Postgraduate Courses in Entrepreneurship

By Anne Sexton - Last update


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Can you teach someone to be an entrepreneur? Irish third-level institutions seem to think so. Colleges increasingly offer courses in entrepreneurship. In addition, many offer start-up workshops and summer programmes for students seeking to start their own companies.

Whether or not students go on to start their own businesses, the skills associated with entrepreneurship, such as problem-solving and creativity are in demand among employers.

Irish start-up success

Irish students have founded start-ups that have gone on to be huge successes. Examples include the property website Daft.ie and FoodCloud.

Every college wants to hothouse the next success story. As a result, many compete with each other to offer the most courses on entrepreneurship, as well as on-campus business incubators and supports. It seems to be paying off.

Trinity College and UCD are among the top 10 European universities producing entrepreneurs and raising the most investment.

A study carried at DCU found that almost half of students plan to work in a business after leaving college, while almost a third wish to be entrepreneurs or start their own business.

However, lack of financial support is a problem. Third-level institutions rely on donations from companies or alumni to fund start-up accelerators. As a result, smaller institutions can find it difficult to compete with universities attracting donations from companies.

While college start-up incubators can create jobs and benefit the economy, without secure funding their future is uncertain.

Start-up support at colleges

A number of different third-level institutions have supports and accelerators for student start-ups. Here are just a few examples. DCU’s UStart is a part-time summer programme for students. UStart offers business development funding, mentoring and office space. In a similar vein, Trinity College Dublin’s LaunchBox is a three-month summer accelerator for student start-ups.

UCD’s Innovation Academy, UCD runs an annual Start-up Stars contest. This is for UCD students across all disciplines who have an idea for a business.

Both NUI Galway and Trinity offer LaunchPad. This is a year’s support and mentoring for students considering starting a business. UCC’s Ignite offers workshops, mentorship, funding and office accommodation to 10 start-ups per year. It is open to recent graduates from all third-level institutions.


Anne Sexton

Head in the cloud: NUI Galway’s MSc in Cloud Computing Research
Learning a second language will give you a competitive edge


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