Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Transform your career with UCD

This Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise is awarded by University College Dublin and will enable you to explore and develop your career in new directions, potentially as an entrepreneur at the head of a new venture, or someone who is self-employed, or perhaps you simply want to develop the creative and entrepreneurial mindset that is increasingly sought by today’s employers.

This 18 week part-time course (2 full days a week) is offered in multiple locations around Ireland and is free for eligible job seekers via the Higher Education Authority Springboard Plus initiative.

“After five months looking for jobs I started getting called to interviews when I added that I was undertaking the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Postgraduate Certificate to my CV. I got 4 job offers in one week, and 3 employers specifically said that studying at The Innovation Academy made me a stand out candidate.” – Alannah Goggins, Graduate of the Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise

Register your interest for courses starting in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Wexford, the South East and the Midlands between January and April 2016.

Register your interest

Register your interest for the Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise!

Our outcomes 2013-14:

Participants who find or create employment
Graduation rate

About this course

(click each heading in the box below to learn more)

  • Individuals seeking to develop transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers across all industries and sectors
  • It is also suitable for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking support to develop and launch their own new venture
  • This course is for individuals from with a minimum of a an honours degree (NFQ Level 8) in any academic discipline or
  • In the absence of a degree we recognise prior learning for prospective students with five or more years of relevant experience (e.g. managing projects, managing teams, running a business or social enterprise) in any sector.
  • As this course is run in partnership with the Higher Education Authority Springboard Plus initiative, it is fully funded for eligible job seekers. To view the eligibility criteria for free fees, please see
This course builds on international best practice and combines it with real-world insights from a highly experienced team of practitioner educators. It is designed to equip participants with the opportunity to develop new skills or enhance existing skills that are in high demand by employers across all industries and sectors. These skills include

  • the ability to create new ideas to meet real needs,
  • the ability to conceive, validate, test, pitch and implement an idea and
  • the ability to work effectively in a team.

Participants leave with the skills and network to enhance their career prospects, develop a new business or social venture or to gain employment.

    • No exams. Learn by doing from a highly experienced team of practitioner educators who have developed and scaled new business or social ventures.
    • The course content builds on international best practice from Stanford D: School, Kaos Pilots, Babson College, University of Oxford in addition to content developed at Innovation Academy, UCD
    • Gain insights from guest speakers from industry
    • Apply your learning through real-life, team-based project challenges.
    • Work on an Innovation Challenge with a host company where you will apply a design based problem solving process to a real challenge facing that organisation.
    • Assessment is based on in-class participation and project work. Participants are also required to submit short personal learning reflections at the end of each module.

How it works

This programme offers an intense learning experience that prepares adult students for their next major career leap.

You will join a class of 30 or so students of all ages and backgrounds in a cross-disciplinary, multi-national and vibrant community. Teaching staff at the Academy, are practitioners and thinkers, including leading entrepreneurs from business and social sectors as well as academics. Read about our team>

Over 18 weeks you will work on a series of challenges and projects – large and small, addressing real-world problems and opportunities, while learning to apply creative and entrepreneurial tools including Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas and Customer Discovery. You will design and test new ideas and meet experienced entrepreneurs and leaders from all sectors to hear their advice and insights.

Have any questions you would like to ask before applying? See FAQ here >

You do not need to have an idea for a new business or venture to apply for this course.

Course description 

  • Idea generation
  • Creative thinking
  • See example activity >
  • Design Thinking
  • Team dynamics
  • Innovation sprint with a client

  • Planning for execution
  • Strategy for early stage growth
  • Validation and customer discovery
  • Pitching to win customers/funding
  • Career goals – plan for the next year
  • CV, Interview and Pitching Skills
  •  Mapping the way forward for your idea / product/ venture



Watch our Graduates talk about their experience of this course:





What are graduates of the course doing now?

Watch Ronan Cunningham’s interview with EuroNews about his successful venture Footgolf Ireland and watch Keith Moore accept the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Elevator Award for, an initiative he developed while on the course.

Listen to Maryrose Simpson’s interview following her win at the IBYE Laois Awards

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this course under the HEA Springboard+ Programme, you must have a previous history of employment, be currently unemployed, and satisfy the following criteria:Be actively seeking employment; and
Be in receipt of one of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection: Jobseekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, One Parent Family, Disability Allowance, Qualified Adults of Working Age, Carers Allowance, Farm Assist/Fish Assist, Widow(er)s Contributory or Non-contributory Pension, Blind Pension, Deserted Wives Allowance.
(note) Or be signing for social insurance contribution credits.
Or be previously self-employed.In addition, people participating in the Community Employment Scheme; the Rural Social Scheme; Tús; JobBridge or in receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or the Short Term Enterprise Allowance may apply for Springboard and, with the approval of a Department of Social Protection Case Officer, take up a Springboard course.Note for recent graduates, to participate in a NFQ Level 9 (Post Graduate) course, a period of at least one year must have elapsed since completing a full time undergraduate degree course leading to a major award at level 8 on the NFQ.For more information on eligibility for free admission to this course under the Springboard Programme see the Springboard+ website >

Required application materials

  • CV 
  • Details of any previous Springboard study, if applicable 
  • Degree or higher academic qualification, or equivalent experience
  • (If you were a student at any time at UCD you should provide your student number too)

“It opened my eyes to what being an entrepreneur really is”Dr Elaine Kenny
Graduate of this course, now CEO and founder of Elda Biotech

Talk to Our Team

Get in touch

If you’ve had problems applying for a place, you have questions about the modules that are not in the FAQ (see FAQ here)or are interested in collaborating with the Academy, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

David NevinAdult learning. Springboard course, fully funded UCD entrepreneurship & innovation Postgraduate Certificate