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Frequently Asked Questions

Student Entrepreneur Awards


Want to learn more about the Student Entrepreneur Awards? We've put together a list of answers to the questions we get asked the most


Yes, entries are welcomed from individual students who have all bases of their idea covered; or groups of students who come together as a collaborative group to mix different skillsets to get their idea off the ground.

Yes, you can enter the Student Entrepreneur Awards competition even if you don’t have a supervisor.

The Supervisor’s role is to help and guide the students with their video and the application process.

Yes, this competition is exclusively for full time registered undergrad and postgrad students at third level colleges.

Yes, as long as they take part with a full-time registered student in Ireland and have the intention of setting up the business in Ireland.

No, unfortunately students must be full time registered student attending a third level college in Ireland.

No, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply to this competition as all applicants must be a full time registered student in third level college in Ireland.

Teams must contain a maximum of five students

Yes, Enterprise Ireland does not have a problem with joint entries and encourages collaboration on the Student Entrepreneur Awards competition. If a joint entry reaches the final then one college would have to take the lead In order to to avoid issues around hosting of the event the following year.

The idea must be the students’ own idea - the more original the better - making it easier to protect and patent the product/service and fast track the idea into a real business. The idea must also have commercial potential and be exportable.

Yes, provided the social enterprises has a commercial element to it.

Ask yourself is the proposed product/service innovative or an import substitution. Is it feasible and is there a market for it?

Has the market been thoroughly researched and potential competitors identified? Have the capital investment and operational cash requirements been identified and estimated realistically?

It is very important as it will be viewed throughout each stage of the competition if you get through to the final. So, before you make the final video cut and submit your application, make sure your video:

  1. Articulates the business idea/proposition;
  2. Explains the problem it solves and how it works;
  3. Highlights how the idea is innovative;
  4. Identifies the target customer and explains why they would buy it;
  5. Highlight the idea’s export potential.
  • Record in a quiet place with no background noise so that sound quality is good
  • Imagine pitching to customers: speak clearly with an even tone of delivery
  • Practice makes perfect, do plenty of practice before making the final cut
  • Get some help with the production of the video, ask friends or family members to give feedback during the production.

Student Entrepreneur Awards - Judging Process & Evaluation overview

Judging Process

The Student Entrepreneur Awards are judged in three stages. For each stage of the competition entries are evaluated and scored across the six points outlined in the scoring criteria.

Stage 1 - All entries received before the submission deadline are sent for the first round of review by Enterprise Ireland’s Business Development Unit.

Stage 2 - The top 50 projects are selected to go forward to the second round of the competition and submit a business plan to support their project. Business plans and videos are reviewed by the judging panel: Grant Thornton, Cruickshank, Local Enterprise Office, and Enterprise Ireland.

Stage 3 – The top ten entries are selected to pitch their project to the judging panel at the final in June.

The Pitch

The ten finalists pitch to the judges and address specific questions in relation to their project. The judges then score each of the final ten entries as outlined in the scoring criteria. The entrants receiving the highest overall score are declared the winners within individual categories.

The winners are announced at the awards ceremony in June each year.

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence or communication of any kind will be entered into in relation to decisions reached.


Entries to the Student Entrepreneur Awards are assessed and evaluated under each of the points below by our panel of judges from Grant Thornton, Cruickshank, Local Enterprise Office, and Enterprise Ireland.

1. Promoter/Management Team Capability - 20%
Does the team have the necessary skills required to develop and launch the proposed business?

2. Business Proposition - 20%
Does this project demonstrate that it is innovative and/or an original concept?

3. Feasibility of Implementation - 15%
Is it feasible and is there a market for it?
Planning and Projections – Has the market been researched & competitors identified?
How quickly can it be commercialised?
Does the project have export potential?

4. Finance - 15%
Have the capital investment and operational cash requirements been outlined?
Are the financial projections realistic? Provide details of how much you need and where you might get this start-up funding
When deciding on a price you need to consider a number of factors:
o How much will it cost you to make/provide your product or service?
o What are your other costs? – staff, rent, packaging, transport, marketing etc.
o How much profit do you need to make to cover your costs and make a profit?
o What and where is your market?
o What are your customers willing to pay?
o What are your competitors charging?

Provide a detailed pricing model for your product or service based on the above factors.

5. Marketing Plan – 15%

Product or service
What is the company proposing to do and what problem does it solve?
How is this different to what is currently available on the market or how does it improve a current product?
Describe how the market research was carried out and give examples

Who are your customers?

Market trends or issues
Describe trends or key issues anticipated in the market that may affect the marketplace

Who are the competitors and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Place/channels of distribution
Outline your selected routes to market and sales plan

6. Presentation – 15%
Professional approach & delivery, easy to read format

  • Has your project got commercial potential, what are you going to sell and do you have a market for it?
  • Who are you going to sell it to?
  • Why are they going to buy it from you, what is the unique selling point?
  • Have you developed a prototype of your product or are you close to developing a product?
  • How are you going to make money?

Please view this document for more information: SEA Judging Process

Get Started

How to Enter

Discover the Path: Access the complete guide on entering and succeeding – Explore our Brochure here. 

Stage 1

Students create a two minute video that showcases their great ideas, highlighting commercial and export potential. The videos are submitted via an online entry form.

Stage 2

The top 50 entries are shortlisted and asked to submit a business plan.

Stage 3

Ten projects go forward to the final where they present their ideas to the judging panel. This session concludes with the Student Entrepreneur Awards ceremony.


Please check out the competition timeline below

January - March

Call for video applications

March - April

Competition closes and entries evaluated


Top 50 submit a business plan


Top 10 finalists announced


Awards and winners announced 

3 people sitting and working on a project
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