New York reception for world finalists

Aíne Conaghan of Ballybofey was one of four Sligo IT students recently honoured at a reception in New York City.

Aíne Conaghan of Ballybofey was one of four Sligo IT students recently honoured at a reception in New York City.

The Consulate General of Ireland in New York hosted the reception at its offices for the Hermes team from IT Sligo who represented Ireland in the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals in New York.

The reception was held in advance of the final award ceremony, which saw the IT Sligo team take home the first prize in the global technology competition. Amongst those in attendance were the Irish Consul General, Noel Kilkenny; Michael Meagher, Microsoft Ireland; senior representatives from the ICT and financial services industry in the US; members of the Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal Associations in New York; IT Sligo alumni; and representatives from Enterprise Ireland in New York.

The guest speaker at the event was one of the leading authorities on entrepreneurship in the USA, Larry Farrell, who references IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre in this new book, The New Entrepreneurial Age.

Head of Innovation at IT Sligo, Niall McEvoy, sad: “Team Hermes from IT Sligo represented IT Sligo, the North West region and Ireland at this prestigious global computing competition and they have done us all enormously proud by taking home the much coveted top prize. This really puts Ireland and IT Sligo centre stage of the software development industry, which is one of the few industries to be enjoying a boom currently.”

“We took this opportunity to meet with key decision in from the ICT and financial services industry and with members of the Irish Diaspora in New York, to promote the North West brand and highlight what we have on offer here. The opportunities for IT Sligo and the region in this industry are huge.”

Team HERMES went on to take first place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Final.

Team

The team - Aíne Conaghan, (Ballybofey, Donegal), James McNamara (Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon), Calum Cawley (Castlebaldwin, Co Sligo), and Matthew Padden (Ballina, Co Mayo) were hosted in the USA by Microsoft. Narrowed from more than 350,000 global registrants, more than 400 students from 70 countries travelled to New York to compete at the Worldwide Finals. The team have won $25,000 (U.S.) and they are now eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support to develop their product.

Their product - a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner – has already attracted significant attention from agencies in the motor and insurance industries.