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My first month at Blackstone Launchpad, UCC

My name is Joanne O’Leary and I am currently completing an MSc in Management and Marketing in UCC. I am undertaking placement as part of this transition course and I was successful in my application for Intern in Blackstone Launchpad. Blackstone Launchpad is a resource for learning, coaching and advice for start-up businesses as well as a tool for developing soft skills.

I began my placement in the Creative Zone on Friday, 23rd March 2018. I had the pleasure of taking part in a workshop entitled ‘Developing your Commercial DNA’ by Maria Coakley. I cannot explain in words how impressed I was by this workshop. I am not exaggerating when I say that I learned more in this workshop than I did in one semester of college!

This event helped to develop my understanding of this workplace. It is an environment full of creativity, new ideas, openness and exploration. Everyone is passionate about Entrepreneurship and developing themselves further as they leave the comfort blanket that is college and break out into the real world.

When I arrived into work the following Monday morning, Peter and Alexis talked me through all the daily admin tasks, projects for the summer and much more. There was certainly a substantial amount of work to be done, but I was up for the challenge. One such challenge was the printer.

I personally, have never had much luck with printers and it’s safe to say that my luck didn’t change here! During this first month in Blackstone Launchpad, it would often take several attempts by many co-workers to help me with this monster of a machine. Many uninviting noises, jammed sheets of paper and notifications entitling ‘out of ink’ would have me shaking in my pointy boots. Printers are terrifying things when they want to be.

Another challenge I faced in my first month of Blackstone Launchpad was the design platform known as ‘canva’. I studied many complex modules in my masters but nothing could have prepared me for this! Who knew that this so called user friendly platform for making everything from certificates to social media posts would later become my worst enemy. Thankfully I have now somewhat mastered the art of this design platform.

My job title in Blackstone Launchpad was ‘Postgraduate Intern’. However, in the first month alone, I had managed to amass several titles. These included travel agent, accountant, social media manager and negotiator to name a few! But throughout each of these ‘roles’, I developed my commercial skills and even made some new contacts and friends along the way.

On my first day at Blackstone Launchpad, I was given some key advice by both Peter and Alexis. They told me that no two days would ever be the same. Well, they weren’t wrong! From calling The Embassy of Bahrain to figuring out the photocopier, there would always be another challenge to overcome in The Creative Zone.

So, after one month, I am pretty confident to report that I am now self-taught on excel and have a much better understanding of ‘canva’ than I did on day one! The printing situation is still an ongoing process but I have been assured that it gets easier! I look forward to working this dynamic, leading and super friendly team throughout the summer.


Our Participants’ Experience with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC 

To conclude the academic year 2017/18 we have comprised testimonials from participants about their experience with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC this year. Our participants include Researchers, Students and many Entrepreneurs, in all fields. It was a pleasure working with and providing value to so many people across the UCC campus so make sure to have a listen to their personal experiences at: https://youtu.be/5zMQmyatEgs


Developing your Commercial DNA’ workshop

Friday, 23rd March 2018 saw Maria Coakley take to the Blackstone Launch Pad stage to deliver an outstanding performance on “Developing your commercial DNA”. A Commerce Lecturer and Founder of Coakley Project Services, Maria captured the attention of students and budding entrepreneurs in her interactive and  relaxed style of presenting.


Idea Generation Challenge

The Business Idea Generation Challenge took place in the creative zone on Friday the 29th of September with a group of 32 students from UCC. It was a 12 hour intensive day where we were tasked with creating solutions around two given themes, Law technology and Sustainability.