'GUARDIAN ANGEL' wins top Student Enterpise award
Photo: The winning Guardian Angel team with Mr. John Lawlor, Dr. Tom Cooney, Ms Leah Mitchell, Mr. Paul O'Sullivan, Mr. Eddie Laverty and Dr. Pat McCormack
A cross-disciplinary team of marketing and engineering students scooped the top prize of €5000 in the finals of the DIT/Bolton Trust 'Student Enterprise Award' last Thursday. The winning 'Guardian Angel' team has developed and plan to market a 'Combined Smoke, Natural Gas and Carbon-Monoxide Detector' for the Irish and global household market.
Instigated eleven years ago by the Bolton Trust to encourage student enterprise, this competition has been extremely successful but previously attracted students from the business faculty primarily. This year, jointly sponsored by DIT and the Bolton Trust, the prize fund was increased to €12,000 with a first prize of €5000. The result was a very competitive field of entrants.
To encourage cross-faculty team work, a 'speed-dating' event was held last October to enable potential teams to find partners in other disciplines. According to Robert Simpson, Head of Manufacturing Engineering in DIT, "Eight small teams of predominantly male (there are three females in the 3rd Year Manufacturing Engineering Degree) students from Bolton St College crossed the chasm of the Liffey in search of partners for their business ideas. In a short space of a couple of hours the teams had to match up business/marketing students." Andrew Cunningham, who is a member of the winning team, said "It was a bit chaotic! We only had 5 minutes to get to know each group and there were more business groups than engineers. In the end it worked out well."
The combination of Marketing and Engineering students turned out to be a winning formula. "We are trying to get the students to develop an entrepreneurial spirit while at the same time learn the importance of teamwork across many disciplines. The Engineering students get to appreciate the Business and Marketing at first hand while the Business and Marketing students are learning the difficulties and complexities of product design and manufacturing systems" said Dr. Tom Cooney, Lecturer in the Business Faculty in DIT and chairman of INTRE (Ireland's Network of Teachers and Researchers in Entrepreneurship).
Four teams were in contention at the final stage of the competition, and the standard of presentation was extremely high. The other three finalist teams were students from the degree programme in International Business and Languages. Dr. Pat McCormack, Chairman of the Bolton Trust Enterprise Competition said "I am absolutely delighted with the response we got this year. The quality and the number of interdisciplinary business plans is definitely as a result of the 'speed dating' and is exactly what we were hoping for."
Second place: team with Paul O'Sullivan, Director of Faculty of Business and Eddie Laverty, Bolton Trust
Third place: team with Paul O'Sullivan, Director of Faculty of Business and Eddie Laverty, Bolton Trust
Fourth place: team with Paul O'Sullivan, Director of Faculty of Business and Eddie Laverty, Bolton Trust
The Bolton Trust encourages and promotes new business enterprise in Ireland. It is an independent voluntary trust actively committed to assisting people in creating sustainable business. Established in 1986 by staff of the Dublin Institute of Technology, the Trust has over 200 members. The centre-piece of its activity is the Docklands Innovation Park in Dublin. It also manages the Small Enterprise Seed Fund.