Queen’s University Student wins £3,000 Engineers in Business Prize in Dragons’ Den Competition
Queen’s University Belfast’s recent Dragons’ Den-style business competition saw £15,000 in prize money shared among three aspiring student entrepreneurs. The virtual final took place live on St Patrick's Day, the culmination of a major student business competition run annually by Queen’s University Students Union. The winning students also receive mentoring and further support to take their business idea to the next level.
This year’s Enterprise SU Dragon’s Den final saw twelve groups and individuals pitch before a panel of business leaders, competing for funding to help develop innovative business ideas. The student finalists were from various courses within Queen’s and had to make it through an initial application and semi-final to face the Dragons. £15,000 worth of support was up for grabs, with former RTE TV Dragon’s Den member Eleanor McEvoy among the judges. Business ideas presented ranged from the equine industry to health and fitness and cybersecurity.
Amongst the winners is Barry Cheevers, an IT undergrad who convinced the Dragons with his proposed network security device, FUZE. Barry has created a business called Effortless Security and FUZE is its first product. FUZE is a network security device that sits between a computer and the rest of the network. It monitors and analyses the traffic coming in and out of the network. Inside the FUZE is a set of rules and the network traffic is constantly being compared to these rules. If at any point the network traffic violates the rules, the FUZE turns off the network connection to the computer. This prohibits any attacker or malware from gaining further access to the network and contains the network breach to only that computer.
The other prize winners are Jonathan Smyth, a Masters student who has developed revolutionary digital measuring technology for the jewellery market and medical student and cancer researcher Daniel Duffy who won backing for his idea for a mobility aid.
Kat Maguire, Enterprise Students Union manager at Queen’s commented. “The Dragon’s Den competition is one of our signature business competition and sees hundreds of applications at the outset. The aim is not only to give students the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the Dragon’s in the final but to avail of mentoring and training during the process. It’s a supportive environment where all our finalists can walk out feeling they got something out of participating."
David Falzani MBE, President of EIBF said, "Barry's innovation is inspired and we wish him great success with the next stage of development. Barry qualifies to enter our Engineers in Business Champion of Champions Competition in October this year - we hope to see him there!"