Queen’s students win Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award at Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2012


Student team AWAMA from Queen’s University Belfast scoops the ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ at the Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2012. Pictured at the event are Gillian Slattery, Enterprise Ireland (left) and Frankie McCourt of Invest NI, with the AWAMA team members.

Students from Queen’s University Belfast, Aaron Robinson, William Imrie, Michael Neill, Alastair Mitchell and Andrew Beckett (AWAMA) have today (Friday 8 June 2012) won the ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, winning a prize of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland.

This year celebrates the 30th year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Intel and Grant Thornton. Aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option the awards attracted submissions from over 360 third level students from colleges across Ireland.

AWAMA’s innovative new Apex airline seat "puts the power of personal space back into your hands”.  The Apex seat has been designed to addresses the problem within the airline industry of reclined seats intruding in the personal space of the passenger behind, and for which to date a standard solution has not been found.

Congratulating the winners, Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: ‘Young people in Northern Ireland are great at generating new business ideas and entrepreneurial talent. Competitions like this provide a platform for them to demonstrate their

highly innovative concepts and the commercial skills required to take them forward. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is focused on supporting young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, as we need them to grow our future economy’.

A team of students from NUI Galway has been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’.  The students, Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold, won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 with their project DRS.ie (Drag Reduction Systems). The team invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%.

In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.

The Emerging and Dynamic Company of the Year Award of €5,000, co-sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland, went to Zooplar from UCC.  Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists.  Zooplar also won an all expenses paid trip to Poland from Intel, to participate in the Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition.

Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists.

Congratulating the award winners on their success, Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said: ‘This competition is focussed on giving students hands on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business to help them discover their flair and talent.  Once again, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions from across the colleges.  These young people show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams that are so critical to setting up successful new businesses and creating much needed jobs.  They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future.  It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements’.

For more information on the Think Outside the Box Awards visit the website on: www.thinkoutsidetheboxawards.com.