Dublin City University Business School (DCU) has been recognised at the first-ever Small Business Charter Excellence Awards. The school won the category ‘Outstanding Support for Student Enterprise and Entrepreneurship’ for its ground-breaking initiative “Learning Innovation for Enterprise: Supporting the LIFE of an Entrepreneurial Student”.

Dr. Catherine Faherty, Assistant Professor of Enterprise, Prof Teresa Hogan, Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance and DCU Manager of the Small Business Charter, Dr Eric Clinton, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the DCU National Centre for Family Business, and Professor Dominic Elliott, Dean of Dublin City University Business School received the award at the Small Business Charter Summer Reception held on 22 June at the House of Lords. The reception was attended by business leaders, politicians, media, and business schools from across the UK and Ireland.

The LIFE programme was launched in September 2019 as part of DCU Business School’s redesigned first-year curriculum. The programme is based around business in all its forms and entrepreneurship. All first-year DCU Business School students complete the LIFE module and it’s an integral, foundational part of our curriculum.

Students learn the A-Z of business in all its forms through Hackathons, online learning, conference seminars, applied projects, reflective writing, and through hearing directly from businesses. Over the course of one year, students understand and experience entrepreneurship as it applies to multiple business situations, including family businesses, start-ups, and social enterprises, right through to large corporations.

It was noted by the judges that the Learning Innovation for Enterprise programme demonstrated exemplary support for student enterprise and entrepreneurship through LIFE – a capstone enterprise education module taken by all first-year students across eight undergraduate programmes.

The Judges commented: “Skills for life are hard-wired into Dublin City University’s LIFE course and are relevant to the mechanics and mindset of an entrepreneur’s attributes and attitude.  This proves that such skills can be learnt and developed to challenge thinking about opportunities for business.”

Commenting on the award Professor Dominic Elliott, Dean of Dublin City University Business School said: “The team here at the School is really delighted to receive this award and to be recognised for the brilliant LIFE initiative. Our work with the small, medium-sized business community is amongst the most rewarding things that my colleagues, students and I do. Through the Small Business Charter (SBC) we’ve undertaken initiatives that have really stretched the imagination and insight of the students and helped them gain an unparalleled understanding of how businesses operate and the challenges they face. This ‘real-life’ experience sets them up brilliantly for life after university.

“We previously won the European Award for Innovation in Teaching & Learning and it’s great that we can add this award to our cabinet!”

Michael Hayman, Chair of judges, Chair of the Small Business Charter added; “The judges noted the incredible quality of entrants for the inaugural Small Business Charter awards. Today’s winners represent excellence from around the country and exemplify the immense impact of business schools on entrepreneurship and small business growth, productivity, and innovation. Our congratulations go to all five of the recognised schools and we look forward to following the future success of their transformative programmes.”

About the awards

The SBC Excellence Awards have been created to celebrate SBC schools’ own ‘home-grown’ business support initiatives which highlight their own expertise and innovations, working in tandem with the spirit and purpose of the SBC.

There were three categories of awards, representing the three pillars of the holistic SBC assessment:

  • Outstanding Support for Small Business
  • Outstanding Stakeholder Engagement
  • Outstanding Support for Student Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Over 40 entries were received, with 12 schools’ entries shortlisted as finalists.  The panel of six judges, representing senior academics from SBC accredited business schools, SME business leaders and other key stakeholders, made one Excellence Award for each of the three categories and have highly commended two further entries.  To maintain impartiality academic judges did not vote for their own schools.

Visit Small Business Charter here




On Thursday 13th April, we welcomed Applegreen to DCU Business School to present the inaugural DCU-Applegreen Innovation Challenge Award to a group of first-year students in the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) module.

Using design-thinking techniques, students were tasked with developing a service innovation focused on enhancing Applegreen’s customer service.

Students worked in groups and visited Applegreen stores across Ireland to gain first-hand market research insights to assist them in developing innovative solutions.

The winning team presented their innovation in the boardroom to Applegreen’s Head of Innovation, Maria Cassidy, Early Careers Manager, Katie Dunne, as well as the Dean of DCU Business School, Professor Dominic Elliott, and module lecturers, Dr Catherine Faherty and Dr Orlagh Reynolds. We would like to thank Applegreen for their ongoing partnership on the award-winning LIFE module.

Congratulations to Emma Jones, Andrew Keegan, Conor Jones, Wojciech Karatysz, Bianca Iepureanu, Tomas Hegarty and Ryan Holmes.

Katie Dunne (Applegreen), Bianca Iepureanu (LIFE student), Maria Cassidy (Applegreen)

From March 27th- 30th 2023, the DCU Social Innovation Hackathon – Hack4Change – took place in DCU’s U building. Approximately 700 first year business school students and first years from the Climate and Environmental Sustainability Futures programme took part in one of the 6 sessions run over these 4 days. We also welcomed 13 speakers, approximately 50 mentors and several key sponsors.



Part of the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) module, the hackathon enabled students to work collectively in groups to develop innovative solutions for circular economy-related issues. Students developed Problem Definition Statements before their hackathon session, while during the session they worked through a number of ideation techniques and completed their Hack Impact canvases. Sessions began with lightning talks and speakers included social entrepreneurs and industry experts representing a variety of prominent institutions such as the Rediscovery Centre, Dublin City Council, PWC and GreenFridays4Future. Mentors from companies such as Deloitte, an Taisce, Mastercard, and many generous DCU staff offered their feedback and insights on proposed solutions. For the final activity of the hackathon sessions, students were asked to post their problems and solutions in visually compelling Instagram posts to receive some further feedback from peers. A total of 87 posts and 37 stories were posted to the DCUHack4Change Instagram account.


 The students focused on a wide variety of circular economy innovations such as an appliance repair education service to reduce overconsumption caused by designing for obsolescence, a system for upcycling and recycling materials from disposable vapes, and a service redirecting textiles from landfill towards the creation of personalised items with a story. Student-led engagement on Instagram led to a sharp increase in metrics for our account with over 2000 people engaged with the Instagram posts generating thousands of likes, highlighting the success of the event.

The students also won DCC and DCU Business School sponsored goodie bags for winning the circular economy table quiz at each session, One4All vouchers for the most innovative idea and the most reach for their Instagram posts, a DCC sponsored bike from the Social Enterprise Frontline Bikes for the most engaged students, a ticket to the Circular Economy Hotspot event worth 300euro, a 50euro voucher for the circular enterprise Kopper Kreation, as well as some further goodie bags and a hamper for engagement and teamwork.

Each hackathon session ended with pizza for the students and our speakers and mentors availed of a Dublin City Council sponsored lunch provided by the Social Enterprise Loaf catering each day. Overall the event was an effective means of providing students with some ideation experience in the circular economy space as well as the opportunity to engage with industry members.

Find out more about the LIFE module here:

LIFE module wins 7th Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards

LIFE module wins European Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Yuan O’Neill is an alumna of our BA in International Business and she graduated in 2020.  Yuan specialised in Economics and Chinese. She is now working in PWC as an assurance associate.  We met up with Yuan to ask her about her Erasmus experience in China, here is what she had to say…..

Tell us about the university in China?
While in China I studied at the Capital University of Economics and Business (CUEB) in Beijing, China. Our class timetable consisted of 8:30-12:30 in the morning classes. We usually had 2 different Chinese modules each day. The modules we studied were, Chinese Grammar, Chinese Aural, Chinese Oral, and Chinese Comprehension. We studied 2 business modules each semester. These were taught through English. We usually had this class once a week in the afternoon. The 2 modules we studied that year were based on Chinese business law and the Chinese Business environment. Our accommodation was on campus, and I shared a room with another DCU student.

