strive Wins NovaUCD’s 2022 Student Enterprise Competition

27th June 2022

Posted In: Be In The Frame

NovaUCD recently announced strive, an emerging HR start-up, as the overall winner of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition and a €5,000 cash prize.

Students and graduates are unsure of what internships or jobs offers they want to accept during or after college and end up accepting roles that they are not excited or passionate about. In addition, employers are struggling to increase their brand visibility to source ‘the right fit’ and improve retention rates.

To address these issues, strive is developing an online platform to match students and recent graduates to job opportunities by providing an optimal fit between the individual and the employer using a machine learning algorithm and an intuitive user experience.

strive aims to focus on providing higher quality information about career opportunities, transparency, and data driven insights to empower students to find careers they are truly passionate about and to enable employers to improve retention rates and hire better suited candidates for their organisation.

The members of the strive team are, Saoirse Kelders, who has just completed her studies in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, Raena McElwee, who has just completed her studies in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics along with Yevhenii Mormul and Aness Al Qawlaq, both undergraduate students in the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Sean Hughes, a graduate of Global Commerce at NUI Galway.

Aness Al Qawlaq said, “We are delighted to have been declared the overall winner of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, especially as the standard of this year’s competition was very high, with many fantastic early-stage student start-ups taking part.”

Saoirse Kelders added,

“strive’s goal is to be the world’s first transparency-based recruitment platform, providing equal visibility to start-ups, SMEs, social enterprises, and multinational corporations and to encourage students and graduates to think bigger about the first step in their careers, to be bold, and spark curiosity and excitement for the future.”

Sean Quinn added, “Our next step includes applying for an Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme and seeking support from a Local Enterprise Office to enable strive to implement user acquisition strategies, hire some additional team members and develop and roll out of the strive website and app.”

The NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is an intensive 4-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs. The programme now in its 8th year, is run by NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of the competition is to assist the participating students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

Ten (10) early-stage student ventures and 24 participants took part in year’s competition. Over 60 early-stage ventures and nearly 150 students have now completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition over the last 8 years.

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, said, “It was fantastic that after two years of being virtual this year’s 4-week competition took place in-person enabling the participating students to come together at NovaUCD to refine their start-up ideas. We now hope in the months ahead to see many of these early-stage student ventures move forward and develop further and in due course successfully launch on the market. I would especially like to congratulate the strive team, the overall winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.”

strive was declared overall winner of the competition following final pitches to an external judging panel. Two other participating ventures, Trust Homes and, were announced as second and third place winners and receive €3,000 and €2,000 cash prizes respectively.

Trust Homes aims to provide a transparent, reliable, and secure housing platform for both tenants and landlords to protect them from scams. Trust Homes removes biases, stress and anxiety in the house hunting process. With user-friendly features and credibility, the platform promotes inclusiveness and provides a fair system for both landlord and tenants to find the right home and right tenant.

The members of the Trust Homes team are, Thejesvi Bhagavath Kumar and Reshma Shetty, postgraduate students in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. empowers communities of advocates to deliver meaningful action on climate change using an ecosystem of products, services and resources to aid them on their sustainability journey. The ELTC (Every Little Thing Counts) platform addresses the reasons why people cannot or do not act. It enables people to implement their own personal actions, alleviating their eco-anxiety while tackling climate change meaningfully.

Damien Mulligan left his corporate role of 15+ years’ experience leading customer experience organisations and programmes in the tech industry to launch He has recently completed a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership in the UCD Innovation Academy.

The 7 other early-stage ventures taking part in this year’s competition each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

The members of the judging panel were, Michelle O’Grady, Senior Development Advisor, Fintech, Financial and Business Services, Enterprise Ireland; Weili Wang, Investment Associate, Atlantic Bridge; Orla Reynolds, New Frontiers Programme Manager, IADT and Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD (Chair).

The 4-week mentoring programme, which used the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas approach, included a series of online structured workshops and interactive workshops led by Raomal Perera and Rohan Perera of Lean Disruptor.

The sponsors of the 2022 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition are, AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.