Students from NUI Galway scoop top prize at Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2012

DRS.ie wins €10,000 prize and title ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’

Pictured are winners from NUI Galway, Dearbhaile Forde, Garrett Archbold, Justin Conboy.
Pictured are winners from NUI Galway, Dearbhaile Forde, Garrett Archbold, Justin Conboy.

A team of students from NUI Galway has today (Friday 8 June 2012) been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’.  The students won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, with their project DRS.ie.  This year celebrates the 30th year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Intel and Grant Thornton.

The winning team are First Year Engineering students at NUI Galway and beat off stiff competition with their project DRS.ie.  This stands for Drag Reduction Systems. The team have invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%. The team is represented by students Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold.

The Think Outside the Box Awards are aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option and this year attracted submissions from over 360 third level students from colleges across Ireland.  With its biggest ever prize fund matching the Award’s 30 years in existence, €30,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees are available for winners to help them make a serious start at making their idea a commercial reality.  

In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept. 

The ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland, went to the AWAMA project from Queen’s University Belfast.  Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists.

The Emerging and Dynamic Company of the Year Award of €5,000, co-sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland, went to Zooplar from UCC.  Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists.  Zooplar also won an all expenses paid trip to Poland from Intel, to participate in the Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition.

Congratulating the award winners on their success, Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said:  ‘This competition is focussed on giving students hands on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business to help them discover their flair and talent.  Once again, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions from across the colleges.  These young people show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams that are so critical to setting up successful new businesses and creating much needed jobs.  They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future.  It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements’. 

Congratulating the winners, Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: ‘Young people in Northern Ireland are great at generating new business ideas and entrepreneurial talent. Competitions like this provide a platform for them to demonstrate their highly innovative concepts and the commercial skills required to take them forward. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is focused on supporting young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, as we need them to grow our future economy’.

For more information, visit Think Outside the Box Awards.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Eileen Banks
Enterprise Ireland,
Press Officer

Eileen Banks
 01 7272805
087 2445814

Note for Editors: 

 

About the Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2012

The ‘Think outside the Box’ competition, now in its 30thyear, is Ireland’s biggest and longest established third-level student competition.  It is co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Grant Thornton and Intel, and is open to all full time third level students in the island of Ireland. 

The competition is designed to encourage innovation, promote enterprise and foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among third level students.  As well as €30,000 in cash prizes, the competition offers €30,000 in consultancy to help the finalists commercialise their ideas as follows:

  • €12,500 - overall business advice and training from Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI
  • €10,000 - Intellectual Property consultancy and protection from Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys
  • €5,000 – Brand, Advertising and Digital consultancy from Mammoth for the overall winner
  • €2,500 – Business Plan development from Grant Thornton
  • All expenses paid trip to Poland to participate in Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition  

Summary Profiles of Award Winning Projects

 

Winning team and College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012

  • DRS.ie – NUI Galway – Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde & Garrett Archbold

The team are First Year Engineering Students at NUI Galway. DRS.ie stands for Drag Reduction Systems. The team have invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%.

This balloon type devise is attached to the back of a truck and has two side air inlets. These air inlets allow the balloon to inflate, filling the drag producing gap between the truck and the container, when it is moving at speed but also allow it to deflate when it is stationary or travelling at slow speeds. The importance of the deflating of the device is that the product doesn't get damaged when the truck is making tight manoeuvres.

An 8% reduction per truck will mean savings of about €5000 (CSO Transport Report 2007) per truck per year and €160 in Irish Government Carbon Taxes per truck per year rising to €304 per truck per year by 2020. (ERSI Working Paper No. 246 June 2008). 

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Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award – co sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland

  • AWAMA – Queen’s University Belfast – Aaron Robinson, William Imrie, Michael Neill, Alastair Mitchell and Andrew Beckett 

AWAMA are introducing the Apex airline seat that "puts the power of personal space back into your hands”.  The Apex seat addresses a major problem within the industry and one to date without a standard solution. 

The conventional recline of the airline seat has always been a problem; a reclined seat intrudes the personal space of the passenger behind who has no control over this.  The Apex airline seat is the solution, with its unique design allowing the passenger to enjoy the same levels of recline without introducing this problem by reclining within its own space.

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Emerging and Dynamic company of the year – co sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland AND Intel Prize – An all-expenses paid trip to participate in an Intel European Entrepreneurship Competition 

http://www.intelchallenge.eu/

  • Zooplar – UCC – Brian Corish and Gillian Barrett  

Zooplar is a new type of business. The team are building world-class brand engagement platforms that enable companies and creative agencies to deploy innovative digital media campaigns that create meaningful connections between the brand and its customers.

Personalisation of the user experience is at the heart of everything Zooplar does.  Their product Social AR is the world’s first augmented reality platform that runs on Facebook and through a unique architecture provides each user with a personalised brand experience. 

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Academic Prize

  • The Academic Prize totalling €2,000 was awarded to Sean F O’Leary, Senior Lecturer at CIT, as the academic institution with the highest quality projects overall and for his commitment to the awards.

Merit Awards 

  • HOWL - DCU – Conor Coyle & Colm Fallon
  • Strata Vision – DIT Bolton St – Conor Bennett, Henry Daly, Stephen Tyrrell & Darren Bratten
  • Get Health – UCD – Chris Rooney
  • Buteos – Queens University Belfast – Judy Black, James Coalter, Declan McAuley, Peter Johnston & Jason Cardwell
  • Dynamic Greens – University of Ulster – Steven Calvert, Michael Handford & Romain Quechon
  • MSI- CIT – Daniel Corkery, Rebecca Lyall, Richard Childs, Richard O’Sullivan, Declan Cotter, Sean Leahy & Colm Keane
  • PYRA- Aid – CIT – Alan O’Reilly, Siobhan Hickey, Laura Hannon, John Roberts, Sandra Hayes, Stephen O’Brien & Thomas Thornton