Two Galway teenagers teenage athlete and an innovative teenage entrepreneur from Galway are in the driving seat to win a place on this year’s Nissan Generation Next ambassador programme.
One is an athlete, professional horse rider Cathal Daniels (19 ) from Loughrea, and the other is a teenage entrepreneur, Edel Browne (19 ) from Athenry. Both are just one step away from getting their hands on the keys to a new Nissan to drive for a year.
Some 1,000 ambitious youngsters applied to this year’s Nissan Generation Next programme, and the talented duo are among 20 finalists who have been put through to the public voting phase of the programme which supports Ireland’s next generation of leaders and champions.
Professional horse rider Daniels has already enjoyed gold medal success at European level as a junior rider. He stepped up to senior level last year and was part of the winning Nation’s Cup team which competed in Beokelo before taking bronze in this year’s first Nation’s Cup event in Fontainebleau.
“I am on the long list to compete at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, which is a rare achievement in equestrian sport for someone my age. My long term goal is to be the world number one rider, to also compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and to win a gold medal there and to show what Irish riders are capable of achieving against the best competition in the world,” said Daniels.
Nineteen-year-old Edel Browne is the founder or Free Feet Medical which is developing a multi-award winning device designed to treat gait freezing for people with Parkinson’s disease by 40 per cent. The technology has the potential to improve the quality of life for up to 10 million people suffering from Parkinson’s disease globally.
She has been listed among the Top 38 Women in Tech by Technology Voice and has also been named as Outstanding Young Person of the Year by JCI Galway.
In her second year of a BSc in Biotechnology at NUI Galway, Browne needs a Nissan to travel to Parkinson’s Associations across Ireland to present her work and to conduct market research to improve Free Feet Medical’s product so that she can bring it to the market.
“My goal is to get the product to market as quickly as possible so I can help people with Parkinson’s through the Free Feet technology. I am balancing that ambition with my studies at NUI Galway where I am also currently acting as Entrepreneur in Residence at the NUI Galway Blackstone Launchpad,” she said.
Windsor Galway Nissan is encouraging everyone to get behind the two local teenagers during the online voting phase.
“Cathal and Edel exemplify what Nissan Generation Next is all about. Cathal is competing and winning on the world stage, while Edel is on the cusp of launching a product that could improve quality of life for millions of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world,” said Michael Butler, dealer principal of Windsor Galway Nissan.
Those interested in voting can do so online by visiting www.nissangenerationnext.ie any time up to Tuesday June 28. The top seven become Nissan Generation Next ambassadors, while the judges at Nissan will select a further three ambassadors for 2016.