Bitcove named Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2015

Ireland’s premier Bitcoin exchange, Bitcove has received the accolade of Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2015. Bitcove, along with 10 other enterprising young businesses, was recognised at the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Awards and Showcase held at the Aula Maxima in UCC on Wednesday 24th June.

This year’s IGNITE Awards and Showcase celebrated the progress and achievements to date of the 16 recent graduates, working on 11 business start-ups, who participated in the 2014/15, nine month business incubation programme, marking an important milestone with the completion of the fifth phase of the successful entrepreneurial programme.

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, EY and J.W. O’Donovan Solicitors, the awards were presented in front of an invited audience including representatives of Cork City Council; Cork County Council; the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County; local business leaders; and friends and family; who were introduced to the new companies operating across a range of sectors including online platforms and apps, food/ nutrition, agriculture, and travel.

The awards were made based on presentations participants gave to the judging panel of respected business people at Bank of Ireland’s Regional Headquarters on the South Mall. The judging panel was made up of Diarmuid Lynch, Flagship Manager at Bank of Ireland, 32 South Mall; John Fuller, Associate Solicitor, J.W. O’Donovan; Seamus Downey, Taxation Director, EY; and Orla Rimmington, Partner at Kernel Capital.

The top award, the Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2015, was presented to Bitcove founders, UCC graduates and brothers James and Peter Nagle. Following deliberation, the judges agreed that James and Peter best demonstrated the potential to build a business that can achieve growth and create sustainable employment.

Bitcove is an online crypto currency broker that provides a simple avenue for customers to acquire, maintain and transact with their Bitcoins instantly. The business developed as James became interested in crypto currencies after briefly studying cryptography in a Network Security module in college.

Bitcove has become an ambassador for Bitcoin in Ireland and the team is available to promote and discuss Bitcoin at any Bitcoin related conferences or discussion groups. They are also supportive of the larger Bitcoin community and can provide guidance to merchants who are considering adopting Bitcoin as a method of payment.

Two further awards were made in recognition of business planning and innovation. The EY/ IGNITE Business Plan Award was presented to Dr Eileen Weadick, founder of <eXtensicon>. Eileen, a UCD PhD graduate, is developing online Competency Based Education (CBE) programmes in technical communications.

The J.W. O’Donovan Solicitors/ IGNITE Innovation Award went to UCC MBS (Business Information Systems) graduate, Peter Marcano, founder of Key, who demonstrated the most innovative use of technology to deliver his service. Key provides an effortless, yet secure way to log into password protected computers and websites, without ever needing to remember a password. Regardless of the password length or complexity, all you need to sign in is your mobile phone.  Peter was also winner of the IGNITE Peer Award, the only award voted on by the IGNITE 2015 participants, which recognises the spirit of cooperation, leadership and entrepreneurial ability demonstrated throughout the programme.

Rebecca Geaney, Muireann Lynch and Cait Lynch, co-founders of Rooties Snacks, received the IGNITE 2015 Showcase Award for presenting the most effective showcase display.

Diarmuid Lynch, Flagship Manager at Bank of Ireland, 32 South Mall, who chaired the judging panel, praised the 11 companies that were fighting out for the title of business of the year.  “The calibre of the business presentations was very high. It is incredible how far each of the business has progressed over the past nine months on the IGNITE Programme. Each of the start-ups that presented to the judging panel demonstrated true entrepreneurial spirit and steadfast determination; and each has the potential to develop successful businesses.” he said.

Past winners of the IGNITE Business of the Year Award include 2014 winners, Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, co-founders of PunditArena; Dr Sinead Blieil of AnaBio Technologies Ltd., who later went on to be crowned Cork Chamber’s ‘Emerging Business of the Year 2014’; Eoin O’Carroll and Kevin Bambury of Portable Medical Technology Ltd.; and Mike McGrath of

Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Programme Director said “I would like to wish each one of this year’s participants every success as they continue to move their businesses to the next level, and congratulate our award winners in particular. As we come to the end of the fifth phase of the IGNITE Programme, it’s clear that entrepreneurship is thriving amongst recent graduates, and the calibre out there is getting stronger as more supports become available to young entrepreneurs. The next intake of IGNITE participant will join the Programme this autumn, and will follow in the footsteps of some very successful young entrepreneurs who have paved the way for them to succeed on their entrepreneurial journey.”

The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is a business incubation programme, based at UCC, aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening entrepreneurial potential. The Programme is funded by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County, and Bank of Ireland. More information is available at

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