NUI Galway students, Aidan Breen and Simon Casey were recently presented with a merit award of €1,500 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, for their project ‘SmartGate’.
Aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option, this year celebrates the 31st year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Intel and Grant Thornton.
The NUI Galway entry ‘SmartGate’ is based on the students’ final-year projects which involved designing and prototyping an environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient dockgate which would be automatically controlled to tidal criteria through mobile technology applications. This engineering student project also included the Galway Harbour Company as industrial partner, with the Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan as industrial supervisor.
Attending the awards ceremony, which took place at NUI Galway, was Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D., who said: “The Think Outside the Box Awards play a very important role in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in young people. They are a valuable opportunity for third level students to test their flair for business. They expose them to the challenges and excitement of taking an idea and nurturing it into a serious business proposition. These young people are our successful entrepreneurs of the future and I wish them all every success.”
Speaking at the event, Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland’s pathway to economic recovery may well involve a combination of mature experience and energetic youth working together towards common goals. It is through competitions like this one that enables students to work towards their academic goals and simultaneously develop an entrepreneurial spirit.”