More than 70 submissions were received from budding entrepreneurial students from across Atlantic Technological University (ATU) ahead of the upcoming Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards.

As part of an awareness campaign of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur Awards, ATU hosted a separate competition with a prize fund of €3150 being available for successful applicants. The competition prizes were generously sponsored by Local Enterprise Offices of Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway; N-TUTOR and EU Green.

There was a significant increase in the level of applications this year, with over 70 being received from across the campuses of ATU.

From the 70 that applied, twelve were shortlisted for awards, with the overall winner “Smoke Guardian” taking home an award of €500 with their idea Vibrating Smoke Detecting wristband for deaf, hard of hearing and elderly individuals. The winning team are; Roisin McNulty (Donegal Town), Aoife Costello (Monivea, Galway), Gillian Donnellan (Kilkishen, Co Clare) and Katey Hayes (Daingean, Co Offaly).

In second place was Galway duo, Pataire Crawford from Claregalway and William Dalton Moylough, with “Colic Detector”, a device strapped to horses to detect colic.

In third place was ATU St Angela’s student, Sarah Downes from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford with her product, “Miss Oaties”, an upcycled gluten free brownie mix.

Eve – Anne McCarron, External Engagement Manager at ATU thanked the students and staff for their work and support in bringing the competition together, “the success of this competition is very much down to the collaboration with colleagues across the ATU and our shared interest and ambition to work together, I’m grateful to all that supported this again this year and look forward to developing this further in the future”

President Dr Orla Flynn welcomed the students and sponsors noting the importance of such competitions; “Encouraging our students to engage in entrepreneurship is something that will stand to them. We believe that students will learn skills and acquire competencies that will help them in their future career, stating that weather you start your own business or work for a multinational, or an SME and you learn an entrepreneurial way of thinking, that again is beneficial for whatever type of employment you engage in.”

Speakers at the event included Liam Kiely, Head of Enterprise in Local Enterprise Office, Sligo and Majella Maher, Senior Regional Enterprise Executive of Enterprise Ireland who both commended the students on their success to date.

Geraldine Beirne, New Frontiers Network Manager North West, introduced recent graduate Sarah Cosgrove – founder of blue economy software service company, after sharing details of New Frontiers and how it can play a part in their next steps to develop their ideas. JJ O’Hara, successful serial entrepreneur, shared his thoughts on the new opportunities that exist in the future construction industry.

Students wishing to explore opportunities in entrepreneurship sustainability across Europe were informed about the EU Green University Alliance – as part of an inspiration session which featured a further two local entrepreneurs – Sean Gilbride of Digifood, where he helps food manufacturers to streamline their product development and specifications and Denise Mulvaney, a UX consultant who helps fellow businesses to frame their problems for success.

The ATU Student Entrepreneur Awards ceremony will be hosted on the Donegal campus in 2025.

Another Entrepreneurship initiative – Student Inc, creates a further opportunity for students to continue to build and develop their business idea, with the support of expert mentors and business training.

If anyone would like to learn more about future ATU Student Entrepreneurship competitions and opportunities, please register your interest by emailing Eve – Anne McCarron at