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Entrepreneurial Spirit on Display at Annual Demo Day

April 7th, 2019

Aimee-Louise Carton and Will Ben Sims of Keep Appy, winners of Demo Day 2019, are flanked by the panelists on the night (l-r): Oliver Tattan, BMW Financial Services, David Tighe, Bank of Ireland; Thomas Melia, Enterprise Ireland; and Alison Treacy, Tangent.

Students from the MSc in Entrepreneurship programme pitched to an expert panel of judges last week as part of the annual Demo Day. Six teams each gave a five minute pitch on their business ventures, with an additional three minutes reserved for questions from the panel.

The session marked the final day of teaching on the programme and provided a great platform for the students to present their business ideas which they have developed over the course of the academic year — with many already in operation. The six companies presented by the chosen finalists were Werklys, Keep Appy, Finatrue, Barista Course By Bartira, Two White Socks and FYPSI, with a host of industries and sectors covered including fashion, financial technology and health and wellbeing.

The expert panel of judges provided excellent feedback and advice for each team and included David Tighe, Director of CX and Innovation at Bank of Ireland; Oliver Tattan, INED at BMW; Alison Treacy, Student Startup & Innovation Manager at LaunchBox, Tangent's Student Accelerator; and Thomas Melia, Senior Commercialisation Specialist at Enterprise Ireland.

After the presentations, the panel deliberated before confirming the winners — who will receive €1,000 in prize money as well as business mentoring and guidance from the judges, with the potential for further financing opportunities. Fintech company Finatrue, co-founded by Piet van der Kleyn, was announced as the runner up with wellness app KeepAppy, pitched by Aimee-Louise Carton and Will Ben Sims, declared as the overall winners by judge Oliver Tattan.

As a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Mr. Tattan acts as an Entrepreneur in Residence for the Business School and has a wealth of experience having founded six successful companies, including Vivas Insurance and GloHealth (now Irish Life Health). Mr. Tattan also serves as Chairman for several global companies in a wide range of industries including Consumer, Insurance, Engineering, Technology, Investment, Media and Healthcare; making him well-placed to advise on the quality of the six pitches. He commented: “After 10 minutes of deliberation, it was hard to come to a collective decision on the winner. In fact every pitch had support from one panellist or another! I’ve been doing this for many years and can say that all of the presentations were excellent, so I’d like to convey my congratulations not only to the winners and runners up but to everyone involved, including Giulio and the whole team at Trinity.”

MSc in Entrepreneurship Programme Director Dr. Giulio Buciuni added: “I am delighted with the standard of the pitches and extremely proud of all of the participants. I’m glad I wasn’t one of the judges as I would have had a hard time choosing the winner! I’d like to congratulate all of the teams involved – they have all done a fantastic job. I’d also like to recognise the efforts of the whole class, who have shown a good balance of high energy, confidence and enthusiasm but also a level of humility that has allowed them to take criticism on board and use it as fuel for improvement. This was a fantastic way to bring lectures to a close as students prepare to start their dissertations. I wish them all the best of luck with their next chapters!”