Nick Cotter, CEO and co-founder of Cotter Agritech, an Irish start-up which specialises in targeted, selective treatment systems for sheep, has been named this year’s grand champion of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) and receives a US$40,000 prize to invest in his company.
Following a year-long nomination, application and pitch process Nick was announced as the winner during the finale of a four-part YouTube series mini-series called ‘Start it Up’, which was produced by the awards programme.
Nick Cotter, from Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, has been an entrepreneur from a young age, setting up his first business, Cotter Bros Firewood at age 13. In 2019, he set up a second business, Cotter Organic Lamb, which directly sells the award-winning, 100% grass-fed, organic lamb raised on his home farm in Abbeyfeale, to homeowners and local restaurants.
On being named the 2022 grand champion Nick Cotter said, “It’s much more than I ever thought was possible, becoming global champion. Thank you, GSEA. For my mentor, Tyler Olson, this is for you as well. It’s for all those who know who they are. Each stage of the competition is quite intense, and you hope. It’s an incredible achievement and pure joy for me.”
Earlier this year Nick and his brother Jack, a co-founder of Cotter Agritech, participated in the inaugural AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme dedicated to early-stage AgTech and FoodTech start-ups. At the end of the 12-week programme Cotter Agritech was named winner of the AIB and Yield Lab AgTech Start-up 2022 Award.
Nick is currently enrolled in University College Cork and is a 4th year law and business student.
GSEA is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university and 2022 marks the 16th year that the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) has hosted the awards.
Candidates nominate their businesses through an open application process and compete against their peers worldwide in a series of local and national competitions to qualify for the GSEA Global Finals. For the 2021-2022 competition, 1,093 applications were received from students in 40 countries and six continents. 60 students advance to the global finals, leading to the top six finalists.
The global finals were held in Cape Town, South Africa, where the mini-series was recorded in May. Finalists presented their businesses to two rounds of judges. The final round of judges included: Michael Ross, EO Los Angeles chapter member and Global External Engagement Committee Chair; Roberta Elizondo, GSEA 2021’s grand champion; DJ Tira, record Label Afrotainment founder and platinum-selling DJ.
DJ Tira described Nick Cotter’s business as, “A beautiful business idea that is growing from strength to strength.”
Roberta Elizondo added, “We know that you have what it takes to actually make this world a better one.”
One unique aspect of the judging process in these student awards is the weighting to the individual’s personal motivations and core values, ahead of their actual businesses. 70 percent of scores were calculated based on the entrepreneur him or herself, and whether they have what it takes to endure the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. The other 30 percent is based on the ingenuity and demonstrated success of their business.
Tamarin Morrell, Programme Director for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, explained the significance behind this initiative, “Start it Up has brought the remarkable stories of GSEA competitors to the world at a time when we can all use some optimism for the future. It’s a timely reminder that there are budding entrepreneurs who don’t see unsolvable problems, but opportunities to change the world. I am proud to be part of an organization that recognizes and supports these young and promising change-makers.”
Mateo Bolivar, 22, from Colombia, founder of Contler, an app that improves the experience of hotel customers by allowing guests to make their requests quickly through their mobile devices, was named first runner-up for 2022 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. He was awarded a US$16,000 prize for his business.