A select few students from DIT College of Business received the opportunity of a lifetime when they received a scholarship to take part in one of the World’s Largest Extreme Entrepreneurship programmes- European Innovation Academy 2017 in the idyllic coastal village of Cascais in Lisbon.
Bemi Adeosun, Adam O’Neill and Tim Smith all studying BSc Business Computing, Danny Creedon BSc Marketing, Daryl McCann BSc Logistics & Supply Chain Management and Kyle Treacy MSc Business and Entrepreneurship went to Portugal in July for an intensive three week Programme, with the goal of turning their idea to a tech start-up in an impressive 15 days.
The European Innovation Academy (EIA) is a non-profit educational institution recognised for excellence in tech entrepreneurship education. Their educational programmes are jointly developed with professionals of world class partner universities and international companies. Future entrepreneurs and business leaders are immersed in a multicultural ecosystem of 4000+ alumni and faculty from 75 different nationalities.
Returning from Lisbon, the students were more than happy to share with us their experience at the European Innovation Academy and their key learnings.
Why did you apply to attend EIA Portugal 2017?
Adam: I wanted to immerse myself in a start-up environment and meet like minded people with similar goals from around the world. I also wanted to see what new opportunities it would present.
Danny: I went over to EIA with two main goals in mind – to try make something of my potential business idea and for networking opportunities as some of the people that attend the event such as the speakers + investors are invaluable contacts to have, and a few minute conversation with them can help you completely change your mindset.
What did you gain from attending?
Adam: I honestly gained a lot from attending EIA. Not only did I learn the steps and strategies to building a potential multi-billion dollar startup, I also met some amazing people, made really useful connections for the future, and left with new opportunities. My team from EIA and I are currently in talks with potential clients and startup accelerators so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. Besides the business aspect of EIA, I made life long friends and connected with people in three weeks more than I have with others in years. EIA gives you the opportunity to meet so many people with a similar mindset.
Tim: EIA was a life changing experience for me. I met so many amazing people from all over the world. It was a great opportunity to be part of a diverse team made up of different skills and cultures. EIA’s environment was perfect for networking as mentors were always available throughout the evening to talk about their experiences and to offer guidance, this was made possible as everyone lived and spent a lot of time together. Since EIA I have met up with new friends who specially stopped over in Dublin on their travels home. I would definitely recommend EIA to anyone.
Bemi: EIA 2017 has had a massive impact on my mindset. I spent three weeks getting to know individuals from all over the world with a similar dream to have their own startup but also from a very different background and upbringing. At the EIA I was lucky enough to get some recognition in terms of the skills I have and it made realize that if I kept working hard and pushing my dreams can definitely become a reality. I went into the EIA with basic business knowledge but I’ve come home with a whole new skill set that I plan on making use of and learning more of. Also, there was a massive need for developers and as always there was only a handful of us. So I spent about 45 mins listening to 7 different teams who were trying to convince me to join their team. So it showed that if you’re a good developer the EIA is a platform where you can show your skills and also push yourself in every area.
What support did DIT provide in attending?
Adam: DIT provided the scholarship which covered the cost of flights, accommodation, and the fee to partake in the European Innovation Academy itself. We were very well equipped with the knowledge we needed before we went away, thanks to Claire McBride and Jenny Munnelly who were very supportive prior to and over the course of EIA. They were always available to answer any questions we had.
Tim: Jenny and Claire provided me with valuable information about how to complete my application. I gained this information by attending many of the pre EIA workshops within DIT. Over in Cascais they were available to answer any queries I had about my project and also more general questions about the day to day running of the academy. Flights and accommodation were also covered.
Danny: DIT were very generous in providing all EIA attendees with cover for all travel expenses , accommodation + the actual cost of the programme itself! They were also very helpful with putting us in contact with previous attendees of EIA from past years who we could reach out to and discuss and concerns we had with the programme – they were more than happy to hop on the phone and answer any questions we had!
What are your next steps after EIA Portugal 2017?
Adam: Well so far, I’ve got some interest from potential employers, been promoted to a managerial position in my current company, and I need to see where the meetings with potential clients and accelerators go regarding our startup.
Tim: I left EIA with great opportunities though I am currently pursuing a career in CarTrawler. I continue to follow my keen interest in innovation. I have been invited to attend the Web Summit Lisbon this year.
Bemi: Because of EIA, I received several job offers from companies in Silicon Valley and Germany. So I’ve definitely come back home a lot more determined and driven as well as focus and clear minded on what I want to achieve in my career – but most of all I can say I met a lot of amazing people who I’m sure I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.
Who would you recommend to attend for 2018?
Adam: Anyone who enjoys meeting new people, working in teams, or wants to explore new opportunities. You need to have a certain level of self-motivation, but attending EIA will significantly increase your motivation for success.
Danny: Honestly – anyone. It’s without doubt one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. Mind you its not “easy” and it will be completely different to any type of trip you will ever have in your life. Trying to balance the work/social life is a tough one – seeing as you are up at 9am everyday, but it all part and parcel of it.Also, for anyone that is interested in looking for a completely different experience, enjoys meeting new people and doesn’t mind being under pressure/ sleep deprived for 3 weeks – EIA is perfect for you!
Students worked on bringing the below ideas to a tech start-up at EIA 2017
Bemi: Alo! Health- “Tracks your diet and nutrient intake by just taking pictures of your food. The app uses visual recognition, calculates the calories and nutrients, keeps track of diet and gives personalised recommendations.”
Adam: Tiger Time- “Tiger Time helps users fuse their long-term goals with how they actually spend their time, by applying the strategies that underlie the leading productivity systems used by industry leaders like Elon Musk.”
Daryl: Blackout Distillery “Customize your own craft beer, so you can drink a beer that really fits your own taste. personalized alcoholic beverages for every taste!”
Tim & Danny: 2 My Seat: “You should be in your seats – not stuck in the line! Order your food straight from your smartphone and have it delievered to you with 2ME. Never miss a moment of your event again.”
Kyle: PHS: “System connected to Health Records. It will be used to improve the service delivery in hospitals and transfer of patients between care sectors.”