GradHow, which has been developed by NovaUCD and the UCD Innovation Academy to provide a framework - and support programme - for UCD undergraduate students who want to work together to build start-up companies, has won the inaugural 'Startup Stars'
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GradHow an early-stage University College Dublin (UCD) student venture has won the inaugural UCD Startup Stars programme.

GradHow is developing an online platform to help college students reduce the uncertainty they encounter when they graduate by helping them to understand the employment opportunities that are relevant to them and by challenging the way employers recruit.

By improving connections between employers and universities GradHow aims to improve the graduate employment process.

The founders of GradHow are Ben Chadwick and Alan John Browne, who have both recently completed third year commerce at UCD and Stephen Duffy who has recently completed first year commerce (international) at UCD.

UCD Startup Stars has been developed by NovaUCD and the UCD Innovation Academy to provide a framework, and support programme, for UCD undergraduate students who want to work together to build start-up companies.

UCD Startup Stars began earlier this year with cross-disciplinary workshops delivered over a three-month period as part of the UCD Innovation Academy’s Creative Thinking and Entrepreneurial Endeavour modules. During these modules students from across the university learned creative thinking, teamwork, design thinking and lean business skills.

Following pitches at the end of the modules six early stage student ventures, with 16 team members, were selected to participate in an intensive mentoring programme which took place over 4-weeks at NovaUCD.

The aim of this four-week programme was to assist the participants in refining their start-up ideas. It consisted of a series of structured workshops including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

In addition each team also received a cash stipend and office space at NovaUCD for the duration of the programme.

Following final pitches GradHow was selected as the overall winner as it was judged to have the most commercial potential and the founders received a cash prize of €3,000 sponsored by Xilinx.

Each of the five runners-up also received a cash prize of €500 sponsored by Xilinx.

Brendan Cremen, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation said: “I would like to congratulate the founders of GradHow on winning the inaugural UCD Startup Stars programme and all the undergraduate students who participated on the programme.

“During the four-week programme we leveraged our start-up expertise and experience at NovaUCD to support this group of young entrepreneurial students to develop and refine their start-up ideas. We now look forward to seeing these early-stage ventures move to the next stage of development and launch into the marketplace.

“We were delighted to work with the UCD Innovation Academy on the delivery of this new start-up support programme for UCD undergraduates.”

Professor Suzi Jarvis, founding director, UCD Innovation Academy said: “UCD students in every faculty in UCD have big ideas and entrepreneurial zeal. When we offered our students an opportunity to participate in UCD Startup Stars, we were very impressed by the standard of their ideas.

“UCD Startup Stars was devised to combine the Innovation Academy’s skills in creative problem solving with NovaUCD’s vast experience in commercialisation and we have brought about a programme that offers UCD students a perfect launching pad and testing ground for the initiatives that they are passionate about.

“After a successful first programme, we look forward to bringing the programme to new heights next year, and developing on our fruitful partnership with NovaUCD that combines the best of both our work.”

The members of the final judging panel were; Brendan Cremen, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation; Libby Gribben, senior HR director, Xilinx; Owen O’Byrne, head of product, Fire Financial Services; Alan O’Dea, entrepreneurial specialist, UCD Innovation Academy and Andy O’Sullivan, AIB Innovation.

The sponsors of UCD Startup Stars wereAIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, Pay with Fire and Xilinx.

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  GradHow an early-stage University College Dublin (UCD) student venture has won the inaugural UCD Startup Stars programme. GradHow is developing an online platform to help college students reduce the uncertainty they encounter when they graduate by helping them to understand the employment opportunities that are relevant to them and by...