100 great minds think alike

When Declan Egan created a start-up by the name of 100minds, he couldn’t foresee that it would raise over €400,000 for charity in just over two years. This year he wants to make a million.

The organisation, as a concept, is simple but genius. It aims to link students to professionals and get them working together in the name of charity. This year 100minds will give to Childline with funds being used to maintain their nightline service.

Each student who is involved is tasked with raising €1,000 and daunting though this may seem, DCU student, Jordan Kenna, says there is plenty of help on hand.

“You’re assigned a mentor and they’re your support. It’s a real family project and everyone works together,” he says.

“Most people hit that €1,000 target because there is so much support there.”

Of course, contact with mentors is one of the major draws of the project and can provide students with opportunities after college if utilised correctly. Ireland, after all, is a country reliant on networking, and famous for helping out that “friend of a friend”. 100minds boasts a choice of 140 mentors from 90 different companies.

“If you can think of a big company in Ireland, we have a mentor from it,” Jordan says, citing Google, Twitter, Paddy Power and KPMG, to name but a few.

Mentors are all recent graduates and are chosen for you based on the industry you hope to work in, be that marketing, technology or even journalism. If nothing else, it’s access to somebody who knows what it’s like to be a young person in your chosen field.

Connections aside, Jordan maintains the hands-on experience of working with 100minds is invaluable. Apart from studying Marketing, innovation and technology on campus, he was a finalist in UStart 2015 and is currently competing for the title of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur”.

“All of that has not even come close to how much I’ve learned from being involved in 100minds,” he says, after spending the summer interning at their office, based in the IFSC.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, honestly.”

With such positive advocates, it’s a wonder the organisation hasn’t received more student attention. It currently has only about 300 members. This year, however, 100minds is focusing on attracting people from different fields in a momentous drive to gain 1,000 new members and hit the desired million mark.

The social altruism of 100minds is perhaps the key to its success. Unlike normal fundraising efforts, it offers students real skills and incentives in return for their time, dedication and effort. For any interested parties, founder Declan Egan will hold an information evening on Thursday, October 15th at 6pm in DCU.

Rebecca Lumley

Image: Bernardos

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