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29 student entrepreneurs are celebrated

Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 3:16pm

A round of applause is in order for some entrepreneurs who recently completed an accelerator programme at three colleges in Cork and Kerry.

29 young entrepreneurs were recently congratulated on successfully completing the Student Inc. Accelerator Programme at CIT, UCC and Institute of Technology Tralee.

The programme runs from June-August and encourages students to develop and grow their innovative ideas and start their own business.

Students receive €4,000 in funding to purchase equipment and a wage to offset a summer job as well as expert training, mentoring, office space and the opportunity to learn from and pitch to entrepreneurs.

A showcase event also recently took place with all 29 students and their three support teams in attendance virtually, combined with an online audience of guests from all over Ireland, including guest speaker James Whelton, co-founder of CoderDojo, coder and venture capital advisor.

Speaking at a virtual showcase event, Carole O’Leary, Programme Manager said: “This year’s programme had to be adapted in response to Covid-19 restrictions and the need to social distance. My colleagues at UCC, IT Tralee and I worked in conjunction with the Technology Enhanced Learning Department in CIT and the E-Learning Development and Support Unit in IT Tralee to design a way to deliver the programme online and ensure students received the full benefit of the programme.

“As all training modules, one-to-one expert mentoring sessions and regular review meetings were delivered virtually over the summer, the online teams put a lot of thought into new ways of maximising the daily contact between the students and the support teams in the three colleges.” She concluded: “Developing a new business idea can be a lonely place, particularly during a pandemic. In normal times, office space is allocated to each student in their respective incubators with access to their start-up communities, so we ensured plenty of social interaction each week, in a trusted environment, to help alleviate isolation and compensate for the lack of face-to-face contact. We are very proud that we kept Ireland’s longest running student accelerator programme running and we now have 29 new entrepreneurs with fully-fledged business and completed business plans.”

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