Belfast, 06 April 2006:  Five DIT Product Design students have won the 2006 Student Enterprise Award, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Ulster Bank and Invest Northern Ireland.   The students, who competed under their company name of EIRMED, presented their product and business plan at the final of this prestigious all-Ireland competition which was held in Queens University Belfast on 05/06 April.  The winners will share in the prize fund of €44,000.

The Eirmed team at last week's DIT Bolton Trust Student Enterprise Awards with (left) Paul O'Sullivan, Director and Dean of the Faculty of Business and (centre) Ms Margaret Whelan, Head of Industry Development and Chair of the Adjudication panel

The EIRMED team comprised five young women - Aisling Conroy, Audrey Maher, Jennifer Kent, Siobhan Groark and Honora Egan.  The team members designed the prototype for an assistive diagnostic device for bacterial and viral infections in paediatric and geriatric care - with the possibility of going into further markets including veterinary and astronautics!  They also developed a business plan for the manufacture and distribution of the product in Ireland and internationally.  The team are all in the third year of their Product Design degree - an innovative programme located in the School of Manufacturing and Design Engineering, with links into the School of Art Design and Printing and the School of Marketing.  Their tutors for the competition were Barry Plunkett and Arthur Henry. 

The Eirmed team

DIT also had a second winning team in the final of the competition. Rory Fox and Mark Noonan - both third year Marketing students in the Faculty of Business - competed under their company name, BlackHawk.  Last week this team won first prize in the DIT Student Enterprise Award for their plan to manufacture and market a new saddle specially designed for professional horse riders.  In the all-Ireland competition they were named joint runner-up.  Their tutor for the competition was Dr. Tom Cooney.

The all-Ireland DIT Bolton Trust Student Enterprise Awards competition is now in its 23rd year.  It was conceived to encourage innovation, promote enterprise and foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among third level students.

The DIT Student Enterprise Competition is an initiative of the Bolton Trust - an organisation set up by staff members of DIT to promote entrepreneurship - and is co-sponsored by the Trust, DIT and the Dublin-based technology risk management company, Steorn. First prize is €5000, second prize is €2000 and a joint third prize is €1000 each.  This was the 12th year of the competition.

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