Trinity Students Win Entrepreneurship Prize for Innovative Technology
Apr 02, 2012
Students from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics have won the first-ever upStart entrepreneurship programme. The competition, organised by Citi, saw master’s students from TCD and Queen’s University Belfast universities create their own start-up business for a new technology product or service. Each business plan had to provide a real market prospect and teams competed with each other to win the opportunity for virtual funding from Citi for their business.
The winning entries were Happy Swap, a consumer exchange website for goods created by students from Trinity College Dublin, and Woogie Tap, an interactive tag for downloading information instantaneously, created by students from Queen’s University Belfast.
Pictured at the upStart awards at Citi’s offices in Belfast were (left to right back row), Nathan O’Reilly, Citi, Dr Peter Middleton, Queen’s University Belfast, Prof. Siobhán Clarke, Trinity College Dublin, Thomas De Souza, Citi, (front row) Conall Laverty, Queen’s University Belfast and Zhongtao Chen, Trinity College Dublin.
Speaking at the event Prof Siobhan Clarke, Course Director of the MSc in Networks and Distributed Systems at TCD’s School of Computer Science and Statistics said: "The upStart experience transported the innovation and software engineering modules in the course out of the classroom and into the real economy, engendering a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the class. This perfectly positions the students as the drivers of innovation in the global technology industry."
The seven finalists presented their business plans to a panel of judges from Citi, Cisco, Invest Northern Ireland and Microsoft. Other business ideas presented included a social networking game, an online sports academy for tutors and pupils to connect, a 3D printing access portal for consumers, a social network for smart phones based on location and an app for paying bills. Each team had to convince the judges of the commercial strength of their idea and the team from each university who accumulated the most virtual funding was named the winner.
Chris Hayward, chief information officer EMEA at Citi, said the upStart programme has “allowed industry and academia to collaborate together and mentor the next generation of technology entrepreneurs. Many of the business ideas presented today have great potential for commercialisation and could become global products."
During the programme the students were mentored by business advisers from Citi Belfast and the Citi Innovation Lab, Dublin. The programme also included guest lecturers from the technology industry who discussed with the students the latest developments and sector trends. In addition, the programme hosted roundtable discussions for the students with Citi Ventures and Citi experts in global locations including New York, Palo Alto, Jersey City, London, Belfast and Dublin. The programme was run over two semesters in the current academic year at Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin. There were 30 students on the inaugural programme from the two universities.
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