Let the Battle begin!

On March 13th next four teams of entrepreneurial students will be pitched against each other in a bid to win DIT’s premier student enterprise business planning competition.  There are two 3rd Year Product Design teams and two 4th Year Culinary Entrepreneurship teams in the final and all four teams will be presenting their plans to a team of judges who have already studied their business plans in detail. The event takes place at 6pm in the Focas Institute, Camden Row, D8

 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.

‘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’.

The teams have produced business plans for a diverse range of products they have developed themselves and are passionate about , and which meet an identified need or fill a gap in the market.

And the finalists are:

  • Team Asado Sauces

Three final year students from the BSc in Culinary Entrepreneurship programme (Richard O’Driscoll, Paul Preston and Barry Hargadon) with a passion for food, interest in travel and other cultures and knowledge of the market have developed the first in a range of sauces and marinades. Their version of a Chimichurri Sauce is based on the concept of using Irish ingredients with a twist.

  • Team RePill

Recognising how difficult it is for elderly people to open medication packaging and to keep track of their medicines, a team of 3rd Year Product Design students (Cormac O’Beirne, Sean Mc Connell & David Payne) have designed a product that allows pharmacies to produce personalised blister packs for dispensing tablets.

  • Team Fresh blend

The second Culinary Entrepreneurship team (Vincent Kelly and Sosthein Mveto Tabwa) comprises two students with a strong culinary background who have developed a product called Roaster Booster which is a butter-based readymade convenience product that can be rubbed on to any raw ingredient to improve its texture and flavour. 

  • Team BlueBower

The second Product Design team (Christopher Burns, Emily Flynn, Lotfi Dridi) plans to enter the organic waste disposal market with their first product called ‘Tierrabox’ which is a storage and disposal system for household organic waste that facilitates a more efficient and pleasant user experience than solutions on the market today.


The competition is sponsored by DIT Hothouse, AIB Banks, the Bolton Trust, and Enterprise Ireland and there are great prizes to be won! The overall winners will receive a cheque for €2500 and the second placed team will each receive a cheque for €1000. Two Runners-up teams receive cheques for €750.  There are also runners-up prizes for the semi-finals to be presented on the night and prizes for the best set of accounts, best market research. The Michael A Griffin memorial award will also be presented to the team with the most innovative business proposal. 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.

“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, AIB

Carole 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).

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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