Ustart 2021



Are you a student in DCU with an idea that you want to make a reality? DCU has developed an extra-curricular programme called UStart, which was the first student accelerator of its kind in Ireland. It offers students with entrepreneurial ideas the chance to set up their own enterprises. The programme offers unique education in entrepreneurship that moves outside the classroom and provides students with an opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience.  Students have been supported with office space in the DCU Innovation campus, financial support and mentorship from the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs to help them bring their business ideas to life.





Terence is the new DCU UStart & HUB Coordinator for the Campus.  Terence’s role is to unite the Entrepreneurship activities both social and commercial within the whole of the DCU Campus, so that students have a clear ‘sign post’ of where to go for support for their new and/or existing venture.  Terence has huge experience working in the Startup Ecosystem in Ireland, he has designed and run accelerator programmes for early-stage startups and over the past few years he has been Community Manager for the DCU Alpha Campus.  If you would like to ask Terence any questions about the programme starting on August 17th  or on Entrepreneurship in general; Terence will set up a Zoom call with you to discuss.


When:          Wednesdays  from  2pm – 4pm
Zoom link:





FIRESIDE CHAT with Martin McMahon (Serial Entrepreneur and Investor)

Event:             UStart – Fireside Chat – Martin McMahon Inventing and Scaling
Date:               Wednesday 3rd March 2021
Time:               5:00pm-6:00pm
Location        Zoom (Link will be send 30 minutes before the event)

A qualified Chemical Engineer, MBA and a Certified Facilities Manager, Martin previously started Vector Workplace & Facility Management in 1999, with his business partner, Anne Ita Ryan. In 2002, a group of Private Equity invested in the business, before the company was sold for €22m in 2004. Remaining with the newly merged business Martin became a director and served on the board of the plc, with full responsibility for all of the plc’s operations. Having floated the organisation on the London and Dublin Stockmarkets in 2005, the enlarged business continued to grow, both locally and internationally and in 2009, the business was subsequently sold to an international operator for €54m.

In 2012, he established Accent Solutions with Finance Director, Anne Ita Ryan, which has grown at an annual compounded rate of c.82% over the last 5 years.

Martin McMahon is a serial entrepreneur. His present startup Accent Solutions will be his 3rd major business venture. He is also an active mentor, investor and through the DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Venture Accelerator has invested in several startups.

Having graduated from UCD with a Bachelor of Engineering (1986), he was awarded an MBA by DCU (1992) and a Higher Diploma in Project Management by TCD in 1996, and is currently undertaking an MA in History (UCD).

He was awarded the Smith Testimonial Prize by the IEI (2002), shortlisted for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (2003), awarded the Fellowship of the Ryan Academy, presented by his peers with the Leadership Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Industry (FM Awards, 2016) and has presented various papers at industry conferences.

Martin is married with three children, who are studying Science, Law and Business Studies.




WORKSHOP with Liz Leavy

Event:             Self Discovery and Team Development
Date:                Friday 12th March 2021
Time:               3:00pm – 4:00pm
Location          Zoom (Link will be send 30 minutes before the event)

Liz Leavy is Head of HR for Diebold Nixdorf Ltd Ireland. She also does coaching for Senior Management teams and plays an active role in mentoring.  She has also built a successful recruitment business increasing turnover from €1m to €15m before its sale.

During this talk Liz will look at self discovery and how that can affect the team you building around you and the culture of the organisation.




WORKSHOP with Joe Cullinane

Event            The Entrepreneurial Innovator, Observations and lessons learnt working with entrepreneurs
Date               Wednesday 24th March 2021
Time               5-6pm
Location       Zoom (Link will be send 30 minutes before the event)

Prof. Joe Cullinane’s focus is on strategic innovation, customer development, and entrepreneurship.  At DCU, Joe works on innovation and student entrepreneurship.  Prior to his current position, he was the CEO of Strategic Artistry,  a Silicon Valley strategy and innovation firm.

Joe will be interviewed by Donnchadh Kindlon

Donnachadh is a Research Assistant in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) at DCU, with Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub. His main role is to research different tools and methods to help foster and embed SIE among students and staff in the university.

He has a BA in Zoology from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Development and Rural Innovation from Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. Previously, he worked at the Dutch Research Institute For Transitions (DRIFT) in Rotterdam where he completed my MSc thesis and internship.

