PhD students from Maynooth and TUS recognised at international entrepreneurship awards in Leipzig

In June, students from MaynoothWorks TTSI consortium were chosen to represent the University at the Born Global Start-up Festival, a satellite event of Machn Innovation Festival in Leipzig, Germany. “Machn” translates into English as “Doin’ ”, of taking action: the festival caters for “doers” from tech startups, general businesses and the arts. More than 2,000 attendees and 125 speakers enjoyed a range of parallel sessions, workshops and exhibitions, in a post-industrial red brick complex which provided a perfect backdrop to the mostly open-air festival, which was ideal for international networking.

Massimiliano Zanotto and Michael Whitford, PhD students from TUS and Maynooth University respectively, were chosen to attend after completing MaynoothWorks’ Graduate Skills Training (GST) programme in innovation and entrepreneurship run throughout March 2023. They worked with an innovative start-up from Kildare, EVHACS, who are developing high efficiency electric vehicle charging infrastructure. During their GST programme, Massimiliano, Michael and others helped to generate market insights and business intelligence for EVHACS’ development, culminating in a pitch day judged by investors from across the region. Their winning proposal was the basis for their Born Global video entry, which can be seen amongst its international competition on the ARQUS website.

The Maynooth team placed second overall, which was a significant achievement given that Maynooth only joined the consortium in January 2023. More importantly, the experience has ignited the students’ interest in innovation: Michael has since developed his own AI start-up, Sortable, which is being advised by MaynoothWorks, while Massimiliano’s research into social entrepreneurship and innovation has hugely benefitted from first-hand experience of the process.

Finalists at the ARQUS Young Innovator awards posing with two of the organising staff, next to an ARQUS banner
The ARQUS logo; subheading "Research & Innovation"