Recently our student blogger Ciara Walsh interviewed Conor Bolger Vice President of Trinity Entrepreneurial Society. The Trinity Entrepreneurial Society is focused on helping students with business ideas, and on encouraging entrepreneurship among the student body and particularly among our members. We are not just an entrepreneurial society, however, and we concentrate heavily on helping students in all areas of business- with networking evenings, internship seminars, and the TES Dragons’ Den Competition
- Tell us a bit about what TES does and why I got involved?
TES stands for the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society. In fact, it is the largest student run society in Ireland that is uniquely focused on entrepreneurship, which is a fantastic position to be in! The society is there to promote entrepreneurship in the college. We host inspirational speakers, organise workshops, showcase startups through our Startup Fair and run an incubator as well as competitions such as the Dragons’ Den.
I got involved through StudyNet, a startup that myself Sean Murphy and Rory Hughes founded. We got to the international semi-finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and won Junior Trinity Entrepreneurs of the Year through TES. I only went to the AGM to see who won the prize, ended up winning and then got involved as Membership & Freshers’ Officer… It seemed to make sense being a Fresher myself. This year I was the Vice-President and I definitely haven’t looked back!
Above: Conor Bolger (Vice-President of Trinity Entrepreneurial Society)
- Who are the most notable speakers you have had in over the last few years
Ray Nolan – Founder of Hostelworld
Jack Dorsey – Founder of Twitter
Paddy Cosgrave – Founder of Web Summit
Niamh Bushnell – Dublin Commissioner for Startups
Niall McGarry – Founder of Joe.ie and Her.ie
John O’Farrell – Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
…. And loads of other really impressive entrepreneurs, marketers, legal specialists and venture capitalists
Above: Jerry Manock Industrial Designer at Manock Comprehensive Design) & Paul Henninge (Industrial Designer at Numia Medical Technology)
- How does someone become involved in TES
You can sign up at any time by dropping us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also sign up during Freshers Week or at any of our events
To get involved, just drop us an email. We are always looking for passionate students to help out. We have a place for everyone regardless of degree or year, whether it be helping with bringing in sponsorship, event management, graphic design, marketing or even greeting our speakers!
- On a day to day basis what activities does TES involve itself in
On a day to day basis, we support the students involved in their own startups through our mentor network and sponsors. We also connect students across disciplines where possible so that techies looking for a business partner can find one and vice versa. We are always reaching out to entrepreneurs and organizing the next big event. The schedule is busy but you learn a ton of practical skills, especially time management!
- Is your membership solely for business students
Absolutely not!! In fact, the number of business students joining over the past two years has remained pretty stable. Practically, all the growth in our membership is coming from the Hamilton end of campus (i.e. Engineering, Computer Science, Maths etc.) This is brilliant to see because entrepreneurship is strictly not just for business students. Any sort of innovation regardless of its origin can be turned into a business with the right execution and all startups need that cross-disciplinary collaboration for success. If you’re still in doubt, have a look at the degrees of all the top entrepreneurs globally. You’ll probably find that a lot of them didn’t study business and that a lot of them actually dropped out (don’t do this!) so don’t let your course hold you back.
- Do you feel like there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and business students to learn and be involved in projects within trinity?
Trinity was recently rated as the top European University for producing entrepreneurs. This is something to be immensely proud of. There are so many talented, innovative and hard-working students in this college who are passionate about generating value for other people. The resources for student entrepreneurs are also improving. In the last year we started the TES incubator, which provides a group of student startups funding and mentorship for their businesses. There is also Launchpad, which provides mentorship for students and Launchbox which is a summer incubator continuing on in the same vain as the TES incubator. Also, don’t forget, that you are best situated to start a business as a student – free WiFi, desk space, support networks all around you and the increased chance of being published in the media because you’re a “student entrepreneur”. Keep an eye out on Eventbrite and Facebook for entrepreneurship related events in college and Dublin because it is at these that you will find a support network and mentorship.
- What’s been your favourite part of working with the TES?
Being part of the TES committee gives you the incredible opportunity to work alongside some inspiring students, which has been great fun and a fantastic learning experience. We have also organized some amazing events but getting over 400 students to the inaugural Trinity Startup Fair this year has definitely been one of my highlights.
- What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
There are times where you have a load of assignments due alongside a heavy workload with TES. This was the case with the Dragons’ Den this year. I MC’ed the event but only got ten minutes to prep for it (don’t do this! As they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail). It went alright in the end but would have been far better to be more prepared. Thankfully, all these experiences stand true to you in the long run and you learn from the mistakes you make along the way.
Above: TES Dragons’ Den
- If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to get involved. If you’re particularly interested in one particular society, why not send them an email in first year and get involved instead of waiting till the AGM at the end of the year? Committees are always delighted to see freshers getting involved. Also, of course, don’t join every single society in Front Square – I was absolutely skint after Freshers’ Week.