The Irish University Entrepreneurship Forum 2012 took place at the UCD-TCD Innovation Academy on Thursday March 29th, and has been declared a “big success” by its organisers. The Forum, arranged by the Irish University Entrepreneurship Forum (IUEF), was held in the hopes of providing an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to mix with prominent business leaders from across twenty-five differing industries.
Kevin Glynn, co-founder of the IUEF, states that the idea for the Forum came over the Christmas break and that he and co-founder, Michael Magee, “wanted to create a student-run initiative where we could promote entrepreneurial culture within universities … We wanted affiliations and endorsements from colleges, but we just set about doing it ourselves.”
Business leaders present at the forum included Norah Casey and Gavin Duffy of RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den, Chris Horn of Iona Technologies, and Raymond Coyle of Largo Foods, as well as Raymond Turner, the designer of Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2. Eight student businesses were chosen to present to the assembled businesspeople, six of them already being profitable, and Glynn has now found that “a lot of them are now in talks with the business leaders.”
The IUEF was founded in January, with a team of thirteen students from UCD, TCD, National University of Ireland, Galway, and University College Cork being put in place, and after arranging for twenty-four leaders in Irish business to attend last month’s forum, they then “went around recruiting student entrepreneurs to apply,” according to IUEF Marketing Director, Lucy McLean, who goes on to state that the Forum “had a website that [student entrepreneurs] were able to register on, and we contacted all the universities and all the institutes of technology as well.”
Glynn further reveals that, after attending a recent conference, the IUEF will “probably have to change the name to the Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum, because all the institutes want to get involved now as well,” so the Forum can extend its mandate to include the institutes of technology and higher education establishments from around the island of Ireland.
Since its formation, the IUEF has accrued sponsorship from KPMG, AIB, Accenture, and the UCD Newman Fund, which contributed €2,200 to their finances; the Forum has also been featured in the Sunday Business Post twice during its lifespan. The IUEF is a non-profit organisation and was set up to assist “companies out there with great ideas” that do not have the “means to go about progressing further,” according to McLean, while Glynn declares, “We felt there was a communication gap between student entrepreneurs and the business community, and a lot of the registrations we got were just people that needed very small pieces of advice; we got over twenty-five company registrations from every single university on the island.”