DIT Business in Newstalk Student Enterprise Win


(l to r): Matty Weldon (team captain), Aisling Leonard, Stephanie Lawless, Denis O’Brien (Competition Chairman), Ciara Quinn and Paul Donnelly (team mentor)

8th February 2010

>> Click here to hear the team on Newstalk's Sean Moncrieff show

The team representing DIT at the 2010/11 Newstalk 106-108fm Student Enterprise Competition was announced the winner by competition chairman, Mr. Denis O’Brien, at the prize-giving ceremony, which took place at Tipperary Institute on February 7th.  Team members Matty Weldon (captain), Stephanie Lawless, Aishling Leonard and Ciara Quinn are all final year BSc Marketing students in DIT’s College of Business.

Along with their mentor, Dr. Paul Donnelly, DIT School of Marketing, the team will travel to the Caribbean this summer on a study visit.  During their stay, they will shadow senior executives in Digicel Group, which is the fastest growing mobile operator in the Caribbean and a new entrant to the Central American market.

Commenting on their win, team captain, Matty Weldon, said: “We are delighted to have won the 2010/2011 Newstalk Student Enterprise Competition. The team and I, and our mentor, Paul Donnelly, worked extremely hard in the run up to and during this competition. This is a fantastic opportunity for us and we look forward to travelling to Digicel this summer.”  In a fitting and thoughtful tribute, Matty added: “We would like to dedicate our win to Pat O’Brien, who recently passed away”.  This sentiment was echoed by Aisling Leonard in a team interview on Newstalk with Seán Moncrieff: “One of our lecturers, Pat O’Brien, passed away last week.  He was very well respected within our college and this win is in honour of him”.


(l to r): Aisling Leonard, Denis O’Brien (Competition Chairman), Stephanie Lawless, Matty Weldon (team captain) and Ciara Quinn

Newstalk competition recognises emerging business talent

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Denis O’Brien said: “I would like to congratulate the team from DIT on their fantastic achievement. Recognising and rewarding emerging business talent is vital and these students have demonstrated what this competition is all about – understanding business management and promoting early-stage entrepreneurship. We have seen some exceptional talent emerge from this year’s competition and I would like to thank all participants for their contribution. I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding commitment shown by the team coaches in each college, not only this year, but since the competition began in 2006.”

In all, some 1,300 students across 325 teams, from Ireland’s 15 Institutes of Technology and the National College of Ireland, took part in this year’s competition.  “This competition has seen an impressive level of entries year after year. Students across the country continue to show their determination to learn and succeed. Each year, thousands of highly educated graduates qualify from third level institutions in Ireland. It is vital that we create opportunities that will allow these young ambitions minds to flourish,” Mr. O’Brien added.

Tough competition

The DIT team beat off strong competition from the three other finalists – IT Tralee, Tipperary Institute and Dundalk IT.  The four finalist teams were given a case study based on a real-life business scenario, for which they had 3 hours to devise a detailed solution, without access to information other than that contained within the pages of the case. Each team was then given 20 minutes to present their analysis and recommendations to, along with 10 minutes to address questions from, a panel of judges consisting of Frank Cronin, CEO of Newstalk 106-108fm, Bobby Kerr, CEO of Insomnia and presenter of Newstalk’s ‘Down to Business’, David Bunworth, owner of David Bunworth & Associates, and Niall Mellon, founder of Niall Mellon Township Trust.

DIT team mentor, Paul Donnelly, had this to say of his protégés: “I am incredibly proud of each and every one them.  They committed themselves fully to doing their best through each step in the competition process and did so with professionalism, an analytical and critical eye, a positive attitude, a creative flair and a thoroughly likeable spirit. It’s always a delight to work with such dedicated students, who want to be challenged and pushed to give more than they think they have within them and who do so with an open and questioning mind.  They make the role of mentor so much more enjoyable and rewarding as a result.”

Dr. Donnelly added: “It is a testament to who they are, both as individuals and as a group, that they were warmly congratulated by so many participating in the national finals.  By all accounts, they were a popular team.  They did themselves, their fellow students and all of my College of Business colleagues proud.  They represent the true spirit of DIT’s College of Business, which is committed to maintaining a high bar to ensure our graduates achieve and surpass the highest of standards --- academically and professionally --- and so contribute to the enrichment of Irish business and society.”

On a concluding note, Dr. Donnelly said: “The team are very appreciative of the support and encouragement they received from all within the College of Business, in particular Roger Sherlock, Gerry Mortimer, Dr. John Hogan, Eoghan O’Grady, Laura Cuddihy, Claire McBride, Serge Bassini, Catriona Nash, Richard Heywood-Jones and Kate Uí Ghallachóir.”

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