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Rob Laffan (CEO of TippyTalk) Launches Student Entrepreneur Award 2015 and Encourages LIT Students to Enter

Robert Laffan7.jpgThe Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of an ongoing drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students to turn entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. The objective is to encourage third-level students to start their own business as a career option. With a total cash prize fund of €35,000 and expert mentoring, guidance and consultancy worth €30,000 from the blue-chip sponsors, the Awards provide a great platform for ambitious and enterprising third level students to build a viable and commercial business venture.

The 2015 winner Rob Laffan, a student from Limerick Institute of Technology, beat off stiff competition with his project ‘Tippy Talk’, a bespoke, robust touch-screen communication system for non-verbal children with autism. ‘TippyTalk’ allows the child to communicate their desires, feelings and needs to their parents through the transfer of pictures to text messages. ‘TippyTalk’ can also be adapted to cover other areas of non-verbal disabilities.

Rob Studied Industrial Automation & Robotic Systems at LIT. Approximately this time last year he was only considering entering this competition. Encouraged by members of staff in the Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and with support from the LIT Enterprise Development team at the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre, he took that step in to the unknown. Near a year later, Rob has now completed the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers programme hosted at the Hartnett Centre on campus at LIT securing funding through that programme to help support the venture development. He has just secured a business development partner, currently seeking further investment and preparing for launch of Tippy Talk in June. Rob said “I would love to see the competition won by an LIT student again…especially since we are hosting it this year…it has never been won by the same college for 2 consecutive years… ”

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To enter the Awards, students are requested to submit a short video that captures their business idea and shows it’s commercial and export potential. If shortlisted, students will need to develop a business plan that shows the judges how viable and well researched the project is. A dedicated website, Facebook page, twitter account and pod casts support the promotion of the Awards and the subsequent winners. Executives from Enterprise Ireland will present details of the competition to all colleges and institutions between now and the closing date for the competition, 17 March 2016. www.studententrepreneurawards.com.

Industrial Automation and Robotic Systems Facebook/Twitter Links
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Dept of Electrical & Electronic Engineering Facebook/Twitter Links
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Rob Laffan (CEO of TippyTalk) Launches Student Entrepreneur Award 2016

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Rob Laffan Video entry 2015

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Tippy Talk (Robert Laffan) - Wins €10,000 overall prize in Student Entrepreneur Award 2015

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