Irish Business Founder Nick Cotter Wins 2022 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

22 year-old, College Cork university student stands out as top entrepreneur among more than 1,000 applications from 40 countries on six continents; Video series earns 1+ million views

1 July, 2022(Cape Town, South Africa / Arlington Virginia, U.S.) – Following a year-long nomination, application and pitch process, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) revealed the grand champion of its annual competition. Announced during the finale of a four-part YouTube series that posted on 30 June and has earned more than one million views, the global champion is Nick Cotter, a CEO and co-founder of Cotter Agritech, which specializes in targeted, selective treatment systems for sheep from Abbeyfeale, Ireland. Cotter learned of his victory during the final episode of a four-part mini-series called ‘Start it Up’, which was produced by the awards programme.

Nick Cotter, global champion of 2022 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Cotter 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. Today, he is enrolled in University College Cork in his fourth year of law and business studies. For his successful efforts in the GSEA competition, Cotter was awarded US$40,000 from EO to invest in his business.

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 advanced to the global finals, leading to the top six finalists.

The first runner-up for 2022 is 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. He was awarded US$16,000 for his business. The second runner-up is Smrithi Sivakumar, 22, from Coimbatore, India, founder of Shika Creations, an artisan shop selling custom, traditional and eco-friendly terracotta jewelry and home decor products. She was awarded US$10,000. The three other entrepreneurial finalists were:

  • Diogo Bezerra, São Paulo, Brazil – 29, founded Mais1Code, a coding school to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Brazil gain the necessary skills to succeed in the tech industry, for free.
  • Chido Dzinotyiwei, Harare, Zimbabwe– 25, founded Vambo Academy an online platform that works to preserve native and indigenous African languages and culture by helping new generations learn to speak them.
  • Shaamil Karim, Bangalore, India – 18, founded Diginoor, a marketplace where you can buy, own and sell digital art from Indian cinema.
During the global finals, the top six finalists pitch their businesses to the judges

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 commented.

Tira described Cotter’s business as, “A beautiful business idea that is growing from strength to strength.” Elizondo added, “We know that you have what it takes to actually make this world a better one.”

Upon finding out he had won, an elated and surprised Cotter told the judges: "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."

Irish student entrepreneur Nick Cotter learns that he won the 2022 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

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.”

The GSEA programme supports student entrepreneurs who require much-needed mentorship, recognition, and connections to take their businesses to the next level of success. Information about timing for 2022-2023 applications will soon be announced on the GSEA’s website and its social media networks.



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GSEA 2022 by the Numbers:

1,093 total student applications were received from the following regions:

  • Asia Pacific (APAC) region: 48
  • North and South Asia: 401
  • Canada: 15
  • Europe: 98
  • Latin America: 138
  • Middle East, Pakistan and Africa (MEPA): 233
  • United States: 160

About the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA): The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is the premier global competition for university students. Each year, more than 1,000 student entrepreneurs from 40+ countries compete for the title of Global Champion and the chance to build their business and gain recognition for their innovation. GSEA is designed to inspire students to stretch themselves as the future’s leading entrepreneurs and bring their businesses greater global visibility. GSEA was founded at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University in 1998. Since that time, GSEA strives to honour those students who achieve so much as both students simultaneously attending university full-time and running their own businesses. To maximize student experiences and give them access to a global network of mentors, resources and business connections, EO took on leadership of the GSEA in 200. EO’s GSEA is generously supported by Thomas Franchise Solutions. For more information, tune into the GSEA podcast, “Dare to Startup”, or visit:

About Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO): The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a high-quality support network of 16,500+ like-minded leaders across 60 countries. EO helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences, and collaborative learning. EO has been helping entrepreneurs achieve transformational growth since 1987 and its member network is committed to learning and helping each other succeed. For more information or to get involved, follow us on Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and visit our website: