A&L Goodbody names winner in Bold Ideas contest

John Whelan and Sarah McCarthy
Pictured (l-r): John Whelan and Sarah McCarthy

A&L Goodbody has named University of Limerick student Sarah McCarthy as the winner of its Bold Ideas Student Innovation Award.

Ms McCarthy, a third year Law Plus student, won the competition with her proposal to establish an Irish Fintech Investor Market (IFIM) to connect Irish technology start-up businesses with established foreign financial companies looking to make a low risk investment in Ireland.

Ann Marie Geary, a third year Law and French student at University College Cork, was a runner-up in the national competition.

The competition saw over 1,200 members of the public cast their vote on Facebook for their favourite submission, following which the winner and runners up were selected by a panel of three expert judges.

The judges were Sarah Lennon, legal counsel at Google; Jonathan Newman, senior counsel; and John Whelan, partner and head of A&L Goodbody’s international technology group.

Mr Whelan said: “Bold Ideas is about inspiring creativity and bold thinking among Ireland’s brightest minds and giving them the space to develop their own ideas on how to tackle the issues that Ireland faces today. Sarah’s idea to establish the Irish Fintech Investor Market (IFIM) impressed the judges as an innovative way of tackling future challenges to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”

Presenting her Bold Idea at a prize-giving event in A&L Goodbody’s head office in Dublin, Ms McCarthy said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win this award from A&L Goodbody. My bold idea is that the IFIM would act as an online tool to connect Irish tech start-ups with potential foreign investors. The start-ups and the investors would both be vetted and authorised by the IFIM. The investors can make an informed decision based on profiles of the start-ups and can choose to invest with them either online via Bitcoins or via direct communication.”

Ms McCarthy won €4,000 in cash and an internship in A&L Goodbody’s Dublin office. The firm will also donate to a charity of her choice.

The runners up, Denis Flynn from Griffith College, and Ms Geary from University College Cork, both received iPad minis.

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