UStart competition to provide platform for student business ideas

The Chief Commercial Officer of the Ryan Academy believes that DCU students have great business ideas and that the UStart competition will act a good springboard to put them into motion.

The Ryan Academy will select between six and ten of the strongest entrepreneurs in DCU to mentor them over the summer holidays through their UStart competition in the coming weeks.

Successful students will receive €5,000 in cash along with four months accommodation in DCU. They will also benefit from free office space in The Hive, a hub for start-ups in the Liffey Trust Centre near the O2 arena.

Eoghan Stack said “We’re convinced that a lot of students actually have some fantastic ideas themselves for businesses, for things that they’re really passionate about doing, but they don’t really think that they might be able to translate that into a viable full-time business.”

“We want DCU students to start thinking like entrepreneurs, to start acting like entrepreneurs and consider what that actually means,” he added.

Through the UStart competition, the Ryan Academy bids to help students develop their ideas and companies and improve them in a short condensed time over the summer holidays.

Stack said “We think too many graduates nowadays just consider traditional career options to leave DCU and go work for a bank or some big company.”

UStart students will be able to learn day to day work from other start-ups and experts from around Ireland, from pitching to development and investment.

“We are structured to take a lot of the risks away from running your own company. We would be ensuring that nobody takes too much of a financial risk to make sure that if it doesn’t work then students take all the learning and no negative output, ” says Paddy Quinlan, DCU UStart Manager.

At the end of the programme, a Dragons’ Den style event will be hosted in the Helix where participants can pitch their business ideas and companies to a panel of investors.

The DCU Ryan Academy is a partnership between the Ryan family, who are behind airline company Ryanair, and DCU.

A total of seven companies were selected last year across the various faculties.

The competition is open to all students within DCU.

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The deadline for applications is April 14th, 2014. An application form can be found online at

Marie Lecoq

Image Credit: Marie Lecoq

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