Alarm bells are ringing for Student Inc 2017

A panic alarm for your car, vegan desserts, a smartphone repair service on campus... these are some of the businesses worked on at Student Inc in CIT this summer
Alarm bells are ringing for Student Inc 2017
The participants in this year's Student Inc. programme at CIT Rubicon Centre. Picture: Ger Bonus

OVER the summer months, 11 student entrepreneurs have been working on nine different projects at the Rubicon Centre. They have been undertaking Cork Institute of Technology’s Student Inc, a summer programme that supports student entrepreneurs.

Students who took part are from a multitude of undergraduate courses in CIT, including Culinary Arts, Tourism & Hospitality, Recreation & Leisure, Sustainable Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Multimedia.

The programme is led by student enterprise interns Stephen Downey and Miriam Adair, 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 11 talented student entrepreneurs, but from the relationships that are built with a number of experienced resident entrepreneurs in the Rubicon Centre and the exposure to over 60 companies. The programme offers the participants training and workshops in various aspects of business start up 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 in the form of a presentation on September 1 2017.

Dr. Breda Kenny Head of Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence provides this academic support to the students on completion.

This summer, four Vietnamese student entrepreneurs are visiting CIT from the University of DaNang — Tin Trình Thái, Nguyn Dng bình, Mai Nguyn Cng Thun, L Thu Uyên. They are spending a month in the Rubicon Centre with the 11 Student Inc., participants, taking part in the programme workshops, training and mentoring sessions. These students were chosen to come to Ireland as their teams won an innovation/entrepreneurship competition in Vietnam. They run a similar student entrepreneur competition to CIT’s yearly LEO Prize for Innovation Competition.

Over the last few months George Bulman, Paul Healy and Stephen Downey from the Rubicon Centre, Orla Flynn, VP for External Affairs and Dr. Breda Kenny Head of Hincks Centre spent time in Vietnam educating the students on entrepreneurship and judging their business ideas in the final competition. The prize for the winners was a trip to Ireland’s premier incubator, the Rubicon Centre which will allow them to work on their business ideas during the Student Inc. Programme.

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.

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 nine projects develop in the coming months as well as witnessing the eleven students maturing both personally and professionally over the Student Inc., programme. Here’s some information on the different students and businesses taking part.

David Marshall, Ross O’Halloran and Niall Lynch. Picture: Ger Bonus
David Marshall, Ross O’Halloran and Niall Lynch. Picture: Ger Bonus


Company Name: Campus I.T.

Participant’s Name: Niall Lynch.

Project Description: Campus I.T is a computer and smartphone repair service for students in college.

This company is aimed at making repairs more affordable for student and more accessible by having in on campus grounds.

Students themselves will be employed from the college part time as a way for them to participate in the business and earn some money in return for their skills.

Target Market: The target market of the business is all students and staff in both universitites and I.T’s. possibility of expanding to serve NMCI and all other sites affiliated with CIT. Long term goal is to set up in every College and University campus in the country.

Sector: The business will operate in the service and education sector.


Company Name: ChocFu.

Participant’s Name: Sophie Molloy.

Participant’s Name: Elaine Connolly.

Project Description: ChocFu is a new company that provides high quality vegan friendly desserts.

These desserts are also a source of protein, a source of fibre, gluten free and very low in salt. This product is a chocolate orange flavoured dessert made with a tofu filling and a chickpea base. The end-product looks like a chocolate cheesecake.

Target Market: The preliminary target market are people following the vegan diet and people limited to a gluten free diet. ChocFu is a great tasting product which appeals to both markets.

It is also a source of protein which is a huge trend in the food market today.

ChocFu caters for every consumer who likes to indulge in dessert type products and snacks.

Sector: This product will be part of the food industry and will be retailed in health food shops and supermarkets.

David Marshall, Stephen St. Ledger, Ross O'Halloran, Ly Thu Uyen and Nguyen Gangbinh, who took part in Student Inc.Picture: Ger Bonus
David Marshall, Stephen St. Ledger, Ross O'Halloran, Ly Thu Uyen and Nguyen Gangbinh, who took part in Student Inc.Picture: Ger Bonus


Company Name: Isla Media.

Participant’s Name: David Marshall.

Project Description: Isla Media is a media production company was founded by three lifelong friends David Marshall, Anthony Madden and Emmet Ahern. It is a media company that specialises in Vidography, Multimedia an Graphic Design.

Target Market: Media Production can be broken down into several sections and with that comes a range of services that we can provide. This means we have quite a broad and diverse target market.

Their initial target market is small scale businesses looking to expand and grow their brand in order to compete with existing brands in the marketplace. They’ve also identified that start-up companies who are looking to create a brand and identity from scratch will be a big form of income as forming a relationship with a business early can lead to a longer working relationship. They also target individuals, groups or organisations who are looking to promote themselves through media.

