Peadar and Diana, can you tell us about yourselves and how you came to study in Trinity?
Peadar: I’m originally from Longford and I got my place in college through the HEAR scheme, which is designed to remove educational barriers for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Diana: I moved to Ireland from Romania when I was 14 and attended a DEIS school. I worked really hard to learn English in 3 months, as I had to help my family with interpreting. Financial barriers were an issue for us but the biggest one was getting my brother a place in a special needs school - he has ADHD and a moderate intellectual disability. I was delighted to receive 602 points in the Leaving Certificate and I came to college through the HEAR scheme.
Can you tell us about the support you have received from the Trinity Access programme and how has this impacted your college experience?
Peadar: Trinity Access has provided me with financial and other supports, which are invaluable. I now work as an Access Ambassador, which is a combined volunteer and paid role that involves participating in outreach with local schools as well as welcoming incoming first year access students in September.
Diana: Everyone working in Trinity Access works tirelessly to give us opportunities, work experience and incredible scholarships. Whatever might happen to me in college, I know I have a shoulder to lean on at any given moment. As an Access Ambassador, I love giving talks in secondary schools, sharing my experience, as well as doing campus tours.
What inspired you to apply to LaunchBox?
Peadar: During the 2020 COVID lockdown, myself and a friend watched the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES) Dragons Den and the LaunchBox pitch nights online. We knew some of the people applying and, listening to their pitches, I started realising that entrepreneurship was something I would enjoy. A year later we pitched at and won the TES Dragons Den which got us our place on Launchbox.
Diana: Launchbox was my dream, even before I came to Trinity. I was still at school when I came up with an app idea to help non-English speakers access government support in their native language. To develop it, I applied to different competitions like SciFest and was a semi-finalist in the Fenergo Communications Award. It was at the Patch Summer Accelerator that I found out about Launchbox. In college, I was heartbroken when I was rejected from Dragon’s Den but I decided to apply for LaunchBox anyway. To my surprise I was shortlisted to pitch at Tangent, which was mind blowing, and then I was chosen to continue on to the programme. I was over the moon!
Tell us about the startups you have been developing in Launchbox?
Peadar: My start-up, Imprint Esports, is an esports player analytics solution. Esports is a booming video game industry, now played professionally worldwide.
Diana: I started my digital literacy company Script in 2020, to tackle the language barrier faced by many asylum seekers accessing support services in Ireland. Bringing it to LaunchBox has really accelerated it.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience of the programme?
Peadar: Launchbox was an incredible experience for myself and my co-founders. It’s an intense programme but everyone bonded over the passion we had for our startups. Spending every day in an office together brought us incredibly close as a group, and even now I would consider our cohort to be some of my best friends. The culture was one of hard work but also of comradery - the social events allowed us to spend time with each other outside work.
Diana: I was surrounded by people from so many disciplines and at different stages of their degrees or masters. It was insane to realise that we all share the same love and passion for developing our ideas. Everyone was so supportive and so hardworking. Three months on since Demo Day, and we all still really support each other. I love bouncing ideas off them!
What has surprised you about participating in LaunchBox?
Peadar: I was very surprised by my own work ethic and just how far I was willing to go for the sake of our startup. I remember one time we worked from 10am until 2am the next morning because we had a deadline - I would never had the motivation for this, except for our start-up. I also didn’t realise how many supports are available for startups in Ireland.
Diana: How supportive everyone was. I started working on Script during secondary school and not that many people encouraged me but in Launchbox no matter what your idea is, everyone would say “Go out and test it! Explore, experiment, pivot if need be, but never stop thinking creatively about how to go about solving a personal issue or a universal issue.” It feels like there’s nothing more valuable than failing and trying it out again.
What are your hopes and goals for the future?
Peadar: I want to continue working on our start-up and really develop it. This year I’ll be competing in the Nativz collegiate esports Formula One tournament that will take place throughout the year - my goal is to finish in the top three of that tournament.
Diana: Hopefully Script takes off - running it fulltime would be a dream come true. Otherwise a quiet life in a job that I am passionate about it. I would certainly love to be involved in policy making, and maybe do a masters completely outside my comfort zone... I would love to be fluent in Japanese and Chinese by the time I graduate, and I also want to continue to inspire and empower girls into STEM.