Student entrepreneurs showcase big ambitions

Galway Daily business Student entrepreneurs showcase big ambitions
From left, Keelan Rowley and Michael Dillon of IRIS, and Peter Best-Lydon and Ciarán McDermott of ICTUS Medical. Photo Martina Regan.

A medical device for stroke survivors and a monitor protecting people and animals from heavy vehicles are among the ideas to watch from NUI Galway’s ambitious student entrepreneurs.

ICTUS Medical and IRIS were crowned the winners of the inaugural Start100 programme from NUI Galway’s IdeasLab.

ICTUS Medical received the overall award for Start100, with IRIS receiving the One to Watch award.

Nine teams of students presented at a special showcase event bringing their innovative ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of academia, research, industry and enterprise after an intensive six week programme hosted by IdeasLab.

ICTUS Medical is spearheaded by Peter Best-Lydon, a Galway native and recent Biomedical Engineering graduate, and Ciarán McDermott, a final year student in Electronic Engineering.

They are developing a painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes.

“We are absolutely delighted to win. Start100 has been a massive help to us with all of the connections that we have made,” Peter Best-Lydon said.

“There is a buzz every week in IdeasLab and it was great to get a sense of working in a start-up. We are really looking forward to making a significant impact to the patient.’’

The One to Watch prize was awarded to IRIS, which was co-founded by Keelan Rowley and Michael Dillon, both recent graduates of NUI Galway’s BSc in Project and Construction Management.

IRIS is a safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from machinery like Tractors, Diggers, Dumpers.

A cost effective device that saves lives and families. Winning this award will allow Michael and Keelan to focus on prototyping and validating their idea.

Start100 is a student entrepreneur incubator programme, helping those with an early-stage concept to transform their ideas into potentially investible innovations.

The programme provides physical space, key networking opportunities, expert mentorship from alumni and enterprise, as well as a support fund of over €40,000.

Students have access to funds to research and develop their idea throughout the programme, and have the chance to win a final event prize fund.

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said that supporting their students as they strive to achieve positive “societal impact” is part of the university’s mission.

“It’s a great encouragement to see young people finding solutions to problems through innovation, ideas and solutions,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said.

He added his pleasures in seeing them, “being supported in that journey by our educators, our university community, and our civic and business networks.”

A summary of nine projects showcased at the event included:

I Said Speak – An information awareness video that delves into Ireland’s drink culture among students

Receipt Relay – A customer insights software for retail and hospitality chains using point of sale and consumer app integrations

IRIS – A safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from farm machinery – saving lives and families

Matán Marketing – Digital marketing for gyms

Scrunch-UP – An anti-spike scrunchie for university students

ThoughtGarden – Self-administered CBT mobile game to reduce anxiety and depression – A data-driven e-commerce agency that builds and optimises high-performance Shopify stores – An application that facilitates the remote capture of patient’s foot scan data using just a smart phone

ICTUS Medical – A painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes