Winners of the Entrepreneurship Award, from left, Gareth Shephard, Philip Anderson, Clare McCollum, Judith McNally, and Gordon Baird.
A TEAM of innovative students will see their business idea become a reality after graduating from the University of Ulster today.
Judith McNally, Gordon Baird, Philip Anderson, Gareth Sheppard and Clare McCollum from the Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services have already secured the professional support they will need to assist them in the initial steps of a business start-up.
DipStick – a drinks stirrer to detect alien substances in consumable beverages and alert consumers to potential dangers of drug-related assault – was awarded the top prize of 10,000 Euro at the recent Enterprise Ireland Student Enterprise Awards. The students’ product also won a University of Ulster competition which will see a number of external investors providing financial and professional support to assist them in making their dream a reality.
“We were asked to come up with an innovative product idea as part of a New Venture Creation module launched by the Department this year. All final-year business students taking the module were briefed to design and create a new product or service with the intention of going self-employed after graduation.” explains team member, Clare McCollum.
“We are delighted to have come so far with our business concept in such a short space of time and we know that with a lot of hard work and dedication we can really make this business work.”
The DipStick concept has also been instrumental in helping Clare scoop top prize in the 2010 Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Awards - an all-Ireland competition to find the business leaders of the future.
Dr Norry McBride from Ulster’s Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services, said: “Encouraging young entrepreneurs and helping to nurture their business ideas has never been more important given the current economic downturn. We believe that the introduction of the New Venture Creation module as part of the business degree at Ulster will help foster our business leaders of tomorrow. We wish all these young entrepreneurs every success in their new business venture.”