Past Events

Fireside Chat – Student Awards Talk

For this week we have 3 speakers discussing the three difference awards that students of DCU can apply for. These include the

Enterprise Ireland Students Awards with Carol Dillon
The DCU President’s Awards for Innovation with Maria Johnston
The DCU President’s Award for Engagement (Natalji Matease)

Topics such as , times and dates, past projects and application requirements are discussed.

Date:               Wednesday 24th February 2021
More Info:



Fireside Chat – Stephen Daniels, Founder & CTO of Nuwave Ventures

Stephen Daniels Founder & CTO, NuWave Ventures: Nuwave Ventures has sold several thousand products and Stephen will discuss the ups and down from a research and development point of view.

Date:             Wednesday 17th February 2021
More Info:    Press here for Eventbrite page



Fireside Chat – Rónán Ó Dálaigh, Founder of Thriftify

Rónán Ó Dálaigh who studied BA Gnó & Gaeilge in 2014 at DCU and is Founder of Thriftify Social Enterprise and recently closed an investment round of recently raised €500K will open up about his journey and experiences.

Date:            Wednesday 10th February 2021
More Info:   Press here for Eventbrite page




“Ustart was a wonderful programme for our startup. I felt it afforded us the opportunity to mature as founders with the help of some fantastic advice. Over the course of the summer we received phenomenal mentorship, grew our network and grew as a company. I’d highly recommend Ustart to any young founder looking to get into entrepreneurship.”

Adam Dalton,
Co-Founder & CEO,



“Ustart was the best thing we ever did. It taught us all the basics of setting up a start-up up to the more advanced stuff. We would highly recommend the excellent team there, they are there for you every step along the way, no matter where you are on your start-up journey.”
Róisín Madden,
C0-Founder and CEO,
Airmeda Ltd,
Law and Governance Student.




Engineering Society

Esoc (The Entreprise Society)

Enactus Society

DCU Law Society

DCU Politics Society

DCU Ryan Academy

National Centre for Family Business



For any questions  in relation to growing your own business/any entrepreneurial activity in DCU please reach out to;

Terence Bowden
DCU Ryan Academy







By signing up for this event you are giving your consent to be added to the UStart email list. If you wish to be removed please email

Ireland’s first legal blockchain hackathon takes place in Dublin


Matheson was delighted to host Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon over the weekend, in partnership with Deloitte, IBM with the hackathon event run by DCU Ryan Academy.

Participants gathered in Matheson HQ for the two day event focusing on blockchain and the new business opportunities that is brings.  The initiative is part of Matheson’s wider Smart programme, launched in 2016, which is focused on looking for innovative ideas to improve client service, efficiencies and collaboration incorporating the latest themes such as fintech, AI and blockchain.

Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson, said –

“We were delighted to host Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon, another piece in the innovation jigsaw here at Matheson – innovation is at the core of what we do and ensures we stay ahead of the curve.  We recognise the need to change and embrace new technologies in order to provide the best possible level of service to our clients.”

Blockchain technology facilitates transactions and stores information using a secure, distributed ledger system. Its most famous application, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, allows users to send money directly to another user’s ‘wallet’ saving time and money. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise every industry that transacts goods and services, including law.

Speaking after the event, Rebecca Ryan Matheson partner and leader of Smart, the firm’s innovation initiative said –

“Following two very busy but rewarding days of ideas building and innovative discussions, our participants are walking away with valuable insights into the world of blockchain and the opportunities it brings for both the financial services and legal services sectors.  Shaping the future of business and revolutionising the way we communicate, collaborate and create, blockchain is all about how we organise trust in our systems and in our society.”

At the hackathon, attendees pitched blockchain ideas for further development, including a distributed energy grid, a qualification registry, and a smart contract system for housing rental. Teams voted on the best ideas and spent the hackathon fleshing them out and working on their implementation.  Ideas were judged on their creativity, innovation and feasibility.

Speakers included Lory Kehoe, leader of Deloitte’s Europe EMEA blockchain lab who explained the workings of blockchain, its features and the advantages it offers over existing technologies and systems while David Fisher, founder and CEO of Integra Ledger, provided insights and gave participants a hands-on, live experience of a blockchain specifically developed for the event.  The schedule also included Niall Dennehy, COO and co-founder of Aid:Tech, who gave a demonstration of Aid:Tech’s blockchain, which was recently used to successfully deliver aid to Syrian refugees in a transparent, secure way.

