With one in four under-25 year-olds in Ireland unemployed, entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly popular option for young people eager to create their own opportunities.
The Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum (ISEF), held last Thursday, saw six student start-ups (ranging from producers of 3D printers to creators of game-changing graphic design technology) present their businesses to budding investors.
The annual student-run forum is a collaborative initiative of the UCD/TCD Innovation Academy and creates a vital link between entrepreneurs active at third-level and the Irish business community.
Organiser Ciara Clogher was delighted with the success of the event, highlighting that it featured “Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, 14-year-old CEO Jordan Casey and Lisa Vaughan from Enterprise Ireland, who talked about the funding and support in place for start-ups”.
Speaking to the Irish Times, ISEF Co-Head Eoghan Boyle, expressed his belief that “third-level institutions are a hub of new ideas and innovation and in order to give start-ups the best chance of success it is necessary to have well-established connections with formidable business leaders”.
Supporting innovative third-level students, DCU runs a ‘U-Start’ program through which students can test their ideas and benefit from financial support as well as mentoring from a network of professionals.
Also keen to promote student entrepreneurship, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are hosting a ‘Student Summit’ event in Dublin Castle on April 8th.
The event will see representatives of businesses such as Google and LinkedIn, as well as start-ups including Hot House and Buzzoo, advise students on how to make their ideas come to life.
One young woman who decided she would rather create her own social enterprise than study at college was Avril Clarke of ‘Better than Noodles’, an initiative which provides young people with information on cheap and healthy food options.
She highlighted how “because of the unemployment crisis, people are beginning to see entrepreneurship as a viable opportunity for them”.
Founder of SpunOut.ie, Ruairí McKiernan told The College View that “innovation doesn’t necessarily come about by governments in boardrooms, it comes about by people on the fringes… when they come together that’s when it gets really exciting”.
Image Credit: USI