CIT students scoop top prize at Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards 2018
18 June 2018
L-R: Standing are David O’Donovan, Daniel Crowley, Brian Fitzpatrick, Colm Nicholl and Michael Ahern. Seated are Elaine Leahy and Richard Murphy, Enterprise Ireland
Elaine Leahy, David O’Donovan, Daniel Crowley, Ryan Breen, Michael Ahern, Brian Fitzpatrick and Colm Nicholl, students from Cork Institute of Technology, have won the overall Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award and have been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2018’. The winning entrants beat off stiff competition with their project ‘MacGlas’.
Leading cause of vision loss in the western world
MacGlas is a novel vision aid designed to help people suffering from macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in the western world, which results in the progressive loss of central vision.
By configuring and applying existing technologies in a new and innovative way to harness and optimally utilise the sufferer’s peripheral undamaged vision, MacGlas helps individuals regain everyday capabilities such as reading which have been made impossible by the genetic disease.
This year celebrates the 37th year of the prestigious Student Entrepreneur Awards which are co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Grant Thornton and are open to all third level colleges across Ireland. The Local Enterprise Offices have also come on board as a co-sponsor for the awards this year.
The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of a major drive aimed at encouraging students to start their own business as a career option. The substantial prize fund includes €35,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees which are available for winners to help them turn their idea into a commercial reality.
Receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland
In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.
Richard Murphy, manager for Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland, said: “The Student Entrepreneur Awards grows from strength to strength each year and is now in its 37th year.
“We received more than 1,000 submissions from third level students in colleges all over Ireland. Given the quality of applications, it’s clear that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive across Ireland’s universities and colleges and we have seen some great ideas with real commercial potential. Congratulations to all involved.”
Information about the winning projects
College Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2018 winner, €10,000:
MacGlas, CIT – Elaine Leahy, David O’Donovan, Daniel Crowley, Ryan Breen, Michael Ahern, Brian Fitzpatrick, Colm Nicholl
“MacGlas is a novel vision aid designed to help people suffering from the leading cause of vision loss in the western world. This progressive loss of central vision is known as macular degeneration.
“MacGlas configures and applies existing technologies in a new and innovative way to harness and optimally utilise the sufferer’s peripheral undamaged vision. MacGlas helps these individuals regain everyday capabilities such as reading that have been made impossible by the genetic macular degeneration disease.”
Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys’ High Achieving Merit Award winner, €5,000:
Acidose 1, Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) – Warren Stevely
“The Acidose 1 has been designed in accordance with new EU regulations to eliminate the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry. The alternative solution involves adopting a new acidic dosing method. This new method involves lowering the pH of the poultry’s water supply, which prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in the chicken’s gastrointestinal tract.
“This harmful bacterium is responsible for digestion problems and common diseases such as coccidiosis. The Acidose 1 is an electronic device that automatically controls the water supply pH with complete accuracy. It is an innovative idea that has taken into account all of the problems associated with the previous solution which has hindered the new dosing method’s progression.”
Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists.
Grant Thornton Emerging Business Award winner, €5,000:
PROgress Equine, Waterford Institute of Technology, (WIT) – Lorna Power and Emma Murphy
“PROgress Equine is a company which formulates and produces concentrate feedstuffs for equines that is both environmentally sustainable and nutritionally superior to existing products. Our main focus is protein, a key nutrient for the healthy growth and development of bone and muscle in equines.
“By using innovative ingredients, we have identified superior sources of protein. Our source contains a guaranteed 50 to 55 per cent protein and higher levels of essential amino acids than existing protein sources, such as soya bean. By adding this innovative protein source to our formulations, PROgress Equine provides equine rations that are more nutritionally beneficial at a similar price to products currently on the market.
“By 2050, there will be nine billion people on the planet. Using our current method of producing protein, we will not be able to meet the planet’s projected protein needs.
“PROgress Equine’s protein requires substantially less land and water to produce, making it more environmentally sustainable than soya bean in the long term. PROgress Equine aims to initially target large studs and equine breeders with a fully formulated ration in Ireland, Europe and the USA. Going forward, PROgress Equine’s mission is to transform the landscape of how we produce animal feed, both now and in the future.”
Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists.
Enterprise Ireland ICT award winner, €5,000:
IGNAUTICA Underwater Search and Recovery System, University of Limerick (UL) – Jordan Kelly
“The Ignautica Underwater Search and Recovery system heralds a new age of intelligent diving platforms aiming to lead the way in SAR worldwide. The complete equipment system is used for the planning, co-ordination and execution of underwater SAR at depths of up to 70M below sea level.
“Rewarding enhanced diving safety, greater searching effectiveness, and increased operational efficiency, Ignautica offers valuable tools for all those from sea-bed to surface including location tracking of underwater teams, communication tools to link parties, and search path guidance for divers.”
Merit Awards were given to the remaining six finalists with a cash prize of €1,500 per team:
1.) Aireach – Ben Nolan – NUIG
2.) Irish Mussel Seed Company – Kate Dempsey – IT Carlow
3.) GreenBreathing – Rosie Clancy, Tadhg O’Byrne, Sean Deasy, Kevin Mullen, Aidan Phelan, Yevhen Sarchov and Aidan Keegan – CIT
4.) BLives – Claire McSweeney, John O’Sullivan, Eoghan O’Leary, Samprikta Manna and David Zelaya – UCC
5.) Gro2 – Geoff Wright – ITB Blanchardstown
6.) Hurtlockers Medical Ltd – James Carson & Daniel Laverty – Queens University Belfast and University of Ulster
An Enterprise Ireland Academic Award was presented to Michael Campion from NUI Galway, in recognition of his involvement with the Student Entrepreneur Awards.
For more information on the Student Entrepreneur Awards visit: StudentEntrepreneurAwards.com