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Trinity Engineering Student Entrepreneurs of the year, 2011

18th April, 2011

On Wednesday, 6th April 2011, six groups of third year engineering students presented their plans for highly original and novel businesses to judges Brian Fallon (Trinity Engineer and co-founder of, Frank Ward (Trinity graduate, entrepreneur, and past president of Trinity Business Alumni) and Professor Margaret O’Mahony(Head of the Engineering School). The students were competing for the award of Trinity Engineering Student Entrepreneurs of the Year 2011, and for a prize fund of over €1,800, which had been donated by sponsors, Dublin City Enterprise Board, Trinity Business Alumni and the Schools of Engineering and Computer Science and Statistics.

The judges praised all the presentations, and the innovation and hard work shown by all groups.
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The First Prize was shared by two groups:

  • Four civil engineering students, Ciaran Kennedy, Michael McManus, Carl O’Sullivan, and Peter Weldon, who outlined their plans to improve road safety and to save lives. They plan to produce Ice Spy Paint for road markings, which will change colour in freezing conditions, and therefore warn motorists of black ice on roads.
  • Two computer engineering students, Gary Munnelly and Michael Poulton, who passionately described their business Domestic Astronomer, through which they will enable people to share their love of astronomy and to be able to watch the night sky in their own homes.


Second Prize was awarded to:

  • Electronic and computer engineers, Rebekah Clarke, James Clifford, Kelly Connell, and Aisling Connolly, who demonstrated 1Switch, which can be installed in every room in one’s house to save energy, by only leaving on essential items.

The other three business ideas were presented by:

  • Four other electronic and computer engineers, Bríd Carey, Shane Owens, Barry Rafferty, and Paul Shirley, who described their plans to put a monitoring device Digiflow on water meters to allow users to view their usage in real time.
  • Mechanical engineers, Kailyn Domican, Neal Farrell, Niall Mooney, and Lauren Walsh, showed how students are weighed down with paper and folders, and presented their novel solution to this problem – WriteInk.
  • Four other mechanical engineers, Shane Buckley, Sarah Dolan, Billy Kinane, and Philip Wardlaw, described their plans for the Acorn Braille e-reader, which will open up literature to people with sight difficulties.

These plans were developed between January and March, 2011 during the Entrepreneurship section of the third year Management for Engineers course. All students on this course work in groups to come up with business ideas, to plan the marketing and branding, and to write a business plan. The groups with the best plans are invited to enter the competition.
Joanna Gardiner of Ovelle Pharmaceuticals (Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2004, DHL Export Award finalist and Ulster Bank Business Achiever) and Dr Niamh Harty of the Civil Engineering Department, lecture on this course, with assistance from Dr Brian Caulfield, also of Civil Engineering. The competition was started by Brian Fallon and Niamh Harty, and has been running for the last five years.

At the end of the presentations, Joanna Gardiner complimented all students for their excellent business ideas, and stressed how engineers “have an edge” which they should be confident to use, either as entrepreneurs setting up their own business, or as “intrapreneurs”, bringing innovation within an organisation.

With grateful thanks to the sponsors of the competition for their generosity, which enables engineering students to explore their ideas.



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