GMIT students scoop the prizes at Galway FoodTech Start up weekend
Date Article Written:
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
GMIT students took top prizes at Ireland’s first ever Food Tech startup weekend hosted by the SuperPixel Labs in Galway on 8, 9 and 10 April. With over forty participants and business ideas pitched at the event, five of the ideas from students on GMIT’s Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship course, run by the School of Science and Computing, made the top ten with three of those winning the top prizes.
Anita Talbot won second place for her delicious ‘cold brew coffee’ business – Galway Cold Brew. Innovative in its method Anita makes the cold brew coffee by recycling the used coffee beans disposed of by baristas, proving very popular with the participants and judges over the weekend.
In third place, Nigel Murray’s solution to food producers’ nutrition labelling issues, Nutribase HQ, was of great interest to the judges. ‘Nutribase HQ’ is a simple solution to a very time-consuming problem. Commenting on participating in the startup event Nigel says “I found the weekend an eye opening and extremely rewarding experience. Working with other professionals from various sectors of industry on a food business idea which just happens to be my passion, was brilliant”.
The overall Public Vote category was won by Deirdre Bennett, GMIT School of Science and Computing, The Nourishing Gardener. Deirdre’s passion for gardening, nutrition and connecting children to nature was inspiring. Deirdre felt taking part in the startup weekend was “an amazing experience, an opportunity to immerse oneself in the process, seeing an idea through to a business, meeting hugely talented, co-operative, enthusiastic, skilled people willing to share their knowledge in a cool space. I feel that the Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship course is probably the single most important thing that gave me the confidence to do the pitch on Friday. The tools we have acquired through the course thus far were invaluable and we have always been applying them in real-time ideas and so they weren’t as daunting as they could have been at all”.
Dr Lisa Ryan, Head of Dept of Natural Sciences, GMIT says: “We were excited to learn that the first ever Food Tech startup weekend was going to be held in Galway and felt it was important that the students of the Springboard Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship course got involved in it. It gave the students an opportunity to put theory into practice and we were delighted with the success they had. It was a very well organized event and of great value to all participants”.
Dr Des Foley, Head of School of Science and Computing, was thrilled to hear of the students’ success. “This programme was a new departure for the School of Science and Computing and, within a few short months, it has given rise to opportunities for a wide range of students who have relished the challenge set out for them and achieved great results.”
The winners of the Galway Food Tech startup weekend were selected by a judging panel which included Gary Leyden, Director of NDRC LaunchPad, Kim Tighe, Solution Leader, HPE Galway, Paul Killoran, Founder and CEO, ExOrdo, Melissa Snover, Managing Director, Katjes Fassin UK Ltd, and Keith Bohanna, Head of Customer Experience Digital, Bank of Ireland.
The startup weekend was designed to allow people to experience the life of a business startup over the course of 54 hours. Throughout the weekend, participants met with a wide range of local and national entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketing and PR advisors and mentors from various industry backgrounds. The weekend was introduced by Hildegarde Naughton, TD, and a panel of speakers including Dr Lisa Ryan and Cáit Noone, GMIT, and Aoibheann O’Brein, FoodCloud. Bank of Ireland, Superpixel Labs, SCUUL Enterprises, Deliveroo, Magnet and Galway Local Employment Office sponsored the event. The weekend event was organised by a great team; Olivia Lavelle, Tracy Keogh, Keith Farrell, Ogie Hollywood, Ashlee Chin, Ciara Loughnane, Robbie Skuse and Gene Murphy.
Deirdre Bennett (centre), The Nourishing Gardener, and her team won the overall Public Vote category at the Galway Startup weekend. Deirdre is a student on the GMIT Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship course. She is pictured with fellow student Lucy Bracken (left) and Roisin Kelly.