Calling all enterprising students - The Student Entrepreneur Awards 2015 Now Open

Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI launch entrepreneurship awards for thirdlevel students

Prize fund of €30,000 cash and €30,000 consultancy for enterprising students

From L to R: Darren O’Connor, Last Year finalist with project Motus, Gillian Slattery, Enterprise Ireland, and Eric Risser, Winner of Roots in Research Award.
From L to R: Darren O’Connor, Last Year finalist with project Motus, Gillian Slattery, Enterprise Ireland, and Eric Risser, Winner of Roots in Research Award.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today (Monday 6th October 2014) launched the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards 2015. This is part of a major drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students and young people to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. This is a great opportunity for ambitious and enterprising third level students to build a real-world business venture and at the same time be in with a chance to win a prize from the overall €35,000 cash prize fund, which includes a €10,000 first prize, as well as a €30,000 consultancy fund.

The Student Entrepreneur Awards 2015 which are co-sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Grant Thornton and Intel, are open to all full time third level students in the island of Ireland and are Ireland’s biggest and longest established student enterprise competition for third level student teams from the whole island.

Minister Bruton said: ”Two thirds of all new jobs come from start-ups in the first five years of existence, according to Central Bank data. That is why we have put start-ups right at the centre of our jobs plan – in Ireland we have great entrepreneurs and start-ups, we just don’t have enough of them.

The Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards aim to support and encourage more students to start their own businesses and really consider enterprise as a valid career option. I encourage students across our universities and colleges to avail of the specialist advice and assistance on offer and enter the competition”.

The priority is to get students thinking now about starting their own business as a career option once they graduate. The sponsors also bring their expertise to nurturing the finalists in the competition to Commercialise their business by providing them with expert guidance in areas such as intellectual property, market research, finances, technology development, public relations and advertising, all aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to develop viable businesses and create jobs.

Third level students represent a seed bed for future business start-ups and last year’s finalists who attended the launch are a great example of the commercial potential for student entrepreneurs;

Darren O’Connor from UL with his company Motus won the Intel High Achieving Merit award 2014. Motus is a complete joint rehabilitation and treatment system that motivates the client to achieve their recovery goals and empowers the physiotherapist in making effective treatment decisions for the benefit of their client. The product provides a constant link between the physiotherapist and the client, thus maintaining a structured and motivated approach to the rehabilitation process.

Dr Eric Risser from TCD with his company Artomatix won the Roots in Research Award 2014.  Artomatix solves the problem that digital art creation for the video game and movie industries takes too long and costs too much. Artomatix technology enables a computer to simulate human-like artistic creativity. This software helps digital artists make art faster, cheaper and better. Eric Risser identified a gap in the animation and digital art industry and developed a Texture Synthesis Based Hybridisation for Images and Geometry technology in response.

The Roots in Research award is an exciting new aspect to the Student Entrepreneur Awards that recognises a student or group’s ability to spot the commercial potential of the state-funded research project which they are involved in.

Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Entrepreneurship, added: “The Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards campaign features a host of approaches to reach the students and make sure they get every encouragement and support to develop viable business plans. We encourage them to team up with their colleagues and friends from other faculties to be innovative, collaborative and creative on coming up with products that will help them explore their ideas and own appetite for going into business for themselves.”

Following on from last year’s success students are requested to submit a video that captures how great their idea is and shows commercial and export potential.   Other features of the competition include a website, facebook page, twitter account and pod casts – reaching out to students in the world that they know best. The sponsors are currently supporting all of the internal entrepreneurship competitions within the institutions on the island of Ireland with a €500 cash sponsorship prize for each college.

Executives from Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI will be presenting the details of the competition to all colleges and institutions between now and the closing date for the competition on 17 March 2015.

For more information visit the website on:-


For further information contact the Press Office, Enterprise Ireland


Grace Labanyi

Enterprise Ireland
Communications Officer

+353 1 7272746

+353 87 3286404

Grace Labanyi