Business news

Students Secure Seed Funding ~2024-03-28~

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South Eastern Regional College (SERC)

28th Mar 2024

Two students, from South Eastern Regional College (SERC), have secured funding to develop an anti-spike device to keep young people safe when out socialising.

The two 17-year-olds, Matthew Brennan (Annacloy) and Preston Galbraith- Kelly (Downpatrick), from the Level 3 Mechatronic Engineering course at Downpatrick Campus, have secured £1,000 from the SEED 2030 Micro Grants Programme developed by One Young World and Unloc, which provides funding and support for up to 10 enterprising ideas from young people across Northern Ireland each year.

Aware of the growth of incidences of drink spiking – putting alcohol, prescription, or illegal drugs into someone’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, without their knowledge or consent – Matthew and Preston have developed a block attachment device, which can be put onto straws and has built-in testing strips to detect if a drink has been spiked.

The duo, finalist in SERC’s annual Enterprise Challenge for their idea, have also reached the College NI Finals with their enterprise through their commitment to keeping young people safe when out socialising.

Matthew and Preston have been supported at SERC by their Innovation Advisor, Megan Rollins and Kim Godsman, their student company mentor who helped them secure the additional funding that could take their product to market.

Alongside their studies in engineering, the two young men join a cohort of entrepreneurial young people across Northern Ireland who have received the funding boost and will have access to a six-month programme of mentoring from One Young World and Unloc, an initiative designed to support young people with enormous potential but limited social capital.  At the foundation of the funding and support, is the aim to incubate the next generation of entrepreneurs and widen access to change-making.

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