TrinityHaus i.School: ‘Entrepreneurs Don’t Grow on Trees!’ Summer Camp for Secondary School Students at TCD

Posted on: 24 June 2010

Secondary School Students Win Young Innovators Award for New iPhone App for Youth Centres and Cafés as part of TCD Innovation Summer Camp

Secondary School transition year and 5th year students from Dublin schools participated in the ‘Entrepreneurs Don’t Grow on Trees!’  Summer Camp on June 8th- 18th last at Trinity College Dublin.  The students were encouraged to come up with low carbon entrepreneurial concepts on the 10-day Summer Camp and Innovation scholarship programme which was organised by  TrinityHaus i.School, with the support of the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at TCD.

The winning team: Rachel O’Dwyer aged 16, St. Raphaela’s Secondary School; Sarah Hughes aged 15, St Joseph’s Secondary School; Nabiihah Jandoo, aged 16, Loreto College Crumlin; and Ciara Dunne aged 16, Tallaght Community School; came up with the concept ‘Trees for Teens’, a new iPhone app dedicated to Youth Centres and Cafes.  The team was awarded the ‘Entrepreneurs Don’t Grow on Trees! Most Innovative Concept 2010 Award’ by a panel of R&D experts from industry and academia: Noel Crawford, Innovation Centre, ISV & Developer Relations Manager at IBM; Barry Kennedy, Programme Manager at INTEL; George Kiely, Senior Development Advisor at Enterprise Ireland;  and Professor Mark Dyer, Director of TrinityHaus TCD.

Secondary School students Rachel O’Dwyer (16), St. Raphaela’s Secondary School; Sarah Hughes (15), St Joseph’s Secondary School; Nabiihah Jandoo, (16), Loreto College Crumlin; Ciara Dunne (16), Tallaght Community School; came up with the concept ‘Trees for Teens’, a new iPhone app dedicated to Youth Centres and Cafes. The team was awarded the ‘Entrepreneurs Don’t Grow on Trees! Most Innovative Concept 2010 Award’ by a panel of R&D experts: Noel Crawford, & Developer Relations Manage.  IBM; Barry Kennedy, Programme Manager, INTEL; Professor Mark Dyer, Director of TrinityHaus TCD  and George Kiely, Senior Development Advisor at Enterprise Ireland.

Impressed by the strength of the business case presented, Noel Crawford of IBM, invited the ‘Trees for Teens’ team to attend the World’s Smart Camp Finals organised by IBM this Autumn. “After all, entrepreneurs do grow on trees…” commented Professor Mark Dyer, Director of TrinityHaus and patron of the event.  Explaining the aims of the summer camp Professor Mark Dyer said: “The summer camp is aimed at giving young innovators a helping hand to develop the skills and track record to be entrepreneurs of the future. In addition the course intended to highlight to the students the need for sustainable solutions and contribute to the growth of a new green economy.”

Commenting on the standard of the entrepreneurial low-carbon concepts invented by the students, Barry Kennedy, INTEL, said: “The quality of the presentations given is higher than many of those seen in the ‘Dragons Den’ TV programme.”  During the closing speeches George Kiely of Enterprise Ireland, encouraged the students to keep pursuing their ambition as innovators and entrepreneurs while Professor Mark Dyer said: “Ireland’s economic future relies on the ability to develop innovative and sustainable business ideas. You [the students] have shown us, today, that a new generation of Irish entrepreneurs is ready to produce these ideas and make them happen.”

The Summer Camp and Innovation Scholarships were advertised among Dublin schools and based on the low-carbon ideas and entrepreneurial attitudes described in their application forms, 18 students (6 boys and 12 girls) were selected to participate in the summer camp and each were awarded an i.School scholarship with included a €300 bursary.  A total of 21 schools were involved in the registration and selection and process. 

In addition to the winning concept, other concepts developed by teams were: Eco-Go, a multi-function rain cover for bicycles that would make it easier to travel by bike in Dublin; Eco City Card, a unique public transport card that also incentivises waste recycling in Dublin; Break It Down (B.I.D.), a new service and product that efficiently addresses the recycling and waste management needs in households. B.I.D. received the TrinityHaus Special Mention Award for the concept by the TrinityHaus tutors involved in the programme.

As part of the Summer Camp programme there was a series of lectures and hands on workshops aimed at providing an understanding of entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability concepts.  The students benefited from the combined contribution of academics and professional innovators as well as business experts from industry. During the second week of the summer camp, the students were divided into four competing teams and asked to demonstrate their entrepreneurial skills and passion for successful ideas by developing a viable product or service for low-carbon living in Dublin.

The students found the experience both intense and rewarding and felt they had learnt valuable lessons about generating innovative ideas and working in teams.  According to Rachel O’Dwyer (aged 16) from St. Raphaelas Secondary School: “The programme was very intense, but it was great to learn about generating innovative and sustainable business ideas as well as putting them in to practice”.  Simon O’Leary (aged 17) from Tallaght Community School said: “The lectures were great and I really enjoyed working with my team”.

About TrinityHaus i.School:

TrinityHaus is a research centre within the Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. In the centre, 16 Postgraduate Students and 10 Research Fellows carry out high quality, industrially relevant research that underpins innovation within the built environment. The strategy is fostered by the Director of TrinityHaus, Professor Mark Dyer, who has over twenty years experience in industry and ten years in academia at company director and professor level.

i.School has been created within TrinityHaus as a space dedicated to the study and dissemination of the principles of entrepreneurship, creative innovation and people centred design.