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The inaugural Inspire Fest at SETU has been deemed a ‘success’ by its organisers at GROWTHhub after its diverse array of keynote speakers and workshops attracted hundreds of students across our Waterford campus.

The aim of Inspire Fest is for students to take a break from their typical academic day and experience the energy and inspiration of GROWTHhub thanks to a series of entrepreneurship events.  

SETU alumni Tammy Darcy, CEO and founder of the Shona Project, opened the festival with a keynote speech where she shared her journey in becoming a social entrepreneur while sharing insights into potential future directions for the Shona Project.  

Following Tammy’s talk, it was straight into the very first Opportunity Recognition Workshop. This workshop provided an unusual context for brainstorming solutions around business opportunities with llamas! Meanwhile, in the main atrium, a pop-up market appeared where local craft entrepreneurs showcased their products to the local SETU community.

Accompanied by music from Andrew Ryan and Oisin O’Neill, students also enjoyed taster LEGO® challenges, which attracted a sizable crowd.


Up next was Festivolve, where students were encouraged to use their imaginations along with a little help from artificial intelligence (AI) to shape the future of festival-going experiences in Ireland. This workshop was a hive of creativity, fun and innovation where students came up with innovative festival-related ideas. The workshop exposed them to the benefits of AI when prototyping. 

An array of food trucks fueled everyone for the remaining events of the evening which included a Fireside chat with Seamus Kilgannon and our Cooking up an Entrepreneur workshop.

Seamus Kilgannon, founder and CEO of Schivo Medical / workLAB shared his journey from student to successful entrepreneur. Explaining that being an entrepreneur wasn’t part of a grand plan when starting, Seamus said that gaining valuable work experience helped him recognise his next step needed to be entrepreneurship, striking a chord with students. "It’s all about responsibility”, he noted.


"Responsibility to your employees, investors and all involved that you would do as good a job as you can is crucial." Seamus also provided great insights into failure, "Just because you have done something right once does not mean it's guaranteed to be a success the next time", suggesting that failure teaches you something, and those lessons stay with you. 

The day ended with students cooking up entrepreneurs. This workshop was enjoyed by all using LEGO® Serious Play® where students built their image of an entrepreneur and compared it with others to reveal a real diversity of views related to the term.