New Enterprise Development, a final-year module at Dublin City University Business School, has been awarded the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) Global Award in Entrepreneurship Education Excellence at the 2023 ICSB World Congress, held this year in Jinju, South Korea.

The New Enterprise Development module tasks business students with coming up with a new idea and developing an investor-ready business plan. By the end of semester, students pitch their entrepreneurial idea in a hands-on Dragon’s Den style session in front of their classmates, lecturers and DCU Business School alumni – the ‘Dragons’. The module is led by Dr Eric Clinton, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship at DCU Business School and Director of the DCU National Centre for Family Business.

The ICSB Global Awards honour outstanding contributions that demonstrate dedication, innovation and impact in entrepreneurship education.

New Enterprise Development

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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




At the end of semester two, our final year classes from Bachelor of Business Studies and BA in Global Business had a capstone ending to their degrees, The Dragon’s Den. 

294 students, from various backgrounds of marketing, finance, human resource management, management of operations, and economics, have been working in teams since September on a module known as New Enterprise Development (NED). The purpose of New Enterprise Development is to allow students to combine their learnings about business and entrepreneurship from their degrees to create their own enterprise venture. From idea creation, feasibility analysis, digital marketing, financial planning, to ultimate business plan proposition, the students have been carefully and creatively developing their concepts since initial ideation. We have had some really innovative ideas being crafted by our students, even students working on enterprises that they had already founded! The students crafted ideas related to real life experiences they have encountered, trends they have seen in the market, or potential gaps in the market for them to enter. From a simple to use plaster dispenser for the hospitality industry, a safety device to easily detect users in distress at sea, to insertable washing machine sleeves to catch microplastics.

Ahead of submitting their final business plans, students were given the opportunity to showcase their enterprise to a ‘thunder’ of dragons from industry. We had 36 esteemed dragons over the three days from a wide array of businesses, such as Google, eShopWorld, Circet, Morgan McKinley, and PeachyLean, to name but a few. The students had only 7 minutes to pitch their enterprise to the dragons before being open to questions and receiving invaluable feedback from the dragons on how to move forward with their businesses. 

While nerves were high throughout, it was fantastic to see how excited the students were as they left the board room. Smiles, high fives, and jumps for joy were plentiful! Students were extremely relieved the see that their hard work paid off and their presentations went smoothly, but most important they were highly appreciative of the feedback they received. Some students are even thinking of pursuing with their enterprise concepts following completion of their degree. We hope to hear great things of them in the future!

Written by Senior Teaching Assistant, Paul Anderson


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

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

Upon returning to DCU from INTRA to complete my final year of studies I was excited to see what additional expertise I could gain from the modules being offered. Whilst all my modules have granted me invaluable practical experience in their own regard, the module which has taught me the most about functioning as a team and the tasks involved with creating a good/service is “New Enterprise Development”. The purpose of this module is for 5 students to create a concept for a good/service and then after thorough research and effort as well as the creation of a marketing campaign, the students pitch their product to four investors in the same fashion as Dragons Den.

The Ideation process was incredibly interesting as it involved all members of our group collaborating and pitching concepts from energy drinks to help with hangovers to software to assist with proper stances and form for exercises in the gym. After accumulating 20+ potential ideas for products, we then discussed the practicality and potential market for each as well as which we felt most passionately about as a team. After this lengthy discussion, we determined that we all felt most attracted towards a product that helps alleviate feelings of anxiety through natural scents/fragrances.

An incredibly beneficial aspect that NED provides in terms of experience in the market research students must conduct themselves. I can recall our group personally researching mental health statistics for Ireland as well as conducting primary research in the form of surveys and polls. We also had to examine the feasibility of this product which involved the finance students within our group calculating the costs of production. Other students and myself were tasked with reading academic studies into mental health and natural scents effect on stress levels. We then evaluated this research to determine whether our product had the potential to make a profit.

After completing the ideation process and feasibility research, we were then tasked with creating the marketing campaign for our product, which as a marketing student was both the most rewarding and equally the most interesting section of the module. When determining the marketing strategy for our product, we were taught how it was important to understand our target market and to utilize traits within our campaign that they could relate to. Given that our target market was college students, and the topic of mental health is so commonly stigmatised, we believed a more light-hearted approach was best. We were then able to film and edit the ad for our product which was even more advantageous experience. Having the responsibility of organising the marketing aspects of our business and getting an insight into what type of work I can expect after graduating was incredibly rewarding.

Ultimately, New Enterprise Development is a module that will give practical experience like no other module and yet another reason why I would recommend studying Business in DCU to anyone currently considering it.

Find out more about New Enterprise Development Module:

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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.

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Hi! My name is Kian and I am a third-year Business Studies student in Dublin City University. Business was my favourite subject in school and for a couple of reasons, I always wanted to pursue my interest in DCU. One element of the course that I liked was the wide variety of modules that I could do. In first year and second year, I took part in modules in, Economics, Management, IT, Psychology and many more areas of expertise. I remember being really unsure about what area of business I wanted to specialise in before I started college. Thankfully by engaging in the modules offered by the business school, I was able to get clarity on the career I want to pursue after college. I really enjoyed modules such as Financial Management and Business Information Systems, and these are the areas of business I am now currently working in!

As a student, I’ve always been one to build competencies and skills on the job. This was another reason I chose to do Business in DCU, as they have an employment programme called “INTRA” that is set up to connect employers to students. I’m currently enrolled in the INTRA programme working as an IT Audit intern for KPMG Ireland. I’ve loved the experience so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year!

Not only did the INTRA programme help me find this placement, but it also gave me the confidence to tackle the job interview head on. The INTRA team held seminars leading up to our interviews, giving myself and other students helpful tips to stand out to employers. I found the tips based on how to build a CV really important to getting my placement!

The modules I had in my second year also set me up well for my placement. The human resources module had a lot of great tips on how to build your CV and how to manage relationships with your colleagues in the workplace. As someone who now works in IT, modules such as Business Information Systems were very helpful to learn the basics of coding and Microsoft excel. I think the most important skill I’ve learned so far in DCU is how to work effectively in a team. Throughout first and second year, I got to know my classmates by working with them on different projects and assignments. I found that it was a great way to make new connections and I’m really feeling the benefits of it now working in KPMG.

I think the course is a perfect fit for any student who has a broad interest in business. Even if you are unsure about what area you want to specialise in, the DCU Business School has done an amazing job in allowing students to explore different expertise to see what they like the most!

I’m really looking forward to my final year so I can get back to work and catch up with all of my classmates!


Author: Kian Malone, Bachelor of Business Studies at Dublin City University

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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

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