The inaugural Dr Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship was awarded to first year Business student Oscar Bourke at a hackathon event in DCU Business School on Thursday, 30th March. The scholarship was created thanks to a generous philanthropic donation from The Liffey Trust and was presented by the Trust’s founder, Dr Seámus McDermott. Oscar, who has founded two businesses, was chosen from almost 700 applicants for the scholarship, which is worth €9,000 over the course of his studies.
The Liffey Trust was founded in 1984 to help potential entrepreneurs and community groups to establish themselves in Ireland. Over the past 30 years, the Trust has helped to build over 200 businesses, creating over 1,000 jobs. Continuing this support of entrepreneurship in Ireland, the Dr Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship was created to promote the concepts of job creation, entrepreneurial development and education for life in the minds of undergraduate students.
The award was presented during the DCU “Hack4Change” event, which saw over 700 students working in teams to create innovative solutions to social problems based around the theme of the Circular Economy. The event, which is part of the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) module, included industry speakers and mentors, prizes, and the presentation of the Dr Séamus McDermott Scholarship.
Speaking on the award, scholarship recipient Oscar Bourke said:
“This is a lovely opportunity. There were five of us on the shortlist and I didn’t think I’d find out until today, but I was delighted to hear last week that I won. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the money from the scholarship, but it’s great to know I have it to invest in my next big idea.”
Speaking on the scholarship selection process, Catherine Faherty, Assistant Professor in Enterprise with DCU Business School, said:
“Oscar is a worthy recipient of the 2022/23 Dr Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship from The Liffey Trust. The selection process was very competitive,with almost 700 students, but Oscar’s entrepreneurial initiative and ideas stood out to the judges.”
Speaking at the event, Liffey Trust Founder and Director General, Dr Séamus McDermott said:
“At the Liffey Trust, we started the entrepreneurial scholarships for educational purposes, but we want to reward students for work outside conventional education. For the scholarship, we ask students to tell us what they’ve done besides their Leaving Certificate, and Oscar has set up two businesses already. There’s so much more to education beyond exams, and more to college than lectures. Everyone here can learn from each other and help each other, the social aspect of college can’t be neglected.”
Liffey Trust Chairman Aidan Corless welcomed Oscar as the first scholar from DCU:
“Oscar can now connect with our other scholars from Trinity, UCD, University of Galway and soon to be UCC through our Enterprise Centre in the Liffey Trust offices. Oscar has already shown a talent in entrepreneurship so we look forward to hearing from him as he progresses.”