There has never been a more important time for entrepreneurship and innovation. Globally innovative solutions will be needed for the challenges of a post-pandemic world. Graduates will be facing into an uncertain future with a recession looming, but recessions always breed innovation. As graduates and students have fewer opportunities open to them compared to 6 months ago many students have decided to see if they can be the masters of their own destiny and start their own business.
Student Inc., Ireland’s longest-running student accelerator, will kick off on June 2nd with a difference. The programme which encourages students to be innovative and creative is now itself having to be creative given the current Covid-19 restrictions with the programme launch taking place online. 30 student entrepreneurs from Cork Institute of Technology, University College Cork and Institute of Technology Tralee will be meeting online along with the support teams in the 3 colleges.
Student Inc. is a three-month accelerator summer programme for students to work on their business ideas. Student’s receive €4,000 in funding, expert mentoring and training and in normal circumstances office space in their respective incubators.
In response to the lockdown and social distancing, programme coordinators worked in conjunction with the online learning units in CIT and IT Tralee to devise a way to deliver the programme online, thus ensuring the students will still receive the full benefits of the programme.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely space in normal circumstances but given the current pandemic and the limits on social interaction, the online teams have put a lot of thought into ways of maximising the daily interactions between the students themselves as well as the support teams in the three colleges.
After 75 online interviews from 90 applications, 30 students were chosen for the programme. The students come from a wide range of courses such as medicine, culinary arts, PR and software development, and students range from those who have completed first-year trough to those completing a Masters programme.
There is a wide variety of sectors in the mix of business ideas: Education/ E-learning, food, industrial products, software, gaming, gifts, clothing and service industries. Some of the businesses that will be developed over the summer months include an app to identify counterfeit drugs, an instant sourdough starter, an educational storytime that inserts the user into the video and a device to promote the well-being of new-borns that need to be in incubators.