Enterprise Ireland opens 40th Student Entrepreneur Awards competition for entries

1st December 2020

Mark OSullivan SEA
Mark O'Sullivan, 2020 Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year, University College Cork
  • Awards are open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from across Ireland’s third level institutions
  • Closing date for entries is 12th March 2021

Enterprise Ireland is inviting students from third level institutions nationwide with an innovative business idea with real commercial potential to apply to this year’s 40th Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Cruickshank, Grant Thornton and the Local Enterprise Offices.

Ten finalists will be selected to compete for several awards such as the Cruickshank Intellectual Property High Achieving Merit Award, the Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award and the Local Enterprise Office ICT Award.

The overall winner will share in a €35,000 prize fund and receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their concept. The award winners will also receive expert advice and mentoring support from Enterprise Ireland and the programme sponsors to help them turn their ideas into a commercial reality.

UCC student Mark O’Sullivan was the 2020 Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year for his medical device Neurobell for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborn babies.

Other 2020 award winners included RCSI student Siobhan Ryan for PressiDect, a peri-operative pressure detection system designed for use on a theatre table, and CIT student Simon Dring who developed the TraumAlert SmartGuard to improve concussion awareness and player safety at all levels.

Brothers Jack and Nick Cotter from UCC and LIT also received an award for a lamb-handling system called The Cotter Crate which helps to prevent back injury for Irish sheep farmers.

Richard Murphy, Manager LEO Support, Policy & Co-ordination Unit, Enterprise Ireland said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Student Entrepreneur Awards which have been showcasing the creativity and innovation of third level students in Ireland over the last four decades.

“On an annual basis, we receive more than 1000 entries from talented students all over the country. It’s always enormously exciting to see the incredible work that’s been done in our third level institutes to find solutions to challenges across a range of sectors. Combined with entrepreneurial ambition and a focus on achieving success, the Awards recognise the potential of turning these great ideas into profitable businesses of the future.

“If you are a third level student with an idea with commercial focus, then we encourage you to enter the Student Entrepreneur Awards 2021. This is the beginning of a journey to becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business.”

2020 Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year, Mark O’Sullivan, Neurobell, added: “The Student Entrepreneur Awards were a fantastic opportunity and experience. They provided a national and international platform to help achieve my commercialisation goals and Enterprise Ireland has provided continuous support since the awards.”

Closing date for Student Entrepreneur Award entries is 12th March 2021. The award winners will be announced at a ceremony on 11th June 2021.

A Student Entrepreneur Awards information webinar on “Innovation for the future and how to be agile” is available to view here.

Entries to the Student Entrepreneur Awards 2021 can be made via www.studententrepreneurawards.com


For further information, please contact:

Brigid Burke

Press and Media Relations

Enterprise Ireland

Brigid Burke

+353 87 1803995