all full time third-level students in the Republic of Ireland. Co-sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Grant Thornton and Intel, the Awards attracted submissions from over 1,200 students in 2015. 

The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of an ongoing drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students to turn entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. The objective is to encourage third-level students to start their own business as a career option. With a total cash prize fund of €35,000 and expert mentoring, guidance and consultancy worth €30,000 from the blue-chip sponsors, the Awards provide a great platform for ambitious and enterprising third level students to build a viable and commercial business venture. 

The 2015 winner Rob Laffan, a student from Limerick Institute of Technology, beat off stiff competition with his project ‘Tippy Talk’, a bespoke, robust touch-screen communication system for non-verbal children with autism. ‘TippyTalk’ allows the child to communicate their desires, feelings and needs to their parents through the transfer of pictures to text messages. ‘TippyTalk’ can also be adapted to cover other areas of non-verbal disabilities. Rob is now completing New Frontiers in LIT. 

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, concluded: “Start-up businesses are the life blood of the indigenous economy and make a positive impact on job creation in towns and villages all over Ireland.  In driving entrepreneurship, we need to play to our strenghts, like the fact that  Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe.  The Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards provide support and encouragement, as well as practical assistance to help young entrepreneurs to move from idea to income as quickly as possible.  These young entrepreneurs have the potential to be the next big Irish business success stories and we are pleased to help them onto the first rung of the business ladder”.

To enter the Awards, students are requested to submit a short video that captures their business idea and shows it’s commercial and export potential. If shortlisted, students will need to develop a business plan that shows the judges how viable and well researched the project is. A dedicated website, Facebook page, twitter account and pod casts support the promotion of the Awards and the subsequent winners. Executives from Enterprise Ireland will present details of the competition to all colleges and institutions between now and the closing date for the competition, 17 March 2016.

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