A Coleraine student team has scooped the 'Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award' at Ireland's prestigious 'College Entrepreneur of the Year 2010' awards. The 'Ecotent' project was awarded the prize of €7,500 plus €20,000 worth of consultancy at the Enterprise Ireland Student Enterprise Awards.
The hotly contested awards are sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and attract submissions from over 250 students each year.
'Ecotent' – an innovation from Computing with Business Studies students Houston Reid & Stephen Cladwell, together with Business Studies students Terri O'Kane & Jonathan Garland – is a two-man tent constructed completely of 100% biodegradable materials which will solve the problem of clean up operations after music festivals.
The main covering is made from jute tarpaulin, a canvas made from jute. Research confirms major ecological benefits - it is 100% biodegradable, it is the fastest growing crop, with a much higher CO2 assimilation rate than trees. And when discarded, jute totally decomposes, putting valuable nutrients back into the soil.
Congratulating the award winners on their successes, Republic of Ireland Minister for Trade and Commerce Billy Kelleher said:
"These awards are a really important opportunity for third level students to test their flair for business. These young people are our successful entrepreneurs of the future. They show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams on which the success and long term strength of Ireland's economy depends."
"Irish companies that are export focussed, innovation-led, have excellent management teams and are lean and competitive can exploit the emerging opportunities that we are now seeing with the positive uplift in the economy. These students show every evidence of playing a part in that economic uplift."
Dr Norman Creaney, Subject Director for Computing in the School of Computing and Information Engineering said:
"We congratulate Houston and Stephen and their Business Studies colleagues on their great achievement and wish them them well in developing this product further. We are delighted to see such entrepreneurial flair in students on our Combined Studies programmes."
Enterprise Ireland will also provide the team with a mentor/business coach to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.
The Enterprise Ireland Student Enterprise Awards, now in their 27th year, are Ireland’s biggest and longest established third-level student enterprise competition.
Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, this is an all island competition that gives third level student teams the chance to explore business ideas and their own appetite for going into business for themselves.
It offers an unrivalled prize fund totalling €50,000 in cash and mentor support for the national and category winners.
For further information, please contact:Dr Norman Creaney