A group of MTU students returned from Lahti, Finland this week after taking part in an innovative programme aimed at encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship among students from a range of disciplines.
Entitled ‘European Creative Futures’, now in its 13th year, this Erasmus Intensive Programme was hosted by LAB University of Applied Sciences, Lahti, Finland to bring together students from European countries with the aim of promoting business acumen and entrepreneurial know how among students intending to pursue careers in the creative industries.
This week long programme of intensive study and practical learning allowed 40 students to share experiences, points of view and learn together about entrepreneurship.
The fourteen MTU students came from a wide range of programmes of study including Public Relations, Fine Art, Multimedia, Music, Journalism, Business Information Systems and Business. They were joined by 26 students from similar backgrounds from Finland, Norway and the Netherlands for the programme.
>From the outset, the students worked in small multi-disciplinary groups generating business ideas and carried out market research to identify target markets and pitched their ideas to industry mentors. Students learned by doing through a series of interactive lectures, group discussions and workshops.
Some of the business ideas established in the limited time frame included:
- E-Ware – an energy saving product that provides awareness and the opportunity for users to analyse what individual product usage cost is in their homes
- Foobia – a table-top game where players match obscure phobias with professions in order to create a series of unfortunate (but hilarious) combinations
- Noozle – an educational tool that promotes digital literacy amongst young students through gamified tasks that identify fake news, disinformation and the implicit biases held by all of us
- Planeat – a wayfinding mobile app used to help you navigate a grocery store in the most time efficient and hassle free-way
- Wardrobe-It – a mobile app which will consist of two main features, a wardrobe organiser and an online platform to buy and sell pre-loved and vintage clothing
- Rest with Ease – a website to relieve the pressure and stress on grieving family members arranging funerals as well as helping to reduce funeral costs
Ensuring it wasn’t all work, the Finnish hosts organised a full schedule of social and cultural activities for the students which included a “Trip to a Local Brewery ‘, ‘Gala – Dinner’ and a trip to go ‘Ice -Swimming’ an experience enjoyed by all.My thanks to Margaret Mulderrig, Erasmus Officer for supporting this Erasmus Intensive Programme and Louise Byrne, Faculty Administrator for organising the trip and huge thanks to the core ECF Team: Dr Breda Kenny, Emmett Coffey and Frank O’Donovan who travelled with the students and taught on the programme and ensured that all participants including our own MTU students had a great learning experience and a memorable week.
Nine organisations from the public, private and social sectors throughout the Munster region are taking part in the 2022 challenge and all are seeking innovative solutions to real-life problems, which they are encountering in their businesses. The challenges posed this year are both complex and varied, with potential solutions requiring a strong multi-disciplinary approach. This provides students with an excellent opportunity to engage and network with colleagues from a variety of courses and disciplines across the university.
The Innovation Challenges for 2022 were submitted by a wide range of organisations including Adam Audio, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, Boston Scientific, Clearstream, Crann Centre, EirData, PepsiCo and WAZP. The challenge topics covered areas such as the following:
- Machine learning in creation and production
- Workshop design to increase empathy for those effected by autism
- Streamlining of manufacturing processes
- Employee recruitment & retention in a competitive environment
- Personal care in complex support environments
- Scheduling for complex inventory management settings
- Cybersecurity in a challenging environment
- Reclaiming scrap and avoiding creating landfill
This year’s challenge saw undergraduate and postgraduate students participating from a wide variety of disciplines, including Architecture, Business, Computer Science/IT, Communications and Media, Engineering, Science, Beverage Industry Management, Popular Music, Social Care Work, and Human Resource Management.
Michael Loftus, Vice President for External Affairs at MTU, said:
“This year, we are delighted to welcome on board our US colleagues from Endicott College, who bring an international flavour to the challenge. They join students and staff from a broad suite of MTU courses across the university’s Cork and Kerry campuses. The challenges the students are facing this year are diverse and complex and we are very much looking forward to learning about their innovative solutions during the final presentations on 8 March. For the future, we look forward to our students also competing with students from across INGENIUM universities in similar events.”
Carole O’Leary, Project Manager at MTU’s Innovation & Enterprise Office said:
“MTU’s Innovation Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain valuable experience working alongside high-powered companies to tackle real work problems using research and innovation. Ensuring our students are workplace ready is a key aspect of MTU’s ambitions, and having students working in multi-disciplinary teams to solve such a wide variety of challenges is great preparation for them to enter a dynamic workforce.”
For further information on innovation and enterprise at MTU, see www.mtu.ie