Maynooth University Launches 2017 Student Entrepreneurship Challenge

Dr Peter Robbins with Peter Lillis (4th year Biology student and last year's winner) and Jacqui McNab, CEO of the Kildare Enterprise Board
Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 14:30


Speaking at the launch of the Eden Entrepreneurship Challenge 2017 in Maynooth University, Dr Peter Robbins, competition organiser and manager of the University’s centre for Enterprise, Design and Innovation (EDEN) welcomed Jacqui McNabb, CEO of the Kildare Local Enterprise Office, as the new co-sponsor of the competition.  Peter was especially delighted with this new sponsorship because of the resources; the energy and enthusiasm it brings but most of all because it links early stage student business ideas with possible future mentors and funding opportunities from outside the college.
Jacqui McNabb, a serial entrepreneur herself and now CEO of the Kildare Local Enterprise Office, encouraged the students to enter the competition.  The Local Enterprise Office in Kildare serves as a first stop shop, providing small businesses with financial support, advice on starting and growing a business and training services to develop enterprise in the Kildare region.
Jacqui described how her own career started as a young designer and that innovation (especially design thinking) is a way of thinking that stands to you for life. She added that the Local Enterprise Office are delighted to be involved in encouraging the sparks of early stage ideas and entrepreneurs which might evolve and develop into significant businesses.  Jacqui will be a judge on the panel for the competition final in May this year.
The Maynooth University Student Enterprise Competition, one of the first of its kind, was originally launched almost a decade ago by the University’s commercialisation department.  It has subsequently gone from strength to strength and is now probably the most established and well funded student innovation competition in the country.  With two principal sponsors, McCann Fitzgerald and Kildare Local Enterprise Office, as well as some limited sponsorship from Enterprise Ireland, the competition offers a first prize of €5000 a second prize of €4000 and a third prize of €1500.
Previous winners have gone on to take their ideas and convert them into successful businesses with the help and support, as well as the prize money the competition provides. 
Maynooth University’s own business incubation unit is home to a some early stage start-ups that have emerged from the competition - such as the leading brand of meat-free and dairy-free burgers and sausages: Moodley Manor.
Note to Maynooth University Students
EDEN, the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, Design & Innovation, are once again looking for the next Entrepreneur of the year!!!
We’re inviting students to come forward and enter our Eden Entrepreneurship Challenge 2017 and come along to some of our fun events to help you shape your idea into a testable business concept and, hopefully, a more tangible innovation asset.
If you have an idea that you think has potential and that you’ve been thinking about for a while but have yet to do anything about – this is the time to get involved with Eden. The competition Moodle page is here – please log on and enrol to hear of our events and get involved.
Your idea doesn’t have to be ‘market ready’ - we’re here to help you with that.  Just talk to us about the idea and we will work with you to shape it into a product-market fit.  Following the launch, there will be a series of workshops and evening sessions about various elements of preparing your idea for the competition - follow us on Moodle to stay informed.