How did you find settling into life in China?
Moving to China was a big cultural shock. Settling into Beijing at first was quite hard. It was a very busy city. We found it hard at first to get to know people. We decided to join the Beijing GAA team and a Beijing Rugby team. This helped us meet other students who were studying over in Beijing. These teams also allowed us to meet other Chinese natives. I was able to immerse myself with Chinese natives, who loved helping me with my Chinese, and they loved practicing their English with me. We also got to know many of the other students that were studying at CUEB with us. I would often meet up with them and we would work through and practice the topics we learned that week in class. I loved traveling on my weekends. We would go to different surrounding cities such as Tianjin or we would explore parts of Beijing that we hadn’t been to before. The subway system was so quick and easy to get around Beijing. On our longer holidays, we would visit cities such as Shanghai, Xiamen, Xi’an, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. I loved being immersed in Chinese culture and history. Seeing how each city differed from the others was amazing.

Tell us about your favorite module?
My favorite module was the Chinese oral class. The reason for this was because the book we studied our oral skills from was based on conversations between people. In class, we would break up into pairs and we would act out these scenarios with each other. We would often present in front of the class. We could make this quite funny at times so it was a fun way of practicing our aural and grammar skills too. My oral Chinese was one of my weaker areas before I went to China, but with the help of this module and also with the help of being in Beijing, it became one of my stronger areas by the time my year was up.

Tell us about your career to date?
Since graduating from the BA in Business International in DCU, I have been working in PwC Ireland in the assurance department. I started interviewing for jobs in my final year of my degree. A great bonus to my CV was having a year abroad in Beijing. Many of my interviewers were impressed that I spent a year in China studying. They loved the idea that I had Chinese as a language as many of the firms I was interviewing for were international with many offices across China. I was (and still am) very open to the idea of moving to China once I have completed my professional accountancy exams.

Author: Yuan O’Neill

Course Page: https://business.dcu.ie/course/bachelor-of-business-studies-international/

Last week saw DCU Business School’s final year business students enter the Dragons’ Den to pitch their New Enterprise Development ideas to over 30 industry experts from across the country.  Over the three days, more than 270 of the School’s budding entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of the ‘Dragons’.  Students were given 7 minutes to showcase their ideas followed by 10 minutes of gruelling questions in the Den.  The Dragons shared their valuable expertise and advice to the students each day, with representation from companies such as Ergo, Google, AIB, Irish Life, Openet, Irish Rail, Aptiv and Vilicom to name a few.

New Enterprise Development is a year-long module that tasks students with creating an innovative product or service idea and putting it through the various stages of the new venture creation process including concept development, feasibility analysis, digital marketing, financial planning and finally the business plan and presentation in the form of a Dragons’ Den.

This year’s cohort created a wide range of innovative product and service ideas.  From biodegradable planting pots and self-cleaning coffee cups to flood-prevention technology and online reputation management software, each of the 56 ideas were innovative and unique in their own respects.  The standard of each group was exceptional throughout the event and we wish those going on to pursue their ideas further the very best of luck.

Find out more about New Enterprise Development here:

Building an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem through New Enterprise Development

My Experience with the “New Enterprise Development” module – Peter Killalea

March 21st & 22nd: The DCU Social Innovation Hackathon – Hack4Change – took place on campus in the U building, a welcome return to the in-person format since pre-Covid.  Over 600 students along with 11 speakers, 30 mentors and several volunteers participated in the hackathon.  Part of the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) module, the hackathon was focused on encouraging students to work collectively in groups to develop potential solutions for a sustainability-related problem.  The students were also encouraged to map their problem statements with one of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Four half-day sessions were organized over two days.  Students were divided into groups, the size of which ranged from four to seven members.  The session began with lightning talks by speakers.  The speakers included entrepreneurs, industry experts and academics and represented a variety of prominent institutions such as MasterCard, Dublin City Council, Pure Clothing and Accenture.  Group activity followed the lightning talks, wherein the student teams worked on defining their problem statement.  After finalising the problem statement, the students started working on a potential solution.  This activity also involved a deliberation between the student teams and the mentors.  The mentors offered their feedback and insights on the proposed solution.  The final activity of the hackathon involved a solution validation exercise, where the teams presented their final solution to the mentors and incorporated their feedback into the final output.

