Building an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem through New Enterprise Development
At DCU Business School we aim to shape our graduates into well-rounded individuals, ready to make an impact on society and on the workforce.
The New Enterprise Development (NED) programme is a prime example of how we combine industry engagement with academic learning in preparing industry-ready graduates. Throughout this year-long module our student entrepreneurial teams engage with national media, local artists, multinational corporations, alumni, inter-disciplinary faculty, state support bodies, corporate partners, to name but a few, on their entrepreneurial journey.
Creativity drives innovation, strategic change, and offers new solutions to existing problems. Within today’s knowledge economy, organisations are continually looking ‘outside the box’ and exploring non-traditional sources for inspiration and creativity. Within NED, our students work with experts where creativity and flair are to the fore, including local artists, chefs, architects and musicians.
Ideation Hackathons with Innovation Managers: Students also take part in a series of engaging ideation hackathons, designed with industry partners.
Working with Award-Winning National Entrepreneurs: Students then pitch their early-stage concept to a panel of leading national entrepreneurs. During the workshops, NED students have 7 minutes to pitch their concept, followed by 5 minutes for constructive feedback. The success of this workshop is largely due to an online peer-learning platform where students using smart technology devices provide real-time feedback.
Thinking ‘Outside the Box’ and the Business School: Our NED entrepreneurial teams then engage in an intensive four-week market scrutinization process. During this stage students have access to 3D print technologies, laboratory facilities and collaborative workrooms. Many of our team will create a minimal viable product at this juncture. To support our students in the market feasibility analysis we deliver a series of engaging masterclasses on topic such as ‘Developing a Minimal Viable Product’, ‘Customer Profiling Techniques’, ‘Learning to Pivot Early’, and ‘Pricing Strategies and Customer Expectations’.
Enter the Dragons’ Den: Across DCU’s 46-year history thousands of graduates have passed through the Business School. Many of these alumni give their time generously to engage with the next generation of industry leaders through our Dragons’ Den. Set over three days, our NED entrepreneurial teams pitch to some 32 Dragons, all of whom are Business School alumni.
“In final year you have to come up with a new business idea – New Enterprise Development (NED) – and develop a complete business plan that’s investor ready. This was one of the most useful elements for me in going on to start my own business. You essentially start a business and pitch it to a panel in a Dragons’ Den type environment at the end of the year. That’s really helpful and it’s also very similar to actually starting a business – it’s like a dry run. It gives you a lot of the skill-set, a lot of the discipline – it gives you an understanding of the importance of research ahead of launching a business.” Ryan Scott, DropChef
Dr Eric Clinton, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship, has been awarded a 2nd place prize for Building An Entrepreneurship Ecosystem through New Enterprise Development in the category ‘Most Innovative Approach to Developing Employability Skills’ in the HE Innovate Awards 2021.