NovaUCD student entrepreneur program kicks off

€ 17,000 prize fund available for participants


Students with NovaUCD’s 2022 Start-up Program. Photograph by Nick Bradshaw

The 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, an intensive four-week mentoring program for student entrepreneurs, has kicked-off with a cohort of 10 early-stage ventures and a total of 23 participants.

The four-week mentoring program, which uses the ‘lean start-up’ and ‘business model canvas’ approach, includes a series of online structured workshops and interactive workshops delivered by Rohan Perera and Raomal Perera, Lean Disruptor. Topics to be covered include customer development; value proposition; working in teams; design thinking; prototyping, environment mapping; financial planning and effective fundraising and pitching.

This year’s participants are focused on a wide range of business ideas in sectors such as, sustainable fashion, event management, household services, circular economy, human resources, and hospitality.


The entrepreneurship program, which is now in its eighth year, is run by NovaUCD, the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD), as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of the competition is to assist entrepreneurial students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular mentoring and pitching sessions.

At a final workshop, to be held in mid-June, each participating venture will pitch to a judging panel. Based on evaluation of the presentations an overall winning team will be selected and will be awarded a € 5,000 cash prize; the second placed team will be awarded a € 3,000 cash prize and the third placed team a € 2,000 cash prize. The remaining seven teams will each receive a € 1,000 cash prize for completing the program.

Tom Flanagan, director of enterprise and marketing, UCD said: “Over the next four weeks we will be supporting the student entrepreneurs as they begin the process of converting their innovative business ideas into early-stage ventures. Our objective with the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is to give students the knowledge and confidence to continue to develop and grow their ventures into start-ups competing on a national and international stage. ”

Over 120 students and over 50 early-stage ventures have completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition to date.

Former participants include Charlie Gleeson, who took part in the 2019 competition with an e-scooter business idea, which he has since developed into Zipp Mobility, Ireland’s leading micro mobility operator.

Students participating in this year’s program are from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy. Half of the participants are international students.

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