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A Display of Entrepreneurship Excellence from CUBS Students

Posted on: 20 May 2022

A Display of Entrepreneurship Excellence from CUBS Students

The Entrepreneurship at CUBS Business Idea Challenge (BIC) is an entrepreneurship challenge that was introduced in 2021 and it quickly became a flagship entrepreneurship competition within CUBS. This dynamic challenge is opened to all CUBS students from all levels and programmes and it provides a platform for students to embark on a business journey, explore their entrepreneurial skills and design something that could make a difference in society and stand out in the market. The key aims of the CUBS BIC are to encourage entrepreneurial mindsets, unleash creativity, nurture healthy competitiveness, develop UCC Graduate Attributes and business skills, provide business mentoring, increase extra-curricular offerings, and advance the student experience. The exciting sentiment that this competition evokes was best summarised in its tagline ‘That feeling of creating something new.’ and ideas from all sectors were welcomed. In 2022, a total of 25 video entries were received from 110 students. The participating students presented a wide range of ideas (from technology, sustainability and clothing, to food and entertainment), and came from various programmes: BSc Business Information Systems, BComm, BSc Food Marketing and Entrepreneurship, BSc Accounting, MSc Design and Development of Digital Business, MSc in Food Business and Innovation and MSc Business Information and Analytics Systems.

A panel of judges with vast industry, entrepreneurship and innovation experience included Sean O'Sullivan (Head of Enterprise at LEO South Cork), Liam Fitzgerald (National Marine Incubation Manager, UCC), Aimee Corcoran (Manager, Advisory - Deals, PwC) and David O'Flynn (Chief Financial Officer, Dixon International Logistics). The judges were impressed with the high quality of students’ presentations, pitching skills, enthusiasm, and belief in the business idea that all the students displayed in the challenge.

The CUBS BIC 2022 Showcase took place in the West Wing at UCC, with the Prize Ceremony held in UCC’s award-winning building The Hub. The following prizes were presented in the Undergraduate Category: The Best Overall Business Idea - PROtential by Aoife Kelleher, Laura Killmartin and Denis O’Sullivan; The Best Innovative Idea – ProYos by Shona Holahan, Kate Cronin, James Keating and Gearoid Dillane; The Most Sustainable Idea - BlendEase by Sarah Coleman, Sally Boylan and Ruth Hanrahan; and The Best Pitch - SuperSub by Andrew Long, Leah Deasy, Hannah O’Connell and Emma Cleary. In the Postgraduate Category, the winners were: The ​Best Overall Business Idea - KOTA by Devon O’Mahony and Duc Huu Nguyen; The Best Innovative Idea – Fern Workwear by Beth O’Brien; The Most Sustainable Idea – Beyond the Cut by Patrice Kenneally, Travis Treadwell, Beth O’Brien, Makayla Chester, James McNulty, Jack Coogan and Uduak Ekpenyong; and The Best Pitch – Bite Back by Grace McLeish, Aoife Naddy, Kate Linehan, Chiamaka Ikejiofor, Megan Pigott, Steven Condon and Kate Healy.

‘The BIC was an invaluable and enjoyable experience that benefited us in a multitude of ways. It required critical thinking to write the business plan, spurred creativity in the making of the video, and we gained the confidence and capability to speak publicly. Also, it was the perfect reason to take a needed break from the library during Final Year! We became closer as a group and had fun while doing it.’

- The Best Overall Business Idea in the Undergraduate Category: PROtential

Beth O’Brien won The Best Innovative Idea in the postgraduate category with her Fern Workwear for women in trade, that was described by the judges as a very important and relevant new idea. Beth found that the CUBS BIC 2022 helped her to make steps in the right direction with the launch of her new business. She was able to 

'practice my presentation skills, and got a lot of useful feedback from the judges. Preparing the video pitch and business proposition was also a great opportunity to push my business forwards, with the help of the CUBS coordinators and judges’.  

‘The BIC 2022 was a great experience. It gave me the opportunity to validate the idea by sharing and getting feedback from the judges. Which meant a lot to me, as an entrepreneur. Feedback helps me to improve not just the project, but also to develop myself.

It taught us a lot about developing our initial idea and also about being able to prepare and convincingly pitch our final idea to the panel. It was also great to see the work done by all of the other groups, and it was great to witness the sense of entrepreneurship in the CUBS departments’.

- The Best Overall Business Idea in the Postgraduate Category: KOTA

The CUBS BIC nurtures students' entrepreneurial skills and creates a pipeline of prospective student start-ups from CUBS. The event was sponsored by the CUBS Entrepreneurship Fund. The BIC was organised and coordinated by a multidisciplinary Committee from across CUBS: Dr Lana Repar, Professor Joe Bogue, Dr Gillian Barrett, Dr Lawrence Dooley and Dr Brian O’Flaherty.