Students from CIT scoop top prize at Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2013

MasTech™ wins €10,000 prize and title ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2013’

Thursday 13 June 2013: Minister for Small Business, John Perry TD, announced today that a team of students from Cork Institute of Technology has been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2013’.  The students won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, with their project MasTech™.  This year celebrates the 31st year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Intel and Grant Thornton.

L to R: Owen McDonagh, Nicola O’Mahony, Miinister John Perry T.D., Minister for Small Business, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Damien McAuliffe

L to R: Owen McDonagh, Nicola O’Mahony, Miinister John Perry T.D., Minister for Small Business, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Damien McAuliffe

The winning multi-disciplinary team of students at CIT beat off stiff competition with their project MasTech™.  Mastitis has a significant adverse economic effect on dairy farmers throughout the world.  The team’s product is designed to enable early identification of mastitis in infected cows during the milking process, facilitating rapid isolation of an infected cow. The team is represented by Nicola O’Mahony, Donal Carey, Kenneth Barry, Damien McAuliffe, Ciaran Malone, Owen Mc Donagh and James Cahill.

The Think Outside the Box Awards are aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option and this year attracted submissions from over 400 third level students from colleges across Ireland.  The substantial prize fund includes €30,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees which 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 mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept. 

Think Outside the Box

In addition, the ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland, went to another project from CIT, Hush Hush HairdryersTM.  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 Rootie’s Crisps Limited from UCC.  Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists. 

The Intel prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the Intel Challenge Europe Award 2014 went to XpressLF from Queens University Belfast. 

Congratulating the award winners on their success, Minister Perry said:  ‘The Think Outside the Box Awards play a very important role in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in young people.  They are a valuable opportunity for third level students to test their flair for business.  They expose them to the challenges and excitement of taking an idea and nurturing it into a serious business proposition. These young people are our successful entrepreneurs of the future and I wish them all every success’.

Last year’s winning project, DRS.ie from students at NUI Galway, shows just how commercially successful projects that come through the Think Outside the Box Awards can be.  DRS.ie has grown from strength to strength with customer interest on a global scale and they have also received a Competitive Start Fund of €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland since winning the competition in 2012. 

Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said:  ‘This competition is focused on giving students hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business.  Throughout the year Enterprise Ireland supported all of the internal entrepreneurship competitions within the institutions on the island of Ireland with a €500 cash sponsorship prize for each college.  Enterprise Ireland and the sponsors are also working with third level students who have an idea to start their own internationally traded service or manufacturing business to develop their ideas further on a continuous basis.  It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements’.  

Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: ‘Competitions like this can act as an important springboard for tomorrow’s business leaders and provide a platform for our young people to demonstrate their highly innovative concepts and commercial skills. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is committed to supporting our young entrepreneurs achieve their full potential’.

For more information, visit the website Think Outside the Box Awards

ENDS

For Further Information Contact:

The Press Office

Or

Gillian Slattery
Regional Development Executive
Enterprise Ireland
Tel. 061 777027 or 086 8390531

Note for Editors:

About the Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2013

The ‘Think outside the Box’ competition, now in its 31st year, is Ireland’s biggest and longest established third-level student competition.  It is co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, 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 for all finalists.
  • €15,000 - Intellectual Property consultancy and protection from Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys for all finalists.
  • €2,500 – Business Plan development from Grant Thornton.
     

Summary Profiles of Award Winning Projects

  • Winning team and College Entrepreneur of the Year 2013

MasTech™ - CIT - Nicola O’Mahony, Donal Carey, Kenneth Barry, Damien McAuliffe, Ciaran Malone, Owen Mc Donagh, James Cahill

Mastitis has a significant adverse economic effect on dairy farmers throughout the world. Currently, most detection methods available are for the bulk milk tank. These methods do not facilitate rapid isolation of the infected cow. The developing MasTech™ product is designed to enable early identification of the infected cow during the milking process.

The MasTech™ product, developed by multi-disciplinary student team, AH TechnologyTM, is unique in that it is an automated device which can be retrofit to any existing milking parlour and will test the milk sample during the milking process causing minimal disruption to the farmer.  The early identification and isolation of the infected cow by MasTech™ has major animal welfare and husbandry benefits for the cow and herd, and also has significant and on-going financial benefits for the farmer, creamery, and milk processor.

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

Hush Hush HairdryersTM – CIT - John Kelleher, Mariah Reidy, Marco Quatrana, Kieran Minehane, Colm Kearney, Shane O’Driscoll, Niamh Ryan

The Hush Hush HairdyersTM device, product of multidisciplinary student team Sweet Sounding Electrics TM, provides a novel, effective and unobtrusive method of hair dryer noise reduction within both the home and salon environment.

In the home, excessively noisy hairdryers can wake sleeping children, make it difficult to converse and cause annoyance when watching TV.

In the hair salon multiple dryer environment - with noise levels for individual hairdryers measured by the Sweet Sounding Electrics TM team as exceeding 90dB - there are serious concerns for hearing impairment of hair dressers.

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  • Emerging and Dynamic company of the year – co sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland

Rootie’s Crisps Limited – UCC – Breffney O’Dowling-Keane, Maeve O’Mahony, Teresa Daly, Rebecca Geaney, Muireann Lynch, Cait Lynch

Today’s snack market is becoming continually more conscious of overall health and wellbeing. Current trends are for low fat, high protein products. Rooties offers a convenient alternative to crisps and other snack products.

Rooties are a healthy snack made from root vegetables containing little fat and fortified with protein. The team’s aim is to take the humble parsnip, carrot and beetroot, and preserve their natural affiliation with health while exposing the vegetables to the flavours of the world. 

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  • Intel prize - all-expenses paid trip to the Intel Challenge Europe Award 2014

XpressLF – Queens University Belfast- Vincent Burns, Ronan Corrigan, Alan Barr, James Crawford, Matthew Magill

The XpressLF team is producing a new, innovative and cost effective tool for the automotive service industry. The product itself is a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) activation tool. XpressLF is responding to European legislative changes that will ensure that all cars will soon have to be installed with a tyre pressure monitoring system. The innovative idea of utilising a smartphone allows XpressLF to drive down cost, yet offer more functionality than competitors.

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  • Academic Prize


The Academic Prize totalling €2,000 was awarded to Mary Dempsey, Senior Lecturer at NUIG, as the academic institution with the highest quality projects overall and for her commitment to the awards.

  • Merit Awards

Team Bluebower - DIT Bolton Street – Emily Flynn & Lotfi Dridi

RoboboxTM– CIT- Eoghan McEnery , Brian Hand, Aidan O Sullivan, David Linehan, James Fogarty, David Waterman, Donagh Good

RMK Security – University of Ulster – Richard Miller & Matthew Kyle

Nite Rider – University of Ulster – Sarah King

Smart Gate - NUI GALWAY – Aidan Breen & Simon Casey

AgTeCH4 – University of Limerick – Hannah Twomey, Liam Morrissey, Jeffrey Ahern & Bridin Ryan