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June 2017 NUI Galway Students Named as Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneurs of the Year 2017
NUI Galway Students ‘Coachbook’ online platform wins €10,000 prize
Paddy MacDonagh and Chris Bogues, both final year Bachelor of Commerce students at NUI Galway, have won the overall Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneurs of the Year Award and have been named ‘College Entrepreneurs of the Year 2017’. The winning entrants beat off stiff competition with their project ‘Coachbook’, an online platform for riding coaches to train horse riders remotely through live video streaming.
The project started in January 2017 as part of the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module at NUI Galway (available to all final year students of Commerce, Business Information Systems, Information Technology and Engineering programmes) and has won multiple awards within the University throughout the semester.
Dr Johanna Clancy, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module lecturer, at NUI Galway, said: “I am very proud of our team and this wonderful achievement. Paddy and Chris are excellent ambassadors for NUI Galway. This module receives great support locally, where mentors from Galway-based businesses, multinational corporations and start-ups, guide our students in developing and refining their business ideas. This collaboration is invaluable and we are extremely grateful for the impact it has on the 400 students who take this module.”
Paddy MacDonagh has worked with Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway since 2016. As a team, the Coachbook project utilised all the supports available through Blackstone LaunchPad to develop their business idea and take their project to market. Natalie Walsh from Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “It has been amazing to work with such a passionate team on such a novel and fantastic idea, and to see the students develop and learn from both inside of the classroom and through our programme on campus. Initiatives such as the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module and our experiential programme in Blackstone LaunchPad is something every student should experience. The skills learned stay with our students for life.”
The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of a major drive aimed at encouraging students to start their own business as a career option. The substantial prize fund includes €35,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees which are available for winners to help them turn their idea into a commercial reality. In addition to the top prize, the winning team will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.
Brendan Flood, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Now in its 36th year, the Student Entrepreneur Awards attracted submissions from over 560 third level students from colleges across Ireland. This competition gives students valuable hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business. The calibre of applications clearly demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive across Ireland’s universities and colleges. Congratulations to all involved.”