The graduate who is not wasting any opportunity
Enterprising Louise is helping chefs to reduce what goes into the bin
Louise Barry freely admits that she was "rubbish at IT (information technology) " but, with an eye on starting her own business in this digital age, she felt it had to be part of her degree.
So Louise, of Ashbourne, Co Meath, opted for the four-year B Sc in Enterprise Computing programme at Dublin City University (DCU).
In the event, all the technological know-how she developed proved invaluable when it came to her final-year project.
This keen foodie's and business head, spotted a market opportunity in the lack of waste-management solutions available to food-service providers.
"The restaurant industry has decided to accept food waste as an incurred cost and continue on producing it unintentionally," she says.
According to Louise, while composting, re-routing and recycling food waste are great options for preventing waste from going to landfill, these activities facilitate the problem rather than avoiding it in the first place.
She found her solution in one of those digital age buzz words - analytics. Louise (24)worked in kitchens during her undergraduate years and is aware that chefs often rely on traditional pen and paper to record waste, "but they don't have real-time data on their waste, which would be a big help in reducing it".
Her company - Food Waste Analytics - was born. It provides a system which enables restaurants and any commercial kitchen to see exactly how much food they are wasting on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
As a first stage, Louse has developed an app that can be used in kitchens to log waste as it is being thrown out, and it is already being enthusiastically received, but she is also working on a more advanced system. She is trialling her app in restaurants, big and small, as well as DCU's own kitchens.
Louise - who is developing her business idea as part of the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme - is already picking up honours, with nominations for DCU's President Innovation Awards, Bank of Ireland Startup Awards 2014 and Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur 2014.