Sector: The Media and Entertainment Industry.


Company Name: Sustainable Solutions (Solas Glas).

Participant’s Name: Stephen StLeger.

Project description: Solas Glas is a solar PV energy company offers a service instead of a product. What Stephen proposes is either installing these systems for a very low upfront cost and selling the electricity to the customer for a less than average market price.

Target Market: Large buildings with suitable south facing roofs and home owners with unobstructed south facing roofs.

Primary target customers with these specifications will be people who want to go green, reduce energy bill and reduce the use of harmful fossil fuels as an energy source and people who care for the environment Sector Energy and home improvement sector.


Company Name: Frankly Nuts.

Participant’s Name: Joe Loftus.

Participant’s Name: Kevin McCarthy.

Project Description: The business idea is to start a social media enterprise entitled Frankly Nuts.

Frankly Nuts will focus on providing millennials with an engaging video podcast experience based on honest, open, fun and light-hearted conversations with interesting and well-known personalities from the worlds of sport, business, education, personal development/motivation and life in general.

Target Market: Their service will be targeted primarily towards the millennial generation. As millennials ourselves, they say they fully appreciate the extent to which social media is used on a continuous and widespread basis by our generation.

Everywhere you look today, people are consumed by their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Attention is being traded constantly.

More and more people are now obtaining their information through sources such as blogs, vlogs and podcasts (video and/or audio).

According to Census figures published in 2011, there are over two million people across Ireland aged between 15 and 44. Therefore, on a national basis, a significant target market exists for our service. On an international basis, the target market is much more significant.

Sector: The business will operate in the Digital Media sector of the industry.

Kevin McCarthy, Deirdre Feeney and Elaine Connolly.Picture: Ger Bonus
Kevin McCarthy, Deirdre Feeney and Elaine Connolly.Picture: Ger Bonus


Company Name: Panic Button.

Participant’s Name: Ross O’Halloran.

Project Description: The project for the Student Inc. programme is a specialised panic button specifically designed for use in vehicles. The indicator which is mounted on the rear window of the vehicle alerts other road users and pedestrians that the driver is in distress and needs immediate attention.

Target Market: Business to consumer: The elderly. Those suffering with medical conditions. Pregnant women. Taxi drivers. Cautious people in general.

Business to Business: Insurance companies. The Road Safety Authority of Ireland. Occupational therapist recommendation. Various car accessory retailers. Car dealerships. Big retailers such as Lidl, Aldi, Dunnes. (Possibly sold as specialty buys.)

Sector: Technology, safety, and health


Company Name: Boxplore.

Participant’s Name: Paul Kenneally.

Project Description: Boxplore was created to help children aged five to 10 to unlock their full creative potential.

With the help of creative kits containing art supplies with the combination with an app, children can create theme-based creations using recyclable materials around the house.

Target Market: The main target market will people who might potentially buy boxplore for children who are aged five to 10. They include parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

It could be purchased to be used at home, in schools or even by adults and teenagers for team building exercises.

Sector: Boxplore lies within the children’s creative entertainment industry. This falls in the same sector as constructivist products like Lego, artistic products like Crayola and creative applications like Toca Boca.


Company Name: The KingFisher Company.

Participant’s Name: Deirdre Feeney.

Project Description: The Kingfisher Company is a luxury convenience brand, which brings fresh salmon from the Atlantic Sea to your home. The company produces Salmon Crème Brulee which is a luxury, creamy, savoury custard containing only the finest, natural ingredients.

Target market: High earning professionals who are highly informed regarding food ingredients.

A business individual who shops primarily in high-end grocery stores and specialty shops.

A business person with little time for complex food preparation.

Sector: Food Industry

Vietnamese Students from University of Danang; Nguyen Gang Binh, Ly Thu Uyen, THAI Tien Trinh and Mai Nguyen Cong Thuan. Picture: Ger Bonus
Vietnamese Students from University of Danang; Nguyen Gang Binh, Ly Thu Uyen, THAI Tien Trinh and Mai Nguyen Cong Thuan. Picture: Ger Bonus


Company Name: Recovery Solutions Leader.

Participant’s Name: Conor O’Brien.

Project Description: Recovery Solutions Leader (RSL) is currently developing an innovative device to reduce out-of- competition time of athletes of all levels resulting from soft tissue injuries.

Target Market: RSL’s aim is to enable athletes of all levels and ability, from elite to enthusiast, to achieve the same quality and rate of recovery. Initial market introduction is aimed at amateur athletes in Ireland. As injuries can be considered an inevitability of sporting endeavours, with the resulting question ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ an injury will happen, the diversity of the market for the CCRA encompasses all persons wishing to remain active and competitive.

RSL delivers a convenient and cost effective method of recovery enabling athletes of limited resources to receive the same level of care expected by professional athletes.

Sector: Direct manufacture to retail solution.

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