Product Design students win DIT/Bolton Trust Enterprise Competition

13 March 2013:  Shortly after the new Pope was announced the judging panel from the DIT/Bolton Trust Student Enterprise Competition formed their own little conclave behind closed doors to choose this year’s winner of the very competitive student enterprise competition now in its 20th year! The winning team was Bluebower from 3rd year Product Design. And they received a cheque for €2,500 on the night as well as the Michael A Griffin Innovation Award.

Four teams of DIT students were shortlisted for the Final which was held in DIT’s Focas Research Institute and each one made a professional and confident presentation of their business plans to the panel of five judges. They were then asked a series of questions about their finances, market research and strategy for the future.  

The Chairman and the judging panel congratulated all the teams for the quality of their presentations and great entrepreneurial spirit. “The main objective of the competition”, says Dr Pat McCormack, Chairman of the adjudicating panel “is to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among DIT students and to encourage and support a rigorous business planning approach to entrepreneurial activities and you have shown us tonight that this spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in DIT today”.

More than 180 students from programmes across DIT entered the 20th Annual DIT Bolton Trust Student Enterprise Competition this year, including students of Product Design, Culinary Entrepreneurship, Retail and Services Management and Nutraceuticals in Health & Nutrition. All the finalists produced business plans for a diverse range of products that they developed themselves, are passionate about and which meet an identified need or fill a gap in the market.

The winning team (Christopher Burns, Emily Flynn & Lotfi Dridi) had developed a plan for a new business based on a product which they had designed and prototyped themselves. Christopher Burns is currently on an international placement in China so Emily and Lotfi made the presentation on behalf of the team. They presented a plan to enter the organic waste disposal market with their first product ‘Tierrabox’ - a storage and disposal system for household organic waste that facilitates a more efficient and pleasant user experience than solutions on the market today.

Winners and judges:  left to right , Ronan Clarke (CEO Smart Wall Paint), Gillian Slattery (Regional Development Executive, Enterprise Ireland),Lotfi Dridi and Emily Kelly 3rd year Product Design students both from team BlueBower, Carole Hurley (Business Relationship Manager, AIB), Dermot Tierney (Senior Licensing Executive at DIT Hothouse).

In second place was Team RePill, a 3rd Year Product Design team who had designed a prototype to help pharmacists to dispense personalised medicine packs.  Runners Up were team Asado Foods and Team Freshblend  - both from the 4th year Culinary Entrepreneurship programme and both of whom had developed a new blend of ingredients which could be used in lots of different ways to flavour foods. Asado Foods developed a new Chimichurri sauce and Team Freshblend developed a new butter based product called Roaster Boosters. Skinscanner (3rd year Nutraceuticals in Health and Nutrition) also won an award for Innovation for their business plan for an App to measure skin condition.


The competition is sponsored by the Bolton Trust, DIT Hothouse, AIB Banks, , and Enterprise Ireland and there are great prizes to be won! The overall winners received a cheque for €2,500 and the second placed team received a cheque for €1,000. Two Runners-up teams each received cheques for €750. 

The Michael A Griffin memorial award was presented to Bluebower. The award honours the late Michael Griffin, Head of Department in the School of Food Science and Environmental Health and a tireless supporter of the Bolton Trust and the Student Enterprise competition. It was presented by his daughter Dani.

 A cheque for €250 was presented for Innovation to the team nominated from the semi-finals but no award was made this year for best accounts or best market research.


“The Student Enterprise Competition is an innovative way of encouraging would-be entrepreneurs to put into practice all that they have learned on their college course and develop a business plan - which of course is vital in terms of  the essentials for any successful business” says John Kelly, AIB.

The judging panel:

Dr Pat McCormack: Chair of the judging panel and Vice-Chairman of the Bolton Trust.

 Pat recently retired from DIT where he was Head of Department of Engineering Science and General Studies in the College of Engineering & Built Environment.  Pat organised the student enterprise competition for many years and remains a great supporter of the competition.

Carole Hurley: Business Relationship Manager, AIBCarole is in her current role for over 9 years and deals with the SME sector, Professionals, State Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and the Chamber of Commerce on a daily basis.

Dermot Tierney: Senior Licensing Executive at DIT Hothouse. Dermot previously worked in the media and publishing industry in a number of roles including in Sales, Marketing and New Product Development (NDP) and is now based in DIT Hothouse where he helps researchers to develop and market intellectual property.

Gillian Slattery:  Regional Development Executive, Enterprise Ireland.  Her role and responsibilities include national co-ordinator for the Enterprise Start Programme at Enterprise Ireland, prospecting for potential HPSU clients, mentorship for micro enterprise and small businesses and project manager for the ‘Think Outside the Box Awards’ and Community Enterprise Centres on a National basis.  She is based in the Mid West and West Region. 

Ronan Clarke: CEO Smart Wall Paint Winner of the 2013 Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise awards 2013, on March 7th Ronan’s company Smart Wall Paint, established in 2012, manufactures a paint that turns any surface into a whiteboard and aims to be the industry leader in a range of premium products with unique applications. The technology underpinning the product was developed in the Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology based in the Focas Institute where the competition will take place.  

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