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University Upstarts Weekend Challenge

University Upstarts Weekend Challenge


Friday 12th of November - Sunday 14th of November

Active Learning Lab, School of Computer Science and Informatics UCD


You’re enthusiastic, smart, creative, brimming with ideas and passion. You want to succeed. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to take on a challenge which might just be the first step on the path to your success? Are you able for the University Upstarts Weekend Challenge?

What is it?

The University Upstarts Weekend Challenge is a weekend-long event focused on building cool mobile and/or web applications. There will be lots of different folks there – histrionic hackers, gregarious geeks, machiavellian marketing people, gifted graphics design guys, bodacious business analysts and scheming strategists – a potent mix indeed!

The weekend kicks off with the pitches - your opportunity to sell your vision to everyone else, with a view to convincing some of them to work towards it with you; these take place on Friday eve. After the pitches, there is time for everyone to discuss the ideas, figure out what they would like to work on and where they could make a contribution. Teams are formed by the end of Friday. Saturday and Sunday involves rolling up the sleeves and getting down to work - the teams focus on building the system and developing a commercial case for it. The weekend culminates in the final pitches on Sunday evening in which each team pitches their idea to an adjudication panel. The panel evaluates the teams based on both the story (including, importantly, the commercial aspects of the story!) and what functionality the team can demonstrate. The adjudication panel then picks the winning team.

Who is it for?

The weekend is open to undergrad and postgrad students, with specific relevance to enthusiastic students in the following areas:

  • software development/engineering
  • business generally, but strategy, competitive analysis and marketing being the most relevant skills
  • graphics designers
  • jack of all trades who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get busy with making commercial web/mobile apps

What's in it for you?

The weekend is a great opportunity to learn the diverse range of skills involved in the earliest stage of forming a web/mobile startup - you have to devise an idea, make it real by building a prototype, convince others that it is a good thing to do and try to make a commercial case around it. For each of the groups identified above, you'll learn complementary skills: for business students, it's an opportunity to understand what's involved in building web and mobile applications; for software students, it's an opportunity to understand both business and graphics design; and for graphics students, it's an opportunity to understand the business of web/mobile applications and the stuff under the hood.

As well as learning, the weekend promises to be great fun - the people who turn up to these types of event are, generally, proactive, positive people.

There is also the possibility that your project could be the genesis of a new startup!

How do I get involved?


You can purchase a ticket here.

The ticket price of €25 covers entry to the event and food for the weekend (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner). From our experience running these events, we have learnt that catering is very important - if everyone eats together, they get to know each other; also if catering is provided, it means more time building, less time walking around looking for food!


More information

There is a blog which contains updates relating to the event here.

Further information can be obtained by emailing Sean Murphy here.


University Upstarts logo crafted by the very cool Ben Arent - licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.