Agri Business student wins GMIT Student Enterprise Award for his Veal product

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Press Office
Press Release

Entrepreneur Niall McGarry ( and gives inspirational talk to the finalists

GMIT Business & Agri student Jack Hahessy Madigan from Kilkenny has won the 2016 GMIT Student Enterprise Award for his start up business, Kilkenny Rosé Veal. Jack was one of 14 GMIT finalists and teams who competed in the annual competition, hosted by GMIT Mayo iHub, which has a prize fund of €3,000     sponsored by Shell and Enterprise Ireland.

Jack, from Graigue, Windgap, Co Kilkenny, is a third year student on the Bachelor of Business in Rural Enterprise and Agri-Business programme at the Galway campus. He won first prize of €2,000 for his veal business which he established on his father’s farm in Kilkenny while in first year. Jack is already in advanced talks with a major food company in France with regard to supplying them with veal mince. Recently Jack claimed first prize of €1,250 in the Galway based SCCUL Student Enterprise Awards.

Second prize this year went to Brendan Keane from Crossmolina, a third year student on the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts in the Galway campus. He won €500 for his business idea - a food management app (for both IOT and Android mobile platforms) that will help the efficiency of the hospitality sector.

Third prize went to Gala Tomasso from An Spideal, Galway, a first year student on a Creative Enterprise course in GMIT’s Centre for the Creative Arts & Media (CCAM) in Galway, who won €300 for her lip and skin balms made from beeswax.  

Two third year Bachelor of Business students, Alan Kelly from Moycullen and Philip Noone from Claregalway, won a cash prize of €200 for their product idea Squeezy Brush. The Squeezy Brush is a rubber disposable toothbrush containing toothpaste at the bottom of the toothbrush that can be squeezed up through the brush to the bristles which eliminates the need for people to pack both a toothbrush and toothpaste when travelling.

Maria Staunton, Manager of the GMIT Mayo iHub, says this year saw the highest ever number of entries with 86 individual and student teams submitting short videos outlining their start up ideas. “I would like to thank Michael Gill, GMIT Head of Dept, Mayo campus, Seamus McCormack, Westbic, and Annemarie Cahill, iHub, Mayo campus, for helping me whittle these down to the 14 shortlist.”

“The GMIT Student Enterprise Awards gives students at GMIT a unique opportunity to test their entrepreneurial skills and explore their ideas to see if they have commercial potential. We are encouraging and supporting all finalists and those that competed to go on and set up their ideas. We have also offered free desk space to the winner and the runner up at the iHubs. Some of the finalists from previous years have gone on to set up new businesses and last year we were delighted that four GMIT students made it to the final 50 of the Enterprise Ireland National Awards, with one winning Best Emerging Business at the finals – Mr Wee, an innovative application for toilet etiquette.”

“Each of the student teams and individuals were assigned GMIT lecturers as mentors and I’d like to thank them too for their support and involvement; they are Kevin McDonagh, Ivan McPhillips, Caroline Clarke, Michael Shovelin, Michael Gill, GabrielJ Costello, Damien Costello, Colm Kelleher, Finian Sheridan, Jeremy Madden, Turlough Rafferty, Maureen Melvin, Shane Moran and Davin Larkin.”

“I would also like to thank our judges Gillian Slattery, Enterprise Ireland, John Magee, Mayo Local Enterprise Office, and local entrepreneur Tommy Griffith, PEL Recycling and Mayo Man of the Year 2016. Tommy is also a GMIT graduate.  I would also like to thank our main sponsors Shell and Enterprise Ireland, and GMIT.

Guest speaker this year was local Castlebar man Niall McGarry, founder of Impact Media, and, one of the biggest male focus titles in Britain and Ireland, and These lifestyle websites fall under the banner of Maximum Media which employs over 110 people across the UK and Ireland. Niall shared his experiences as an entrepreneur and urged the students to think of their start-ups as businesses, not start-ups.

For more information on GMIT’s iHubs, please visit: