Students' Road Buddy app wins Student Innovation Awards 2014
Accounting students runners-up for their 'activity booking' website
Date Article Written:
Thursday, March 20, 2014
GMIT students from disciplines as diverse as Business, IT and Agricultural Science are showing a flair for entrepreneurship judging by the range of start-up ideas submitted to this year’s GMIT Student Innovation Awards (2014).
The top prize in the annual competition went to Software Development and Business students for their start-up concept ‘Road Buddy’, a car safety app that has the potential to save lives; the runner-up prize went to Accounting students for their activity booking website (bookingactivity.com), and third prize to Agricultural Science students for their farming business start-up called ‘Sliding Loader’ (silage machine).
The ‘Road Buddy’ concept was represented by two final-year Software Development students Gerard Nee from Williamstown, Co Galway and Alan O Connor from Limerick, and Business students Aisling Kenny from Balla, Co Mayo, and Paula Kelly from Taughmaconnell, Co Galway. By monitoring movement while driving, their Road Buddy mobile phone app detects any sudden impact and automatically sends an SMS to the emergency services with the GPS co-ordinates of the phone for accurate location. They won €1,000 sponsored by Shell. The students also recently came first in the inaugural SCCUL Student Enterprise Awards for the same app.
Lecturer Damien Costello says the GMIT Dept of Maths & Computing is delighted with the array of prestigious awards the students have won in recent weeks. “Competitions like these are a great way for our students to benchmark themselves as they prepare for a career in the IT industry.”
“We have designed our courses to provide the necessary skills that employers are looking for in graduates. It’s not just about writing the code, it’s about creating a complete solution to the problem at hand. Engaging with competitions like these helps the students understand the process of bringing a product to market in the competitive IT world, while developing the team-based skills that are so important today. And to be on the podium is a great bonus for GMIT.”
The ‘Road Buddy’ team were among eleven finalists to compete in the ‘Dragon’s Den’ style finals in the GMIT Mayo campus Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC) earlier this month. The Judges were John Magee (Mayo County Enterprise Board), Gillian Slattery (Enterprise Ireland), Peter Glynn (AIB) and Deirdre Walsh (Shell Ireland). View the two-minute clip of the GMIT Student Innovation Awards finals http://youtu.be/VZKsVPiGH3w
Honours Accounting students Helen Carey from Westport, Thomas Connor from Crossmolina, Martin Murphy from Knock and Lisa Gorman from Ballina were runners up in the competition for their business start-up concept called bookingactivity.com. They won €500 sponsored by Enterprise Ireland.
Third prize was awarded to GMIT Mountbellew students Shane Brennan and Barry Doyle for their farming business idea ‘Sliding Loader’, which won them €300, sponsored by GMIT.
Maria Staunton, Manager of the Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC) at GMIT Mayo says the number of applications this year far exceeded previous years. “Over sixty students entered the awards with eleven going through to compete in the final. It’s a real opportunity for students to explore their start up ideas and see if they are commercially viable”.
Gillian Slattery from Enterprise Ireland paid tribute to the students’ entrepreneurial spirits. “The calibre and professionalism of the students in GMIT is excellent and very realistic as the finalists displayed innovative, collaborative and creative products that will help them to explore the career option of going into business for themselves.”
For more information on GMIT’s Innovation in Business Centres, see: http://www.gmit.ie/iibc/index.html
An Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny pictured with the winners of the GMIT Student Innovation Awards 2014 (and SCULL Student Enterprise Award 2014), L to R: Aisling Kenny, Balla, Co Mayo and Paula Kelly, Taughmaconnell, Co Galway, both Honours Business degree students, and Gerard Nee from Williamstown and Alan O’Connor from Moyross, Limerick, both Software Development Honours degree students