Jelly sweets, hot sauces, Iranian cakes: CIT entrepreneur course hits a  sweet spot

Students have been beavering away this summer at the Rubicon Centre at CIT, developing their businesses — natural jellies for kids, tutorials for staying safe online, mushroom supplements, hot sauces and more...
Jelly sweets, hot sauces, Iranian cakes: CIT entrepreneur course hits a  sweet spot
CIT Student Inc Showcase group picture, including students from the University of Da Nang, Vietnam.at the Rubicon Centre, CIT Campus, Bishopstown, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

OVER the summer months, 12 student entrepreneurs have been working on 11 projects in the Rubicon Centre as part of the Cork Institute of Technology’s Student Inc Programme.

Student Inc is a summer programme that supports student entrepreneurs at CIT to help develop their business ideas.

The students are from a multitude of undergraduate courses in CIT including Culinary Arts, Herbal Science, BIS, Creative Digital Media, Business Studies, Marketing, IT Management, PR and New Media.

The programme is led by student enterprise interns Miriam Adair and Emilie O’Mahony; who play an important role in guiding these student entrepreneurs to develop and excel.

Each budding entrepreneur receives €4,000 to fund their business (expenses, equipment and a wage to offset a summer job) as well as a fully serviced office at CIT’s and Ireland’s premier incubation centre, the Rubicon Centre.

A major selling point of the programme is the peer to peer learning, not only between the 12 talented student entrepreneurs, but from the relationships that are built with a number of experienced resident entrepreneurs within the Rubicon Centre.

The programme offers the participants training and workshops in various aspects of business start-ups to ensure they are well informed in any decision they make. They also receive mentoring sessions on a one to one basis with industry-specific mentors.

Student Inc has been accredited academically so upon completion each participant will receive five academic credits at level 8 for the work they complete throughout the summer, with their final evaluation this Friday, August 31.

Dr Helen McGuirk, Head of Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence, provides this academic support to the students on completion.

This summer, six Vietnamese student entrepreneurs are visiting from the University of DaNang — Nguyn Ngoc Hanh, Nguyn Thuy Duro’ng, Vo Minh Dung, Le Thi Bich Hop, Trurong Nguyn Thao, Nguyn Thi Minh Hurong.

They are spending a month in the Rubicon Centre with the 12 Student Inc participants, taking part in programme workshops, training and mentoring sessions. They were chosen to come to Ireland as their teams won a ‘Runway’ innovation/entrepreneurship competition in Vietnam. This competition is part of VIBE (Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Exchange).

They run a similar student entrepreneur competition to CIT’s yearly LEO Prize for Innovation Competition. Over the last few months George Bulman from the Rubicon Centre and Dr. Helen McGuirk Head of Hincks Centre spent time in Vietnam educating the students on entrepreneurship via training and workshops.

The prize for the winners was a trip to Ireland’s premier incubator, the Rubicon Centre, which has allowed them to work on their business ideas during the Student Inc. Programme. Paul Healy of the Rubicon Centre and Dr Orla Flynn, VP for External Affairs have been involved in the judging of previous competitions.

Student Inc was funded by the Cork Institute of Technology, the Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland and CAMMS (Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Management Systems) with the office space and staff expertise sponsored by the Rubicon Centre.

Training and additional supports are provided by staff of the institute. Mentors were supplied by John McSweeney of the Small Business Advice Programme and by the Rubicon Centre.

A spokeswoman for Student Inc said: “The programme is run on a shoestring budget and without the support of the various interested parties internally and externally, Student Inc. would not be possible. These parties are passionate about student entrepreneurship and want to see the 11 projects develop in the coming months as well as witnessing the 12 students maturing both personally and professionally over the course of the Student Inc programme.”


STUDENT INC PROJECTS


Pa O'Sullivan, from Mallow, I Need a (online recruitment service). Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Pa O'Sullivan, from Mallow, I Need a (online recruitment service). Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: Ineeda

Participant’s Name: Patrick O’Sullivan

Project Description: A peer to peer skill sharing website and app that offers a safe and convenient way for short term employers to connect with job seekers. It is a great way to connect with a professional to paint the house or clear the gutters without the hassle of multiple websites.

Course: Creative Digital Media

Sector: Recruitment sector


Company Name: Sweat Pads

Participant’s Name: Maryrose Shanahan

Project description: Unisex underarm adhesive pads to prevent the appearance of sweat stains in the work environment. It is focused on the office sector where thin shirts can show up sweat stains causing embarrassment and discomfort.

Course: Business Studies

Sector: Pharmaceutical


Rachel Ryan, from Tipperary, Natural Selection Company (Fruit & Veg Jellies) and Èabha Hennessy, City Centre, Diffract Alternative Music Events. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Rachel Ryan, from Tipperary, Natural Selection Company (Fruit & Veg Jellies) and Èabha Hennessy, City Centre, Diffract Alternative Music Events. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: The Natural Selection Company

Participant’s Name: Rachel Ryan Project

Description: Jelly sweets for children that are made wholly from fresh fruit and vegetables. No artificial flavours or preservative and no added sugar. This product is focused on the growing healthy eating market and to promote healthy choices for children.

Course: Bachelor of Business in

Culinary Arts Sector: Food Industry Company

Students have been beavering away this summer at the Rubicon Centre at CIT, developing their businesses — natural jellies for kids, tutorials for staying safe online, mushroom supplements, hot sauces and more...

Company Name: L’aissez 

Participant’s Name: Malgorzata (Margaret) Urbanowicz 

Project Description: An experience café focused on providing unique local offerings while immersing you in a relaxing and luxurious atmosphere. All produce will be organic and prepared in line with modern trends.

Course: Bachelor of Marketing 

Sector: Hospitality Industry 

Aisling Rearden, City Centre, Taster. (Tinder for Food) www.tasterfood.com Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aisling Rearden, City Centre, Taster. (Tinder for Food) www.tasterfood.com Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: Taster 

Participant’s Name: Aisling Reardon 

Project Description: Taster is a website tool that allows diners to search through pictures of beautiful local foods and swipe left or right to choose the perfect meal. This website will work with local businesses to show the market what is on offer.

Course: MA PR and New Media 

Sector: Hospitality and Food 

Company Name: Diffract 

Participant’s Name: Eabha Hennessy 

Project Description: Arts and culture event focused on electronica and a dance atmosphere.

A way of bringing together alternative artists to create a community that can work together and enjoy music.

Course: Creative Digital Media 

Sector: Music 

Conor McGowan, from Carrigalinr, Maxed Out Solutions and Alan Coffey, from Ovens, EZ Clip.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Conor McGowan, from Carrigalinr, Maxed Out Solutions and Alan Coffey, from Ovens, EZ Clip.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: Smartphone Tutorial 

Participant’s Name: Conor McGowan 

Project Description: This service is a Smartphone tutorial in both a 1:1 as well as group model. It is focused on educating children on safe internet and phone usage as well as teaching the parents how to ensure their children stay safe.

Course: Bachelor of Business Sector: Technology 

Aaron Comerford, City Centre, Rock Steady Food Co. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aaron Comerford, City Centre, Rock Steady Food Co. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: Ready Steady Food Co.

Participant’s Name: Aaron Comerford 

Project Description: A company that is passion about good food, chillies and music.

Currently catering at different markets with a product range of hot sauce and BBQ jerk sauce based on Jamaican flavours. These sauces are currently making their way into local restaurants in Cork City as well as different festival and events.

Course: Bachelor of Business in Culinary Arts

Sector: Food Industry and events 

Company Name: EZ Clip Participant’s 

Name: Alan Coffey Project 

Description: A clip for gym equipment weights to prevent the potentially dangerous risk of falling weights while lifting and also saving time with the extra easy attach and release design.

Course: Business Information Systems 

Sector: Health and Wellbeing 

Martin Condon, from Ballyvolane, Super Fungi.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Martin Condon, from Ballyvolane, Super Fungi.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Company Name: SuperFungi Participant’s.

Name: Martin Condon

 Participant’s Name: Hugh Mc Carthy 

Project Description: Functional foods made from organic and locally grown mushrooms with varying health benefits in order to promote overall health and wellbeing. This project also wants to promote the use of mushrooms as a powdered supplement in order to ensure full bodily health.

Course: Herbal Science 

Sector: Health and Wellbeing 

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