From Dublin to Abu Dhabi – new heights for the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp

March 2nd 2015

BT Ireland’s sixth annual business mentoring and skills camp begins today at NovaUCD

The BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp 2015 begins today at University College Dublin (UCD).  Now in its sixth year, this four-day mentoring and skills camp helps to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will show them how a creative idea can be transformed into a viable business proposition.

Twenty nine students who competed in the 51st BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January 2015 were selected from over 1,200 entrants to participate in the BT Business Bootcamp. The students span 16 counties and 21 schools across the Republic of Ireland, with 14 girls and 15 boys taking part this week.

This year, for the first time, the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp will be replicated in two additional territories, bringing the programme as far as the United Arab Emirates. BT, who created the hugely successful programme six years ago, will partner with the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in Abu Dhabi to host the first international BT Business Bootcamp in April. Closer to home, Queens University Belfast will host the first Northern Ireland BT Business Bootcamp later in the year.

Shay Walsh, managing director, Business, BT Ireland, said, “BT is renowned as a global leader for innovation, investing €685 million in research and development annually and employing 10,000 scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists around the world. Their talent and commercially focused skills are what helps drive our business.  With the BT Business Bootcamp we wanted to help students bridge that gap between education and business and we’ve seen some fantastic evidence over the years of how we have helped to facilitate this learning.”

He continued, “This year, we’re very proud to be bringing our Bootcamp programme to other regions for the first time, allowing us to reach more students with the help of our university partners and our colleagues in Abu Dhabi and Belfast. I’m looking forward to seeing how the programme is adopted in these cities and to meeting our first group of talented individuals this week in Dublin.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “University College Dublin is delighted to continue working in partnership with BT Ireland by hosting and supporting the delivery of the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp 2015 at NovaUCD.  This programme will enable the participating students, from across Ireland, to develop their entrepreneurial thinking which will assist them in becoming the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

She added, “The expansion of the programme internationally, with the involvement of UCD staff from NovaUCD, is an exciting development and one that aligns very well with UCD’s global engagement vision. We look forward to meeting and working with the students in UAE in April and hope to create new collaborative opportunities in the region working with BT.”

Each group will be mentored by a senior BT professional and will enjoy inspiration from key speakers including:

  1. Professor Orla Feely - vice president for research, innovation and impact , UCD
  2. Daniel Hobbs & James Eggers – entrepreneurs and past participants of BT Business Bootcamp
  3. Rhona Togher, former BTYSTE category award winner and CEO, Restored Hearing
  4. Mary Lou Nolan, commercial director, Intellectual Ventures
  5. Jonathan McCrea – Award winning TV and radio broadcaster

Students taking part in the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp will be tasked with developing an outline business approach to commercialise a specific award winning project from this year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Each team will work with their dedicated BT business mentor who will coach them to develop their business plans and presentation skills.

This year’s projects include:

  1. The Homeless wrap: A lightweight, waterproof, heat retaining, portable cover suitable for homeless, camping and disaster relief situations.
  2. An Tionchar (The impact hurling boot): A water leak detection system
  3. Using Twitter sentiment analysis to determine the happiest county
  4. Brap: Boxer's handwrap, preventing wrist injury in boxing
  5. Not "mush-room" for turf anymore: Creation a burnable fuel out of spent mushroom compost.
  6. An aid for the rehabilitation of clenched fist in Multiple Sclerosis


The Bootcamp will culminate on Thursday 5th March, 2015 when the teams will present their business plans to a judging panel comprised of academics and senior business professionals.