Wow, this has been a very exciting week for our Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship class. The students from both the Castlebar and Dublin Rd classes took part in Ireland’s first ever FoodTech startup weekend. Basically, a startup weekend is designed to allow people to experience the life of a business startup over the course of fifty four hours from pitching a business idea right through to the design and development of that business – yes all over one weekend! With over forty participants and business ideas pitched at the event, five of the ideas from our very talented Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship students made the top ten with three of those winning the top prizes. It was an amazing weekend filled with positive energy, creative thinkers, local delicious food and an impressive line-up of local entrepreneurs, mentors and advisors on hand to contribute to the ten teams. The weekend was a huge success with a panel of national and international judges and fantastic sponsors. Details on the event can be read by visiting http://www.up.co/communities/ireland/galway/startup-weekend/8220
Among the winners were our students: Anita Talbot winning second place for her delicious ‘cold brew coffee’ business – Galway Cold Brew. In third place, Nigel Murray’s solution to food producers’ nutrition labelling issues (Nutribase HQ) was of great interest to the judges. The overall Public Vote category was won by our very own Deirdre Bennett aka “The Nourishing Gardener”. Deirdre’s passion for gardening, nutrition and connecting children to nature was inspiring. So to say I was a little proud of the students may be an understatement, they are superstars!
To add to a great start to the week, I was delighted that the students were developing a prototype of their product/service and testing it with the public this week. I thought it was only fair that I participated and so I got to sample some very tasty treats….did I mention how talented the students are!! Yes, these products were simply delicious. I also got to keep an amazing bunch of flowers one of our students brought in from the Burren, thank you Liz Griffith – my house looks so colourful and smells amazing! There will be some very innovative products and services hitting the marketplace once these students finish the course so stay tuned, believe me you will want to know where to get your hands on these products/services. Have a glance through the photos to get an idea what is coming your way! After gaining sought after feedback from the public on taste, texture, spending habits and price points the students are now working on their business models and preparing their business plan. To help them along the way, our very successful mentor Declan Droney (http://www.declandroney.com/) spent an invaluable day with the students yesterday going through their business concepts, advising, connecting, problem solving and brainstorming – exhilarating day, what a business mind!
All in all it has been a very busy and exciting week for the students so far, and it is only starting for the students on the course in Castlebar. This morning, Dr Lisa Ryan headed straight for Mayo armed with a very exciting lecture and an interactive planned day on one of her favourite topics Food Science and Nutrition. As the students in Galway know, this is going to be one very interesting day full of very surprising and valuable information, enjoy it!