HR start-up Strive wins NovaUCD student competition

There were 10 early-stage start-ups and 24 participants in this year’s event, which is in its eighth year

A HR start-up that matches students and graduates with jobs has been named the winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.

Strive, which uses machine learning to help match graduates and companies for a better fit, beat nine other enterprises to win the €5,000 cash prize.

The team behind the company is Saoirse Kelders, Raena McElwee, Yevhenii Mormul and Aness Al Qawlaq, all from UCD, and Sean Hughes, a graduate of NUI Galway. The enterprise will focus on providing higher quality information about career opportunities, transparency and data-driven insights to help students to find careers they are passionate about. Employers can use the platform to improve retention rates and hire candidates better suited to their organisation.

“Strive’s goal is to be the world’s first transparency-based recruitment platform, providing equal visibility to start-ups, SMEs, social enterprises and multinational corporations, and to encourage students and graduates to think bigger about the first step in their careers, to be bold and spark curiosity and excitement for the future,” said Ms Kelders.

The company now intends to apply for an Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme and seek support from a Local Enterprise Office to launch the website and app, hire staff and start to build a user base.

There were 10 early-stage start-ups and 24 participants in this year’s competition, which is in its eighth year. The competition is an intensive four-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies. The programme offers a series of workshops to help students refine their ideas.

“It was fantastic that after two years of being virtual this year’s four-week competition took place in person enabling the participating students to come together at NovaUCD to refine their start-up ideas,” said Tom Flanagan, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation. “We now hope in the months ahead to see many of these early-stage student ventures move forward and develop further and in due course successfully launch on the market. I would especially like to congratulate the Strive team, the overall winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.”

Trust Homes, which is tackling scams in the property rental market through a secure platform for both tenants and landlords, was named second, scooping a €3,000 cash prize. in third received €2,000. The platform supports meaningful action on climate change using an ecosystem of products, services and resources to aid advocates on their sustainability journey.

The remaining seven ventures each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.