Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway Announced Expansion of Student Entrepreneur in Residence Programme

From left, Neil Ferguson, Programme Manager, Blackstone LaunchPad; Conor Lynch, NUI Galway Student; Mike Wiebolt, Blackstone New York; and Natalie Walsh, Blackstone LaunchPad, NUI Galway.
May 22 2018 Posted: 09:11 IST
Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway recently announced the expansion of their student Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) programme with Conor Lynch, a third year Mechanical Engineering student taking up a second student Entrepreneur in Residence role in the LaunchPad programme. 
Conor set up his business at 11 years old, woodturning from his home in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. He is largely self-taught, having learned many of the techniques for woodturning from magazines and YouTube, but he has also had some exposure to some of the best woodturners in Ireland. He has work in private collections in America, Australia, France and Mexico and one of his pieces was presented to President Mary McAleese in 2011. He sells his craft pieces in local stores and online.
In 2014, Conor was featured on RTÉs ‘Junior Dragons Den’, where he pitched his business to five of Ireland’s most successful businessmen and women. He secured the €2,000 bursary and mentoring from Dragon Peter Casey. Also in 2014, he was featured on RTÉs Nationwide while exhibiting at the National Crafts and Design Fair (now known as Crafted) at the RDS in Dublin.
Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to expand our student EIR programme to include Conor, he is a fantastic role model for other students on campus who are interested in developing their business idea and has a wealth of personal experiences and practical advice to support his fellow students.  Being a third year student he also fully understands the challenges faced in terms of managing a student workload and getting a business up and running. Conor has been supported by our programme since 2015 and it has been amazing to see his professional and more importantly, his personal development grow so much over these few years.”
Conor Lynch said: “I am so thrilled to be part of the student EIR programme at Blackstone LaunchPad. The opportunity will give me more time to focus on what I really enjoy, which is showing other people that entrepreneurship is a viable career path for young people. I really like meeting with other entrepreneurs to come up with ideas, and I am looking forward to meeting students on campus.”
Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway recently hosted Mike Wiebolt from Blackstone New York as part of a new mentorship and role modelling initiative by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Mike worked with students across the NUI Galway campus to mentor and coach them and their business ideas. In addition to being a Managing Director with Blackstone, Mike is a seriale who owns multiple hardware businesses across the US, and mentored Conor as part of his visit.
Conor added: “Meeting Mike was really positive, he has a wealth of experience and advice in terms of developing my business and I learned a great deal about his own business background. His advice was to really focus my efforts and harness any opportunities that come my way, such as working with the LaunchPad programme. He offered some insights into new ideas that I could explore and I am excited to focus in on these over the coming months, so watch this space.”
As the academic year winds down at NUI Galway, Blackstone LaunchPad are planning their campus programme for 2018/2019, Natalie Walsh added: “Next year will be our biggest year on campus. We will continue to grow our entrepreneurial community in partnership with our Colleges and Schools, launch our #madeinnuigalway initiative which is a showcase dedicated to displaying the products and services of NUI Galway’s talented entrepreneurs, and build on the successes of our 2018 initiatives including our female entrepreneurship programme InnovateHER and MIDAS (Medtech Innovation design and Start Up) programme.”
To view Conor’s products visit

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