As the final output of the Hackathon, students were asked to post a couple of images (one for the problem and the other for the proposed solution) on Instagram.  A total of 66 resulting Instagram posts were shared on the DCUHack4Change Instagram account.  The students focused on a wide variety of societal problems ranging from sustainable fashion, affordable housing, mental health, waste disposal, air pollution, food security and sustainable farming among others.  The students actively shared their solutions in their wider community and engaged with the Instagram posts of other teams.  This student-led engagement led to a sharp increase in the engagement metrics.  Over 1360 people engaged with the Instagram posts generating thousands of likes over the two days, highlighting the success of the event.  The students also won special prizes for the table quiz in each hackathon session.

Each hackathon session ended with a pizza party.  Overall, the students enjoyed the session and saw it as a fun learning activity.

Author: Anish Tiwari, Marie S. Curie Fellow & PhD. Candidate, DCU Business School

Find out more about the LIFE module here:

LIFE module wins 7th Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards

LIFE module wins European Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Today DCU Business School welcomed Mr John Purdy, Co-Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Ergo, to speak to the final year New Enterprise Development class about his journey from co-founding Ergo 28 years ago to creating a €100m business.

With his vast experience in co-founding a business and steering it through extraordinary growth, John gave the class insights into the most important factors that contribute to a start-up’s success. One of his key pieces of advice to students was the importance of always moving forward and having a healthy attitude towards change. For budding entrepreneurs to thrive and grow, they must surround themselves with people who are honest and realistic. He described how ego is often the first reason why companies fail, and that keeping your feet on the ground and remaining humble is key to sustainable success as an entrepreneur. John’s three ‘B’s’ for students – which he frequently referred to throughout his own entrepreneurial journey – are to be brave, be bold, and believe.

Students will take great inspiration from John’s insights as they move toward the Dragon’s Den stage of their New Enterprise Development project next month.

Study Business at DCU: https://business.dcu.ie/undergraduate-full-time/

Known for its diversity and multiculturalism, DCU is a one-stop destination for international students looking to grow in their personal and professional lives. The inclusivity at DCU makes interaction with different races and cultures more interesting by organizing events such as movie nights, Arctic Disco, Christmas markets, and many more. The wide range of clubs and societies enables international students to connect with like-minded individuals who share the same interests. DCU has also designed an International Faith Centre for international students coming from different religions to get together and find solace within their surroundings. 

Here are some highlights of what a few International Students have to say when asked about their favourite thing about studying at DCU: 

One of my favourite things about DCU, coming from a non-English background is that I get to interact with my peers from all across the globe, which enables me to improve my spoken English, benefiting me in my future career. Students like me, for whom English is a second language, are taken into consideration by the professors to deliver the content of the class, making it easy for the non-local students to understand the content of the module. – Wen from China, pursuing Msc. in Strategy Management. 

My favourite thing about DCU is the vast and magnificent campus. The sports complex, the cafes on campus, the student restaurant, and Nubar are some of the treasured spots on campus. This has helped me get to know my peers outside of the classroom and build connections over and above the academics. After a long day, I love spending time with my friends in and around such a vibrant campus. – Shams from London, pursuing a PhD. In Computing. 

At DCU, there are many international students, and even though we come from different parts of the world, the one thing that connects us is that we are away from home. This brings us together, and in that process, we find our home on-campus. Interacting with so many talented individuals from different cultures has cherished my social life and grown me personally. – Mann Maheshwari from India, pursuing Msc. in Strategy Management. 

An interview with Romal Thakkar, one of our International students from Mumbai, India, pursuing an MSc. in Business Management, gave us quite an insight into the life of an International student at DCU. Let’s take a look at what he had to say. 

