Are you an entrepreneurial student or recent graduate with a business idea?

Accenture, in association with NDRC and media partner The Irish Times, are looking for the Leaders of Tomorrow. Entry for the 2015 competition has now closed. The 2016 Award will open in Autumn 2015.

Entrants take part in a number of development days on the themes of leadership, digital innovation and entrepreneurship. Guest speakers and one-to-one mentoring will nurture your idea and skills.

Finalists will have the opportunity to present their business plan to a panel of Irish business leaders.

The overall winners will receive a highly valuable space on NDRC LaunchPad accelerator programme. They’ll also have the option of a six month Accenture Internship following completion of LaunchPad. You will have everything you need to become a Leader of Tomorrow.

This competition is open to all third-level students across Ireland as well as those who have graduated in the last year.

Applicants will retain all intellectual property rights to ideas submitted. We want you to succeed and make Ireland’s future greater than the present.

What is the Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award?

The Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award aims to identify, foster and recognise leadership potential and innovative thinking amongst aspiring entrepreneurs in Ireland, with the aim of making Ireland’s Future > Present. The Award is designed to nurture and develop innovative ideas or concepts which may positively impact some of the challenges facing Ireland today.

The Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award seeks to develop the next generation of talent that will help in shaping the public, private and social landscape of Ireland in coming years.

The Award is structured as a competition of three rounds where participants:

  • Submit an idea or concept which will be developed through the competition into a viable business plan
  • Explore the central topics of leadership, entrepreneurship and digital innovation
  • Network with likeminded participants
  • Identify and develop attributes in leadership, entrepreneurship and digital innovation through development days, which will include guest speakers and one-to-one mentoring
  • Present their developed idea to a panel of Irish business leaders

The overall winner(s) will visit one of Accenture’s Global Innovation Centres as part of the Leadership and Innovation Tour prize. Previous winners have been to France, India and New York.

Winners will secure a space on NDRC Launchpad programme, a three month accelerator programme for digital startup ventures. They will receive expert mentorship, weekly workshops and more to make their idea their future and become a Leader of Tomorrow. The option of a six month Accenture Internship following completion of NDRC Launchpad will be your safety net so that you can give it 100%.

Learn more about a career with Accenture

But Why Participate?

The Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award is designed to provide participants with a forum to demonstrate and develop their leadership abilities and evolve their business idea. You’ll also have the opportunity to...

  • Gain an understanding of our business
  • Develop your professional skills
  • Develop collaboration and team working skills
  • Experience new perspectives
  • Meet our leaders
  • Take part in our series of Development Days
  • Network with likeminded people and business leaders
  • Have fun throughout!

Experiences of past winners

Darragh Kirby
“I have been around the start-up scene a while and the Leaders of Tomorrow competition really stands out for several reasons - its structure, the resources put into every stage and the network of high-calibre business people we were introduced to. The competition should definitely be marked in every student and recent graduate's calendar.”
Darragh Kirby, Winner of Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2015
Nubi Kayode
“It was amazing. The journey is one I tag priceless. From the early stage feedback, to the development days, and networking opportunities we had with other participants and people from the NDRC and Accenture. I personally developed my presentation, communication, and business development skills. I also got exposed a new way on start-up thinking.”
Nubi Kayode, Winner of Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2014
James Barry
"The Leaders of Tomorrow competition was extremely beneficial both in developing our business idea and for our personal development as entrepreneurs. The opportunity to get feedback on our idea from Accenture, meet experts and entrepreneurs, as well as network with other innovators has helped us progress our idea significantly. Winning the competition has opened up so many doors for us at both an individual level and for our business."
James Barry, Winner (with Callum Bashford) of Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2013
Peter Cleary
“To be truly successful in life you need to test yourself against your peers regularly. The Leaders of Tomorrow award will test you both personally and professionally. It offers you a great chance to jump start your entrepreneurial career, meet so great people and have a lot of fun along the way.”
Peter Cleary, Winner of Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2012

Competition Format

Three Rounds of Competition

The Award competition takes place over three rounds. The aim of these rounds is to provide participants with the opportunity to develop their business idea in a number of ways.

We are looking for people who can:

  • Provide practical and commercially viable business solutions
  • Demonstrate insight and clarity of thought
  • Demonstrate leadership in thought and innovation
  • Deliver practical real-world solutions
  • Leverage digital technology to deliver high impact solutions

Round 1 – Submit your business idea online. Business ideas must relate to one of the below mentioned themes/categories:

  • Finance & Payments
  • Health & Lifestyle
  • Social Responsibility
  • Goods & Services

Your business idea should include a digital focus (e.g. social, mobile, analytics, cloud).

