HR start-up Strive wins NovaUCD’s Student Enterprise Competition

Emerging HR start-up Strive has won €5,000 after being named the overall winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.

The annual competition, based at the University College Dublin (UCD) centre for new ventures, is an intensive four-week mentoring programme aimed at student entrepreneurs.

For its eight year, 10 early-stage student ventures competed with business ideas in sectors such as sustainable fashion, event management, the circular economy, human resources and hospitality.

Winning start-up Strive is developing an online platform to match students and recent graduates to job opportunities, using a machine learning algorithm and an intuitive user experience.

It aims to empower students to find careers they are passionate about, while helping employers improve retention rates. It is focusing on providing high-quality information about career opportunities, transparency and data-driven insights.

The members of the Strive team are Saoirse Kelders, who has completed her studies in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business; Raena McElwee, who studied at the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics; Sean Hughes, a global commerce graduate from NUI Galway, and Yevhenii Mormul and Aness Al Qawlaq, who are both undergraduate students in the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

“We are delighted to have been declared the overall winner of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, especially as the standard of this year’s competition was very high, with many fantastic early-stage student start-ups taking part,” Al Qawlaq said.

The team now plans to apply to the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme and seek support from a Local Enterprise Office. It also plans to hire more team members and develop the start-up’s website and app.

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Trust Homes and ELTC.Earth

Strive was declared the overall winner of the competition following final pitches to an external judging panel. Trust Homes and ELTC.Earth came in second and third place, and these start-ups will receive €3,000 and €2,000 respectively.

Trust Homes aims to provide a transparent, reliable and secure housing platform for both tenants and landlords to protect them from scams. Its platform promotes inclusiveness and aims to provide a fair system that removes biases, stress and anxiety in the house hunting process.

The Trust Homes team members are Thejesvi Bhagavath Kumar and Reshma Shetty, who are both postgraduate students in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

The Every Little Thing Counts (ELTC) platform aims to address the reasons why people cannot or do not act on the climate emergency. ELTC.Earth seeks to empower advocate communities to deliver meaningful climate action using an ecosystem of products, services and resources to aid them on their sustainability journey.

The platform’s founder is Damien Mulligan, who left his corporate role of leading customer experience organisations and programmes in the tech industry to launch ELTC.Earth. He recently completed a professional diploma in creativity, innovation and leadership in the UCD Innovation Academy.

The seven other early-stage ventures taking part in this year’s NovaUCD competition will each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation Tom Flanagan said it was “fantastic” that this year’s competition took place in person after two years of being virtual. He said this allowed the participating students to come together to refine their start-up ideas.

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“We now hope in the months ahead to see many of these early-stage student ventures move forward and develop further and in due course successfully launch on the market,” Flanagan added.

More than 120 students and 50 early-stage ventures have completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition to date, including Irish micromobility start-up Zipp Mobility.

The sponsors of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition were AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

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