Enterprise Ireland is inviting students from third level institutions with an innovative business idea to apply to this year's 40th Student Entrepreneur Awards.

Ten finalists will be selected to compete for several awards such as the Cruickshank Intellectual Property High Achieving Merit Award, the Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award and the Local Enterprise Office ICT Award.

The overall winner will share in a €35,000 prize fund and receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their concept.

The award winners will also receive expert advice and mentoring support from Enterprise Ireland and the programme sponsors to help them turn their ideas into a commercial reality.

UCC student Mark O’Sullivan was the 2020 Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year for his medical device Neurobell for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborn babies.

Other 2020 award winners included RCSI student Siobhan Ryan for PressiDect, a peri-operative pressure detection system designed for use on a theatre table, and CIT student Simon Dring who developed the TraumAlert SmartGuard to improve concussion awareness and player safety at all levels.

Brothers Jack and Nick Cotter from UCC and LIT also received an award for a lamb-handling system called The Cotter Crate which helps to prevent back injury for Irish sheep farmers.

Richard Murphy, Manager LEO Support, Policy and Co-ordination Unit at Enterprise Ireland, said they are delighted to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Student Entrepreneur Awards.

"On an annual basis, we receive more than 1,000 entries from talented students all over the country.

"It's always enormously exciting to see the incredible work that’s been done in our third level institutes to find solutions to challenges across a range of sectors.

"Combined with entrepreneurial ambition and a focus on achieving success, the Awards recognise the potential of turning these great ideas into profitable businesses of the future," he said.

The closing date for Student Entrepreneur Award entries is 12th March 2021 and the winners will be announced at a ceremony on 11th June 2021.