Two Atlantic Technological University (ATU) students and a graduate have won coveted places for their business ideas on Ireland’s longest running student accelerator, the Student Inc Programme; Mairead Clarke from Clifden, Co Galway, for her customer-led generator app for beauticians and freelance make-up artists called “Beauty Base”; Paul Daly from Athlone, Co Westmeath, for his online recruitment platform for the hospitality sector “EmployMe”; and Mechanical Engineering graduate Shane Lydon from Bushypark, Galway city, for his business idea called “A bladeless modular wind power generation device.”
The Student Inc Programme is led by Munster Technological University (MTU) and facilitated in ATU through the Innovation Hub Galway. Each student receives office space in ATU’s iHub, €4,000 seed funding and access to a network of entrepreneurs, trainers, mentors, and investors.
Mairead Clarke, final year student on the Bachelor of Business (Hons) programme, was supervised by her ATU lecturer Dr Miriam McSweeney who helped develop the prototype using SAP’s Design Thinking methodology. “It’s wonderful to see the fruits of our collaboration with SAP enabling student progression. Mairead took this excellent business idea and built this prototype software application which women all over the country will welcome on their mobile devices. Her achievement is an excellent example of the benefits that accrue to students from these kind of successful industry collaborations which develop their knowledge and skills in emerging business technologies.”
Paul Daly, final year student on the B Bs Integrated Enterprise Systems, was supervised by his lecturer Kevin Derrane who says: “It’s beyond heart-warming to see a student’s work come together in this way. Through his own initiative Paul was able to bring his idea “EmployMe” to a place none of us could have imagined, potentially benefiting many people. I am delighted to have been a brief part of his journey. He exemplifies the type of industry collaboration this institution strives for. I wish him every success in the future”.
Shane Lydon who graduated in 2021 with a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering (product design stream), was supervised by his lecturer David Keary: “I’m delighted that Shane has won a place on the Student Inc Programme. During his final year project he investigated the optimization of a cooling system for a liquid-cooled two-stroke engine where using Ansys Software he tested potential systems, researched operating conditions and material properties, and determined factors which improve cooling efficiency where the project yielded some significant results. His new business idea “A bladeless modular wind power generation device” is an excellent example of Shane utilising his knowledge and skills learned over the four years of Mechanical Engineering honours degree programme to develop an emerging technology that meets affordable and clean energy requirements.”
Turlough Rafferty, ATU iHub Operations Manager, says: “Student Inc is Ireland’s premier student entrepreneurship development programme designed to provide an integrated and comprehensive set of business development supports to participants in the nurturing environment of university-linked innovation centres. Over a 13-week period, students develop their business idea to fully detail and validate their business proposition, identifying potential customers, sales channels, and funding options.”
Carole O’Leary, Student Inc Programmes Co-ordinator, Munster Technological University (MTU), says: “We were delighted with the level of interest in the competition this year. The pandemic forced us to move the programme online which in turn provided us the opportunity to expand the programme beyond Munster. We are delighted to have ATU and iHub as the incubator partner on board for the 2022 programme.”