An intensive 4-week mentoring programme, as part of University College Dublin’s (UCD) 2017 Startup Stars Programme, kicked-off today at NovaUCD with five (5) early-stage student ventures.

This entrepreneurship programme, now in its 3rd year, has been developed by UCD Research and Innovation, the UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, as a framework to support UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The 5 new ventures taking part in the programme are;
Aosta Medical aims to prevent falls in older people using a novel approach by combining known risk factors with 3D depth sensors already used in sports rehabilitation to allow early intervention and injury prevention. The members of the Aosta Medical team are undergraduate students, John Murtagh (Medicine), Sinead Carroll (Commerce), Clodagh Dunne (Mechanical Engineering) and Eoghan O’Neill (Bio-mechanical Engineering).

MUA (MakeUpArtist) is developing a platform to connect aspiring makeup artists to those seeking their services at a time, price and location that suits both parties. The members of the MUA team are undergraduate students, Grace Sherry (Commerce), Oisin Kirwan (Dairy Business), Harry Stapleton (Commerce) and Cathy Browne (Commerce).

O’Kale Krisps has developed a low-calorie, nutritionally rich and air dried kale crisps which are currently on sale in 25 stores across Ireland. The members of O’Kale Krisps team are UCD undergraduate students, Jack Parsons (Business and Law) and Oisin McElhinney (Arts).

PayPiq is developing a new easy way for users to access and pay for online news. The members of the PayPiq team are postgraduate student, Frank Humphreys (Computer Science) and undergraduate student Brandon Blascoe (Engineering).

UniLYF is developing an event app to address mental health issues for university students by increasing their participation in college events. The members of the UniLFY team are undergraduate students, Abdullah Ahmed (Chemical Engineering), James Carron (Data Analytics) and Anas Khaled (Economics).

The 2017 UCD Startup Stars Programme began earlier this year with cross-disciplinary workshops and course modules delivered at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy. During this period students from across the University explored and evaluated a variety of real world problems before forming teams to develop start-up solutions to address the identified problems.

Ten (10) student teams pitched their start-up ideas to a panel of judges who selected 5 early stage ventures, with a total of 15 team members, to proceed to the mentoring phase of the programme.

Welcoming the students to NovaUCD, Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “During the forthcoming 4-week programme we look forward to assisting this group of talented and entrepreneurial students, as they further refine and develop their start-up ideas, by leveraging our expertise, experience and network, gained over many years.”

The mentoring programme will consist of a series of structured workshops, taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops as well as regular pitching sessions. In addition there will be opportunities for the teams to network with the NovaUCD community of entrepreneurs. Each team will also be given a cash stipend and office space at NovaUCD during this phase of the programme.

Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy, said, “Programmes such as UCD Startup Stars are key to giving UCD students an opportunity to apply what they have learned at UCD in a meaningful way. Regardless of the success or otherwise of these start-up ventures, what is of most value is that the participants are nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset that will serve them well in their future carers whatever path they follow.”

Majella Murphy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School said, “During the next month the UCD Startup Stars experience will push the students beyond their comfort zone to step up to the challenge of being real life entrepreneurs. I hope that the experience gives them the confidence and enthusiasm to pursue their start-up ventures beyond the end of this programme.”

At the final workshop, to be held in mid-June, each new venture will present to a final judging panel. Based on evaluation of the presentations and submitted business plans one overall winning team will be selected who will be awarded a €3,000 prize to help them on their start-up journey.

The sponsors of the UCD Startup Stars programme are; AIB, Arthur Cox, Ericsson, Growing Capital, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

The hashtag for this programme is #UCDstartupStars.

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