‘What’s the Big Idea?’ Awards Ceremony Recap

On Wednesday 6th of December, SU Enterprise held the Awards Ceremony of their annual ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ competition. With £7,000 worth of funding to be won across 11 categories including ‘Best Green Business Idea’ and ‘Best Idea for a Social Enterprise’, the competition drew in over 90 applications from across the university.

Sponsored by Ormeau Business Park & Kainos, SU Enterprise hosted a festive afternoon in celebration of the finalists, welcoming judges, university staff, and business professionals from across Belfast.  Guests heard inspirational talks from Ormeau Business Park Lewis Loane, CEO of Toran, and Marc Nevin from Kainos.

Category winners included:

  • Best Overall Idea – David Glass
  • Most Innovative Idea – Niamh Tohill
  • Best Green Business Idea – Matthew Luscher
  • Best Idea for a Global Marketplace – Jamie Curran
  • Best Idea from the Creative Industries – Georgios Varoutsos
  • Best Idea from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences – Samuel Netherton
  • Best Idea from the Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences – David Glass
  • Best Idea from the Faculty of Medicine, Health & Life Sciences – Liam Harte
  • Best Idea from a Postgraduate Student – Eray Kayar
  • Best Idea for a Social Enterprise – Aidan McGeary
  • Best Use of AI – Beatrice Lim

Mechanical Engineering student Niamh Tohill took home the prize for ‘Most Innovative Idea’ with her idea for an automated bin crusher, compressing rubbish, optimising bin space and reducing collection costs.

Mechanical Engineering student David Glass won ‘Best Overall Idea’, with his idea called ‘Direct Protect’, wearable technology for rugby and hurling addresses undetected concussions, featuring EEG sensors for real-time brain health monitoring.

Alison Coote, Head of Product and Innovation at Kainos commented:

“At Kainos, we love solving real world problems with innovative ideas.  That’s why we are thrilled to part of “What’s the big idea”.  Its initiatives like this that not only support young founders in taking their first steps into entrepreneurship but are key to developing the next generation of innovators.”

Patricia McNeill, CEO of Ormeau Business Park commented:

“In this the 15th year of sponsorship of What’s the Big idea in 2023, Ormeau Business Park congratulate all this year’s applicants who continue to champion the legacy of enterprise at Queen’s University Belfast by illuminating their skills and academic talent to produce commercial focused and unique game changing business ideas.

The annual ‘What’s the Big Idea’ awards continue to provide an early-stage platform for students with the spirit of innovation who dream big, work hard, and strive towards making their mark on society as potential global business leaders.”

QUB SU Enterprise felt that the event was a great way to end the first semester, celebrating creativity and rewarding innovation amongst students.

SU Enterprise launched their second semester competition ‘QUB Dragon’s Den’ at the event, which gives students the opportunity to take their businesses to the next level with a more detailed application form, a tougher competitive process, and a bigger financial reward worth £20,000. QUB students can find out more about entering this competition on the SU Enterprise website.

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