Irish Students: Go On, Create the Next Billion-Dollar Startup

Ireland’s entrepreneurial students aiming to be the next Collison, Zuckerberg, Brin or Page will gather in University College Cork (UCC) this weekend for the country’s first “Irish Student Startup Weekend”, kicking off on the evening of March 28th in UCC’s Western Gateway Building.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour high-octane event during which ten teams are formed around pitched startup ideas, resulting in a prototype being produced by each team for judging at the end of the event. The Irish Student Startup Weekend is specifically targeted at college students interested in creating the next big thing, and aims to draw attendees from both Ireland and abroad.

The weekend is being organised by UCC’s Entrepreneurial and Social Society, with input from sister societies in UCD, DCU, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway.

“Startup Weekend is a movement which began in Colorado and has spread worldwide to promote entrepreneurship,” says Aidan Murphy, the Society’s Education Officer and co-organiser of the Irish Student Startup Weekend. “The first Cork Startup Weekend took place last April, and I was a volunteer for the three days assisting the organising team throughout the event. The weekend was amazing!

“A number of Student Startup Weekends have taken place already – a London Student Startup Weekend took place in December. We want to bring students from all over Ireland to Cork for a weekend of entrepreneurship, networking, socialising and great fun.”

On the first evening (Friday) after registration, one-minute pitches are given on a variety of business ideas, followed by a voting session where each participant can cast three votes using post-it notes. Ten of the ideas receiving the most votes are the ones that are run with over the weekend, with teams being formed around those passionate about the chosen ideas.

On Saturday, the teams work on their businesses, with the assistance of a group of coaches who will advise and give guidance on business models, coding and design, and market validation.

Then, on Sunday, after the projects are progressed further with more mentoring, the final pitches are made at the end of the day to an experienced panel of judges.

The event has lined up an impressive set of coaches from companies such as KonnectAgain, Vconnecta and WhatSalon. The final pitches will be judged by Pat Phelan of Trustev, Eamon Leonard of Engine Yard, and Sean O’Sullivan of SOS Ventures and RTÉ’s Dragon’s Den.

“We’re anticipating that we’ll see more than a few viable and ingenious startup ideas developed over the course of the weekend”, according to Eamon Curtin, Director of the UCC Ignite Programme that is also supporting the event.

Ireland has had three Startup Weekends so far: two in Dublin and one in Cork. A “Galway Startup Weekend” is also scheduled for April 25th. Startup Weekend is a non-profit organisation based in Seattle, and about 100,000 entrepreneurs have created at least 10,000 startups over the course of more than a thousand events.

You can register now for the Irish Student Startup Weekend at irelands-student.startupweekend.org for just €30. Students can use the special Technology Voice promo code “ISSW” to get a further €10 off the registration fee.

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