This inaugural Digital Business Ideation, which was hosted by Prescient Data Centres and expertly facilitated by Professor Daniel Broby from Ulster University Business School in collaboration with Causeway Connections took place last month and aimed to develop an understanding of and start to improve the digital economy and boost the North Coast’s economy. It also aimed to work with students at Ulster University on the Enterprise Placement Programme, connecting students and business leaders in a unique mentoring scheme.

The event was an opportunity for students who are currently running or starting up their own businesses to actively engage with established local & global business owners to identify issues and come up with digital business solutions to address these.

Students engaged in group activities where they discussed how to effectively problem-solve within a digital world and listened to the feedback that the mentors provided.

The host of the event, Chris Boorman from Prescient said: ‘As the Digital Causeway for our growing Digital Economy we are delighted to facilitate this entrepreneurial event and work closely with our next-door neighbours (Ulster University) and encourage more sustainable ways of working, with Prescient Data Centres operating on 100% renewable energy and Ulster University continuing to develop their sustainability practices’.

Gareth Wilson, co-founder of Causeway Connections spoke about how solutions needed to be ‘action orientated to promote local businesses to a much wider audience.’ He went on to state that, “This ideation provides a great opportunity to meet new people and generate good ideas for the benefit of the local economy.”

The expert mentors included Sir Richard Taylor (Chief software architect ISArc), Jim Campbell (Director at Covernet), Murray Bell (Principal at Bell Architects and co-founder of Causeway Connections) and David Nicholl (CSO Tritium Energy) who also gave an engaging lunchtime presentation on ‘The contribution of EVs in building a Sustainable Society’.

Sir Richard Taylor, who employs 26 staff including Ulster University students, said, “The event was to help bring ideas to support businesses on the North Coast to sell their products and service more efficiently using digital technologies, whilst at the same time to help students establish new enterprises”.

Professor Malachy O’Neill, Director of Regional Engagement at Ulster University agreed saying, ‘This couldn’t get closer with Ulster ethics,’ and that he was e’elighted to see the first event between Prescient and Ulster come about and hoped it would become a regular feature’.

Jackie Smyth, Employability and Enterprise Consultant at Ulster University runs the Enterprise Placement Programme added: ‘This event came together quickly and has allowed student ideas to influence the importance of a digital economy in the region as well as how this new generation of entrepreneurs’ desire to operate, which is fantastic.’

A reflection on the day was provided by Charis Stockley, founder of Tuff Tails NI and current Enterprise Placement student. ‘Today has really helped me understand the importance of the digital business world. I now have a better understanding of digital solutions such as how e-commerce will help me to grow my sustainable dog accessories business,’ she said.

This has been a successful event for the three partners within the Business Ideation scheme and the future is looking bright for what is set to become a regular event, helping to boost the local economy by developing the next generation of business leaders with a Digital Economy mindset.

Prescient Data Centres act as the Digital Causeway helping businesses of all sizes connect to markets across the world wide web, empowering Northern Ireland’s growth in the digital economy and connecting providers of global IT Services, cloud and content delivery solutions. With ultra-low latency networks to North America and mainland Europe, Prescient provide the ideal location for organisations that need the ultimate global connectivity solution paired with reliability, security and energy efficiency.

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