Q. What is your favourite thing about studying at DCU?

A. The ideal learning environment which DCU provides through its academic staff, facilities, classmates, and location. All of these make for a successful and memorable study experience.

Q. How easy/hard do you find getting around on campus?

A. Getting around the campus is intuitive and straightforward, as there are plenty of signs and indications on the campus and academic buildings. And if someone is still confused, you can always ask the friendly staff or students at DCU for directions. At various spots on-campus, there are maps displayed, which further aids in finding the way around the campus.

I can recall my first day at the campus; I was a bit nervous seeing how huge the campus was. I had come in 30 minutes before the lecture time, as I thought it would take some time to find my way around. However, on getting down at the Helix bus stop, I quickly found my way to the Business building easily.  

Q. What impact has DCU had on your social life?

A. Coming abroad to study at DCU for a Master’s study has been a significant decision. When I met my classmates and started socializing with them, they were bright, social, and intellectual. Socializing with them daily keeps me engaged and motivated. We meet a couple of times every week to discuss classwork and other topics. Moreover, being social and extroverted has helped me make plenty of friends and valuable connections. I have also joined various clubs and societies, like the Debate club, Enactus, and volunteering society, to connect with people having similar interests and hobbies. Thus, DCU has had a significant positive impact on my social life, and it has been incredibly active and exciting.

Q. Do you think professors are accessible? 

A. All the professors in my program are highly knowledgeable in their field and skilled at teaching. The lectures are interactive and engaging, and the professors encourage students to ask questions and doubts in class, irrespective of how big or small the question is. Apart from this, professors also make time after class for any queries or concerns, and they also have office hours every week for any questions or issues regarding the subject. Furthermore, the professors are also considerate, and some of them go out of their way to solve a student’s query. The majority of the professors in my program are very accessible and open to discussions with the students at any point during the semester.

Q. What does a typical day look like in your life?

A. A typical day during the semester at DCU involves waking up early morning, taking a bath, cooking breakfast and catching, a bus for the university. Most days consist of multiple lectures, one of them being in the early morning. After attending a two-hour morning lecture, I would usually head for lunch with friends at one of the delicious restaurants at DCU. After grabbing lunch, we would sit outdoors and finish up on our food while discussing the materials covered in class. Most of the days, there is a gap of an hour or two between lectures, which gives us time for lunch and to prepare for the following lecture. 

Q. Name the most special thing about DCU, which makes DCU stand out from other universities.

A. I feel multiple aspects make DCU stand out from the rest of the universities.

Firstly, the vast campus and a wide array of academic buildings, offering an extensive catalogue of courses across varied disciplines. Connecting with people from different courses and backgrounds makes for interesting conversations and a great network.

Secondly, DCU offers widely reputed and competitively ranked programs. It provides an ideal learning environment for students and suitably prepares them for research and industry. While studying, there are also ample opportunities for business internships and networking, thereby allowing students to gain professional experience alongside studying. 

Lastly, the diverse teaching, a network of peers from different walks of life, and varied experiences from an international business school would also help me for my future career progression.

These are some aspects, on top of my mind, that make DCU special.

Q. How would you describe your fellow students?

A. My classmates in the MSBM course are dedicated and hardworking. Networking with able, like-minded, and ambitious peers makes for successful academic life at the university. Many of the students in the class come from different educational backgrounds, which makes for a diverse experience. Academically, the majority of my classmates strive for high scores and work intensely towards achieving them. Socially, it has been a delight meeting and conversing with motivated & experienced classmates. Even when it comes to class participation, a very high proportion of students actively participate. Thus, my classmates are driven and high achievers.

Q. How has the academic life been treating you? Are you getting the required help with your assignments? 

A. Academic life at DCU has been going very well. The teachers are proficient, great at teaching, and always open to questions in person or email. The teaching assistants for various subjects have also been invaluable. They are guiding on assignments, providing feedback on projects & presentations, answering queries, and promptly uploading essential materials on Loop (student portal). Apart from the academic staff, other resources such as Library workshops, writing centre, and subject experts helping with assignments have also been of immense help. Career planning provided by experts at DCU has also been beneficial. I have utilized most of these resources and found them to be very resourceful.

