Date: 19 Jun 2012
Pictured l-r: Kieran McLoughlin, President & CEO of the Worldwide Ireland Funds, Lukas Decker, UCD Smurfit School, William S. McKiernan, Founder of CyberSource and Chair of the Judging Panel.
Over 100 business and education leaders from Ireland and the US gathered in Dublin at Aviva Stadium for the announcement of the inaugural Ireland Funds' Business Plan Competition winners. Teams from each of the nine universities across Ireland and Northern Ireland were selected to present innovative business plans for consideration.
Modeled on a similar competition at Harvard Business School, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition requires teams to pitch their business plans before a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs and executives. Business plans were assessed based on criteria ranging from market potential of the idea to the tasks and milestones required for implementation.
Lukas Decker from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School was the winner with his business plan that introduced “Coindrum” an innovative and simple plan to exchange coins from airline travelers. Mr. Decker took home the top prize of €10,000, with first and second runners-up receiving prize money of €5,000 and €1,000 respectively. In addition, teams selected to represent their universities were able to complete a masterclass in pitching, delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy, which was established to promote an entrepreneurial mindset and innovation focus among existing Irish businesses and start-ups through training, supports and finance.
Worldwide Ireland Funds’ President and CEO, Kieran McLoughlin said, “Through The Ireland Funds' Business Plan Competition we hope to support this next generation of entrepreneurs by helping them develop the skills required to succeed in business.”
Announcing the winner, William S. McKiernan, chair of the judging panel and founder of CyberSource Corporation said, “The judging panel was so impressed with the high quality of business plans and pitches from all nine universities. I congratulate all of the finalists for developing such innovative and compelling business plans, and thank them for the role they will play as Ireland’s next generation of business leaders.” Other judges included Declan Ryan, Co-Founder of the One Foundation and Chairman of Irelandia Aviation; John Ryan, co-founder of Rovi Corporation (formerly MacroVision); Jerry Kennelly of Tweak.com; Anne O’Leary of Kinematik, Marty Mannion of Summit Partners and Moya Doherty of Tyrone Productions. Bank of Ireland sponsored the competition event and will provide a banking mentor to the winning team to provide advice and direction to the team as they work towards commercialising their plan.
The Business Plan Competition kicked off a week of supporters of The Ireland Funds gathering from around the world. On Thursday, 21st June, over 200 philanthropists will gather in Cork for the 2012 Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference, an annual coming together of supporters, Irish business, political, and cultural leaders. This year’s conference will focus on the progress of The Worldwide Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign which has already exceeded its initial $100 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule. The campaign has currently raised over $122 million for charities and a revised campaign goal is set to be announced at the conference.