NI university students win at Think Outside the Box Awards 2011

Two groups of Northern Ireland university students have won awards at the Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2011.

The awards, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Mammoth Advertising, have a total prize fund of €30,000 (£26,500). The awards aim to encourage students to explore their flair and talent for entrepreneurship and setting up a business.

Christina Finlay, from the University of Ulster, Coleraine came second in the competition winning €3000 for her business Cordou. Cordou, already a registered company, has developed a series of apps that can provide technical support and information to sufferers of health conditions such as autism, and their carers.

Phil Patterson from Queen’s University, Belfast won the Technology Prize with his Rugby Lift project. Rugby Lift is an innovative training device which can help rugby players to improve lineout lifting skills. He received a prize fund of €7500 sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys.

A €2500 academic prize was won by Chris McLean a lecturer from the University of Ulster, Coleraine in recognition of his high quality project and commitment to the awards. Chris’s teams from the Coleraine campus have won the competition twice in the last three years.

This year’s competition attracted submissions from over 350 third level students from colleges across the island of Ireland. The overall winner of the competition was Team Prometheus led by Oisin O Doinn & Eoin Markey from Dublin City University who won the prestigious top prize of €10,000, an additional €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring support to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.  

Congratulating the winners Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI, said: “Competitions like this can act as an important springboard for tomorrow’s business leaders and Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship.

“The highly innovative concepts presented to the panel today demonstrate the quality of research being carried out at local universities and colleges. Invest NI has helped some previous participants to bring their ideas to market and deliver clear economic benefits. I hope that some of the concepts presented today can also become tomorrow’s business successes.”

Tom Hayes, Head of Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland said: “These awards are hugely important in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in young people, and encouraging them to think strongly about going into business for themselves. Now more than ever we need ambitious and enterprising students to ‘think outside the box’ and explore their appetite for going into business for themselves.

“The priority is to get students thinking now about being an entrepreneur as a viable career option once they graduate. They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future and can play a real part in driving the positive uplift in the economy.”

For more information on the Think Outside the Box Awards and a full list of the winners visit the website on: