UCC programme helps create more than 370 jobs since its inception
The IGNITE programme at University College Cork (UCC), which nurtures start-ups from idea stage to commercial reality, held its awards and showcase in The Hub, UCC, last evening.
The start-up founders introduced on the night are developing mobile and web-based apps, innovative clothing and personal services to address problems of dementia care, sports performance, disability access, climate and the environment and personal health and well-being.
Among the start-ups pitched to an audience of entrepreneurs, business owners and investors were; ForgetMeNot, developing an app that acts as a bespoke and personalised digital memory book for people with dementia; Assistiv providing bespoke assistive technology solutions to enhance workplace accessibility and support individuals with disabilities; MobyShare, designing a digital leasing platform that unlocks your car’s earning potential; Zirkulu, introducing a range of clothing design on the principles of the circular economy; Athlethub, improving access to coaching support for elite athletes and The Mind Mechanic, providing innovative mental wellness services.
Two award categories were introduced for the IGNITE Spring Awards – Investor Ready and Revenue Ready.
The winners on the night were:
Jack Norman and Fionn McCarthy of Zirkulu, winner of the Bank of Ireland Investor Ready Award.
Alan Craughwell of Assistiv, winner of the Local Enterprise Office Revenue Ready Award.
Other awardees on the night included Niamh Murray of ForgetMeNot, winner of the Bank of Ireland Investor Pitch Award and Emily Murphy of The Mind Mechanic, winner of the Local Enterprise Office Sales Pitch Award.
The IGNITE programme has worked with 160 start-ups over the last 11 years and these companies have created more than 370 jobs.
IGNITE Director Eamon Curtin said: “It was fantastic to be celebrating start-ups here at University College Cork once again. The founders we are working with are demonstrating that hard work and dedication can ensure that a good idea can be developed into a great business with the right support. We offer seminars, workshops, entrepreneurial guest speakers, mentoring and experts, fundraising and a workspace to help you grow your idea. The programme consists of several valuable resources to help take your start-up to the next level.”
The programme is based at University College Cork and is open to recent graduates in any discipline, from any third level Institution in Ireland, who have the passion and ambition to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea that has potential for economic, environmental or social impact. Applications will open in May for the next full-time programme commencing in July.
The programme is funded by University College Cork, Bank of Ireland, the three Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City, South Cork and North & West Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council.
Maria McKnight, Manager with Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland is delighted to continue our support of the fantastic IGNITE programme at UCC. It is always so heartening to see such wonderful ideas being turned into businesses and it fills us with great confidence to know that these start-up founders will make an impact on the country’s economy. We wish them every success in the future and we congratulate the IGNITE programme on another inspiring awards event.”
Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office South Cork, said; “Turning an idea into a business can be very daunting for any start-up and the Local Enterprise Office is available to help people on their journey. It is an honour for the Local Enterprise Office to be involved in the IGNITE programme and see so many budding entrepreneurs who will, no doubt, have a very successful future. I would like to wish the programme every success as it continues to support eager start-ups in this way.”
The awards were also attended by the CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Leo Clancy, who added, “Our universities have truly embraced the spirit of entrepreneurship, and programmes such as IGNITE at UCC have already contributed to Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start Up programme. I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners, and look forward to hearing from more IGNITE graduates as they grow and expand their businesses.”
The awards were determined by an adjudication panel of Maria McKnight of Bank of Ireland; Eileen Moloney, Senior Consultant at CorkBIC and Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office South Cork.