Round 2 – Successful candidates will develop their business idea into a business plan and pitch to Accenture senior management

Round 3 – The group of finalists will then participate in a series of development days and pitch their business proposal to a panel of Irish business leaders, after which the overall winner will be selected.

Competition Timeline

8th December 2014 - Round 1 application deadline

19th January 2015 - Candidates submit a business case as part of round 2 of the competition

17th February 2015 - Round 2 shortlist are invited to attend a meet & greet in Accenture offices

5th and 12th March 2015 - Development Days

26th March 2015 - Final of Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2015

The Prize

The Overall Winners of the Leaders of Tomorrow Award will receive an automatic place on NDRC LaunchPad. Spaces on this programme are highly coveted due to the success of NDRC in launching these startups.

The overall winner(s) will also be taken on the Leadership and Innovation Tour to one of Accenture’s Global Innovation Centres. These Centres are strategically located in cities of significant start-up activity where you will receive access to mentoring and an opportunity to expand your network.

We want to make sure that this award continues to develop and grow the skills of Ireland’s future Leaders. The Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow contestants will have the chance to give their ideas exposure, make valuable connections, and learn the essentials of business and digital innovation.

Development Days

These Development Days form an integral part of the competition and are designed to allow participants to practice and refine the business abilities required to transform their innovative ideas into a formidable business proposition.

During these Development Days, which take place in NDRC’s office in The Digital Hub and Accenture’s main office in Grand Canal Square, participants will benefit from one-to-one mentoring and take part in a series of workshops hosted by top business leaders from Accenture and other leading public and private companies. These workshops will allow participants to hone their business idea and prepare them for the final round presentations to our panel of judges.

One to One Mentoring

Throughout the Development Days, you will meet with your Accenture mentor to develop your business idea and help you prepare your final presentation to the judging panel. This is an opportunity for you to refine the details of your business plan, learn from an expert in the field, and allow you to ask any questions you may have so that you are fully prepared for the final round.

Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation

Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation are central to the competition. Topics such as Entrepreneurship in Ireland, new business start-ups, achieving growth, leveraging digital technology and the assistance options available to start-ups will be explored throughout the Development Days. You will also get the opportunity to meet and hear from successful Irish entrepreneurs. Previous years have included guest speakers from successful start-ups such as Brite:Bill and Datahug, as well as representatives from Enterprise Ireland. You will also have the opportunity to learn about Innovation and Process Improvement methodologies and how innovation is shaping the business landscape.

Leadership Skills Workshops

To prepare you for the final round, and to aid your overall professional development, you will take part in a series of skills workshops focused on developing your leadership skills and presentation skills. These workshops will be hosted by either an Accenture executive or an external Leader from the business environment.


Throughout the competition you will meet with Senior Accenture Personnel, external business leaders and entrepreneurs as well as previous winners of the Leaders of Tomorrow Award. You will also get to interact regularly with fellow finalists and have fun throughout.

What Happens If You Win?

On the evening of the final round, we host an awards presentation in our offices in Grand Canal Square, which we invite college representatives and friends and family of the finalists to attend. Here we announce:

The overall Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow winner(s) will receive our specially commissioned trophy by Seamus Gill Silversmith, Framed Certificate, the Leadership and Innovation Tour, a place on NDRC Launchpad programme, and the option of an internship with Accenture.

About NDRC: NDRC is an early stage investor in innovation. By providing the people, time, space and investment needed at the earliest stages of dedicated commercialisation work, NDRC is creating companies worthy of commercial investment and with the ability to scale.

The winner of The Leaders of Tomorrow Award will be offered a place on NDRC LaunchPad, a three month accelerator programme for digital startup ventures. Not only will the winner get to work at NDRC for the duration of the programme, they will also receive mentoring, attend workshops, and work alongside other startup founders, innovators, technologists and investors. The winner will also have the chance to pitch for investment from NDRC to support their participation in NDRC LaunchPad.


Applications for the 2015 competition have closed. The 2016 Award will open in Autumn 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn’t answered here please contact us using the details available in this section or on our social media sites.

Who can participate?

This competition is open to all current third-level students in Ireland, undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as anyone who has graduated in the last year.

Do you need to be from a particular course to apply?

No, we accept applications from all disciplines.

Do all the team members have to be from the same college?

No, we accept applications from teams encompassing students from different colleges as well as teams of recent graduates or a mix of both.

How many people can be on a team?

A maximum of 3 members per team are permitted. Please contact us directly if there is a valid business case for additional team members to be included.

Please contact if you have any other queries.

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