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'Hear Here': safety device for hearing impaired wins student enterprise

Posted: 7 April, 2015

A stylish sensory alert device for people who are deaf or hard of hearing has won the DIT/Docklands Innovation Student Enterprise Competition for 2015. ‘Hear Here’ is the brainchild of four 3rd year students of Product Design in DIT – Ryan Williams, Jack O’Farrell, Daniel Morgan and Stephen Walsh.

Pictured with John Kelly of AIB are DIT Product Design students Ryan Williams and Daniel Morgan who represented the winning team at the recent Student Enterprise Awards

The device is worn on the wrist and can be used 24 hours a day to alert the wearer when a doorbell or phone rings, a baby monitor is activated, or in the case of danger such as a fire alarm.

The DIT/Docklands Innovation Student Enterprise Competition is now in its 23rd year and was established to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among DIT students and to encourage and support a rigorous business planning approach to entrepreneurial activities. 

More than 100 students across DIT entered the competition including students from Product Design, Culinary Entrepreneurship, Retail and Services Management and Marketing.  Four teams were selected for the finals after competing in the semi-finals which took place across DIT earlier in the month.  

The four finalists were required to produce a detailed business plan to meet an identified need or fill a gap in the market.  They presented their plans and answered detailed questions from a panel of judges about market research, finance, and their strategy for the future.

On behalf of the adjudicating panel, Chairman Dr. Rea O’Neill said all four finalists made extremely professional pitches.   Congratulating them on their presentations, Dr. O’Neill said “You have shown us that the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in DIT today.”

Mr. John Kelly of AIB, a sponsor of the Enterprise Competition, said “The Student Enterprise Competition is an innovative way of encouraging would-be entrepreneurs to put into practice all that they have learned on their college course and develop a business plan - which of course is vital in terms of  the essentials for any successful business”.

The ‘Hear Here’ winning team was presented with a cheque for €2,500 by Grainne O’Rourke, Chair of Docklands Innovation.  The team also won the Michael A Griffin Innovation Award for the most innovative idea and will now go on to represent DIT at the Alltech intervarsity Innovation Competition.  This competition, run by global animal health and nutrition company Alltech, celebrates business and entrepreneurship, and challenges the creative minds of university students.

In second place and winning prize money of €1000 was Team Gro – another 3rd Year Product Design team - who presented a business plan for the manufacture and sale of a prototype for an adjustable prosthetic leg for young children.

Runners Up prizes of €750 were awarded to Protein Power (2nd Year Marketing students) and  Borrowers Boutique (2nd Year Retail and Services Management students) and).  Borrower’s Boutique is a business aimed at providing students with a targeted, customer focussed and reasonably priced clothes hire business. It is already up and running and generating profits.  Protein Power developed a plan for the manufacture and sale of an organic, additive-free high protein snack bar and shake.

Other awards presented were:

  • Best Market Research (€250) -  Borrower’s Boutique.
  • Best Accounts (€250) - Hear Here.
  • Best Poster award (€250) - Antelope

Prizes and sponsors

  • The competition is sponsored by DIT Hothouse, AIB Bank, Docklands Innovation, and Enterprise Ireland. 
  • The Michael A Griffin Innovation Award honours the late Michael Griffin Head of Department in the School of Food Science and Environmental Health and a tireless supporter of the Bolton Trust and the Student Enterprise competition.

The members of the judging panel were:

Dr Rea O’Neill, Chair of the judging panel, Docklands Innovation; Carole Hurley: Business Relationship Manager, AIB; Dr Kieran O’Connell: Licensing Executive, DIT Hothouse; and Adrian Walshe, Checkventory, Winner of the 2015 Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise awards.