Crowdfunding Platform to Support Student Entrepreneurs Launched
Posted on 15 April 2014
A crowdfunding platform supporting student entrepreneurs has been launched at Trinity College Dublin. It involves three teams that developed new businesses as part of Trinity’s LaunchBox business accelerator for students. The three teams are Foodcloud, a social enterprise; Writing for Tiny, publisher of personalised eBooks for children; Artomatix, a computer graphics enterprise. They are seeking donations over a six week period for campaigns to support specific activities to grow their businesses/non-profit organisations that have already received public and media recognition.
Foodcloud and recent winner of the Green Entrepreneur Award, brings food businesses and charities together to reduce both food waste and food poverty. They do this by connecting food businesses that have surplus food to nearby charities that need it, through a smart phone app and website. Since their launch they have redistributed seven tonnes of food, the equivalent of over 15,000 meals to their network of 40 charities in Dublin and Drogheda. Their campaign goals are to launch a new service in inner city Dublin to collect donated food from local bakeries, cafes, and restaurants, and supply soup runs and night services. They aim to then expand FoodCloud to five new locations outside of Dublin. (Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward)
Writing for Tiny makes helpful, personalised and unique eBooks that are designed to help parents and children to communicate about the tough stuff. Four titles are available now. The parent or relative can choose a topic, for example moving house and they can design the main character of the eBook. This allows the child to relate to the story and can open up the channels of communication. If they raise their crowdfunding target, they will be able to not only personalise the lead character but the parents, siblings and even pets! This will make the eBooks even more special and will also further encourage the child to engage with the story. (Gail Condon, Nicola Davis, Dr Michael Carter)
Artomatix offers a new breed of art tool for movies, games, and digital artists with proprietary technology that automates digital media creation and can cut project costs by up to 80%. They have funds to build the beta version of their software which is still under development, but they need further support to employ more staff, refine their software, meet customers and launch their first full product. (Eric Risser and Neal O’Gorman)
Commenting on Trinity College’s crowdfunding initiative, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon said: “Youth entrepreneurship and access to finance are two key pillars of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy and we warmly welcome this timely initiative by Trinity College. Crowdfunding is growing in popularity all over the world and it is particularly suited to companies on accelerator programmes. It is a great way to test and validate ideas and raise funds. I wish Trinity and especially the three teams of student entrepreneurs who are piloting this initiative every success and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The three teams incubated their ideas as part of LaunchBox, a business accelerator for Trinity students. Under the programme, they spent last summer along with three other teams incubating business ideas at LaunchBox headquarters at Trinity’s Regent House where they were provided with seed funding, office space and master classes in marketing and funding. The programme was supported by the University of Dublin Fund (USA) and Trinity Angels, business leaders making up a network of Trinity alumni and friends. The Trinity Angels were also on hand to provide expert advice and mentoring to the students during the programme.
Through the crowdfunding platform, Foodcloud, Writing for Tinyand Artomatix, now aim to embark on the second stage of the development of their businesses/non-profit organisations.