Are you attending DCU’s first ever STEAM Hackathon on 20th October?


Dear DCU #STEAMHAck Participant!

Ahead of this weekend’s Hackathon event in the Auditorium in DCU St. Patrick’s Campus, here are some short videos to help you start thinking about what you might be able to do using the Intel technology that will be provided to each team.


  1. For starters, here’s a a good Intel video to motivate you about what Intel’s “Genuino 101” kit is all about:

“Intel and Massimo Banzi on Arduino and Genuino 101”


  1. And next, here’s another video with a bit more geeky detail on the tech built into Intel’s Genuino 101 kit:

“Genuino (Arduino) 101 Explained – with SparkFun!”


  1. Ok – so again for beginners, here’s a short (4min) step-by-step video of how you can use the Intel Genuino (Arduino) to get a bunch of coloured LED lights flashing on and off .. it’s super simple!

Arduino Tutorial: LED Sequential Control- Beginner Project


Remember, there will be lots of help available throughout the Hackathon weekend – so don’t get freaked out if you are not a “techie”.  The Intel Genunio kits are designed for everyone to learn and use quickly.  What we want you to do in the coming days before the event is to start thinking about how you can use this tech to create artistic and creative project ‘prototypes’ over the weekend as per the Hackathon challenge theme.  And to help you think further about this, a good hackathon prototype should:

Provide a new experience

  • Whether you are prototyping a gadget or art installation, don’t be limited to building things you’ve seen before. Utilize colour, sound and motion to express your creativity and come up with something totally new.
  • How has your design incorporated Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths into a new experience? What was your inspiration? Is there a problem you are trying to solve or an interesting question you are trying to answer?


Use technology in an interesting way

  • There is a lot of useful hardware and software available to you over the weekend. Try and get something really simple working quickly and then add in other features. If you don’t have the kit you need, fake it!
  • What are the novel bits of hardware and software in your prototype? How does your prototype get information from the world and what does it do? Did you have to improvise? Were there any difficult bugs you had to squish?


Know the audience

  • Think about where you prototype will exist and what demographic will be interacting with it. Imagine your idea goes beyond this weekend and exists in the real world. Any demonstrations should be based on your prototype’s natural habitat.
  • Is this concept something that people will have in their homes or in their pockets? Who is your audience? How will they interact with this? Will your design inspire others to explore STEAM?

Hope you’re getting excited about DCU’s first ever #STEAMHack.  Stay tuned for further event information in the coming days!

If you haven’t yet registered, you can still do so here:

Shane Carter

DCU #STEAMHAck EventCoordinator

Let’s Connect…! Explore how DCU research can provide opportunities for your business!

There are real opportunities for companies to engage with researchers in Dublin City University. DCU Invent is here to help companies and researchers to collaborate and innovate. We want to meet and tell you more!

Register today: EventBrite

DCU Ryan Academy, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24

25th October 2017 9.00 – 10.00am

Why attend….?
We can solve technology problems for companies
We help you create new products or services
We help maximise your R&D budgets through government grants
We connect you with talented researchers
We facilitate collaborative research opportunities
We offer licensing opportunities for new technologies

9.00 – 10.00am
Why – An overview of why companies might consider engaging with DCU
What – Summary of DCU research expertise
How – Funding and collaboration models to enable companies to collaborate and innovate
Overview of DCU facilities & equipment available for companies to access

Followed by teas & coffees with the DCU Invent team

Get Started 2017 – Free Entrepreneurship Conference, 21st of November, The Helix, Dublin City University

Interested in and ?

Free conference in The Helix on the 21st of November.

DCU Business School in conjunction with IC4, DCU Ryan Academy and DCU Alpha is holding its annual “Get Started” mini-conference on the 21st of November in Mahony Hall, The Helix, Dublin City University.

Get Started 2017 is a free mini-conference on starting your own enterprise, whether a social enterprise or otherwise. It will feature talks from a number of award-winning startups and successful entrepreneurs, who will share their experiences of starting their own business. The event will take place on Tuesday the 21st November 2017 from 14.00-18.00.

Event Webpage: 

Register here: Eventbrite

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