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UCD takes 2nd place at Dublin City Council’s 2023 ENFUSE Finals

  • Date: Tue, May 30, 2023

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By Beth Gormley, Communications and PR Manager, UCD College of Business

L-R Sophie Wood, Sneha Jacob, Joe Houghton (Lecturer), Pooja Panikumar and Shane Bresnan

Dublin, 26 May- A team of students from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School finished second in the inaugural 2023 ENFUSE Finals for their collaboration with XO Tile.   

Cllr. Claire Byrne and Minister Dara Calleary, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation were on hand to congratulate the winning teams.

The UCD Smurfit School and XO Tile project involved the students conducting research and analysis for the company, as well as forming insights, proposed solutions and ultimately presenting a tangible plan setting out how XO Tile can expand and develop new market opportunities.

“Partnering with ENFUSE this year exposed the students to a well thought through process that aligned with the module learning outcomes perfectly,” said Director of Project Management and lecturer at UCD Smurfit School Joe Houghton. “Playing to the need to link theory with practice, the students did real work that has helped all the companies involved, and they have also gained valuable experience and built their professional network. We were thrilled with the outcome getting two teams to the finals and placing 2nd in our first year working with ENFUSE. We will be working with them again for next year's cohort of students.”

Now in its 5th year, ENFUSE matches local SMEs, micro enterprises and social enterprises with teams of Master’s level university students. Teams develop and present bespoke plans to their allocated enterprises to implement and to their lecturer to assess. These plans outline ways for the business to address challenges they face and develop competitive opportunities to expand.

The initiative is co-led by Dublin City Council and Local Enterprise Office Dublin City in collaboration with TU Dublin, DCU, NCI, UCD and TCD and is supported by and involves numerous regional stakeholders all aligned to the ambitions of the Dublin Regional Enterprise Plan 2023.

Overall, 10 student teams competed at this year’s ENFUSE Finals by pitching to expert industry judges on the plans they produced. The 10 teams were shortlisted from a total of 57 teams that participated in ENFUSE 2023. The top three teams won specialist mentoring and training supports from the Local Enterprise Office and supports from the Dublin Regional Skills Forum for their allocated enterprises along with prizes from Dublin Place Brand. 

The top three teams at the ENFUSE Finals 2023 were:

1st Place

Team: Roisin Ní Aibhistín, Gearoidín Mhic Mhathúna, Dearbháile Ní Fhionaill, Aoibheann Uí Dhochartaigh

Client Enterprise: POTA Cafe

Lecturer: Dr. Emer Ní Bhrádaigh

University/College: DCU


2nd Place

Team: Sophie Wood, Amit Moreshwarrao Baporikar, Shane Bresnan, Sneha Raji Jacob, Pooja Panikumar, Akshay Pramod Shinde

Client Enterprise: XO Tile

Lecturer: Joe Houghton

University/College: UCD


3rd Place

Team: Maria-Jasmine Adekanmbi, Emmanuelle Brucci, Aditya Dubey, Mariana Vasutova

Client Enterprise: Crann

Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Lawlor, Dr Deirdre Quinn, Dr Kevin Griffin

University/College: TU Dublin


Speaking on the night of awards, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary T.D. said, “Congratulations to all involved in this year’s ENFUSE finals. Success is often predicated on innovation and collaboration. The ENFUSE programme enables just that, bringing together students, businesses and social enterprises, and local stakeholders to better understand the challenges and fosters greater collaboration to develop solutions.

As part of ENFUSE, businesses and social enterprises benefit from access to research and new ideas, students benefit from an enhanced learning experience and the ecosystem benefits through improved networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange.”

Also commenting on the benefits of ENFUSE, Cllr Claire Byrne commented, “ENFUSE brings together enterprises and students, inspiring and fusing both parties for mutual benefit. This year, 57 enterprises have received tangible plans to help them innovate, address challenges and develop opportunities while 301 students developed their skills and learning. I was delighted to attend the finals event and witness the incredible work being done by students across Dublin.”

Promoting the benefits to enterprises that participate, Greg Swift, Head of LEO Dublin City commented “what ENFUSE allows the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) to do is tangibly support local enterprises and also promote the benefits of hiring graduate students who are well placed to support the digital and green transitions, amongst other challenges a business may face. Availing of the GradStart or other LEO grants can assist businesses to hire graduates in these or other areas where they may lack specific skills and expertise.”

More about ENFUSE

The ENFUSE Finals, was the culmination of this year’s ENFUSE programme which involved 301 master’s students that supported 57 local enterprises and social enterprises. ENFUSE is led by Dublin City Council (DCC) / Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Dublin City in collaboration with Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin); Dublin City University (DCU); National College of Ireland (NCI); University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). It is supported by and operated in alignment with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, South Dublin and Fingal County Councils and their respective Local Enterprise Offices, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER); Dublin Place Brand; the Dublin Regional Skills Forum (DRSF); Dublin Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024; Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Enterprise Ireland; GradStart and the European Year of Skills.

ENFUSE matches local enterprises and social enterprises with teams of masters level university and college students. During semester 2 (January-May) as part of a module, students work in teams typically of 4-6 members with selected enterprises. The students help provide insights, propose solutions and ultimately present a bespoke and tangible plan that sets out how the enterprise can innovate, address challenges and develop opportunities. Student teams present the plan to the enterprise to implement and to their module lecturer to assess. Students thus have the opportunity to apply their learning in a real life scenario and to support a local enterprise.


  • Support local enterprises by providing bespoke plans to innovate, address challenges and develop opportunities
  • Provide masters students with real-world consultancy and enterprise experience
  • Enhance the local innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem

Information and materials provided by Norman Thompson, Dublin City Council.

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