Author:  , Current Student of the MSc Management Strategy

Check out our Postgraduate Offering: https://business.dcu.ie/post-graduate/


I have spent the last 15 months as a student at Neoma Business School in Reims. From the very beginning, this has been a journey full of excitement and opportunity. Having arrived in France amid an ongoing global pandemic, I was even more grateful for the experience of living in a new country and embracing a new culture. As soon as I arrived, I felt a great sense of community in Reims. Neoma made me feel at home and offered me plenty of support and information in order to prepare me for my new student life. 

The CESEM course brings together students from across the globe and offers a dynamic environment where diversity can be celebrated. Teamwork and group presentations are embraced in the teaching methods at Neoma which granted me the opportunity to work with classmates from France, China, America, etc. and of course from home too. A large emphasis is placed on continuous assessment, and I found myself gaining confidence as I undertook various class presentations and pitches. 

While the majority of last year’s lectures took place via Zoom, this year has been entirely on campus, presenting me with a completely new experience. Classroom discussions and debates are encouraged which has helped me to practice and improve my French, while also aiding my understanding of certain subjects. The small class numbers, compared to that in DCU, means that I can share my thoughts directly with my professor and receive immediate feedback. It has also helped me form strong relationships with the people around me and generates a positive classroom atmosphere. 

The people you meet at Neoma are what makes the experience so special, and these relationships are carried beyond the classroom. Over the past year, I have gotten to know so many different types of people and got to learn more about their respective cultures. From listening to Spanish music to practising Italian dancing, there is an abundance of ways to stay busy! Reims itself is immersed in French culture, with its stunning cathedral offering a background for many post-lecture coffee dates. Student life is at the centre of the city, and you can often spot Neoma student associations hosting events in different bars and restaurants.

Students create the atmosphere of Neoma, and this is seen through the extra-curricular activities offered by the university. Student associations exist for a wide variety of interests ranging from sport to art to sustainability, so there is certainly something for everyone. Student voices are heard and as a class representative, I felt that meetings with the course director really helped target topics relevant to us, students. 

Neoma Business School has provided me with a university experience beyond my expectations and has matched that of DCU, something which I, at first, did not think was possible. However, after almost 3 semesters here I feel completely at home. The connections and memories I have made at Neoma, I hope will last a lifetime, along with the skills and competencies of which I have acquired. Nearing the end of my time at Reims, I can truly say that I feel ready and prepared to embrace whatever lies ahead in my professional and academic journey. 


Author: Saoirse Duffy, BA Global Business France

Course Page: https://business.dcu.ie/course/global-business-france/

DCU Erasmus: https://www.dcu.ie/international/study-overseas


Last week DCU Business School welcomed Shane O’Sullivan and Leo Hamill to speak to the final year New Enterprise Development (NED) class about the stages of startup funding, pitching to investors and the necessary skills and competencies involved.

Shane O’Sullivan provided the class with some very interesting insights from his 30 years of experience in financial services.  He explained the significance of “diversity of thought” within a team and described the importance of “cash as your oxygen” in the initial running of a new business.  One of his key messages was to get in the way of opportunity, especially in the early stages of a new enterprise, as “successful people don’t let things happen to them, they happen to things”.

With his experience as Managing Partner at Investec Ventures Ireland Limited, Leo Hamill advised the class on what it takes to make a successful pitch to investors.  He explained that investors often look for not only a great business idea, but for a cohesive and synergetic management team, and the importance of this as students prepare for the Dragon’s Den next March.

Leo and Shane closed their keynote address with their top tips for students, placing particular emphasis on the importance of taking calculated risks, not being afraid to fail and building a great team around you in order to succeed. Their advice will be of great value to students as they begin to work on the feasibility stage of their New Enterprise Development project.