07 April 2015

Three IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme alumni, have been named as recipients of Enterprise Ireland’s Class of 2014 - Competitive Start Fund.


Former IGNITE participants, Uniwink, Ottera and Mohago were three of 81 new early stage businesses that were supported under the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund for 2014, which injects critical early stage funding into new businesses. Part of the Government’s strategy aimed at promoting entrepreneurship as a career choice and stimulating new start-up business activity for graduates, the Fund will provide up to €50,000 in support for each recipient.


Fund recipient, UniWink, founded by Sarah Dineen, a participant on IGNITE’s 2014 programme, is Ireland’s first and only peer to peer online learning platform that caters specifically toward the educational needs of third level students. This innovative business maintains the sole objective of helping students achieve high grades by the provision of tutorials and notes through its website. UniWink’s success and growth is not limited to Irish universities and institutes of technology alone, as Sarah plans to expand its borders and launch in the UK before the end of 2015. UniWink aspires to become the number one peer to peer online learning platform in Europe, and the support of the Competitive Start Fund will enable this expansion and growth.


Mohago was founded in October 2012 by Declan Gordon, Alan Morrison and John Hayes. Declan, who was on the 2013 IGNITE programme, developed his product idea based on his experiences of managing long duration research data collection. Looking Glass, Mohago’s first product is a software platform that simplifies the capture, management and analysis of data for individuals and teams. It is in commercial use within SMEs and has generated interest from multinationals. Mohago wants to raise private investment of €200k (€400k with EI matched funding) to fund commercialisation of the product via direct sales in the UK and Europe.


Ottera, founded by Glenn Goggin, another 2013 IGNITE participant, creates video based training technology in the form of video capture glasses and online training software for markets such as Healthcare, Medical Device, Microelectronics and Pharmaceutical. In addition to the financial element of the Competitive Start Fund, Ottera has been offered an experienced mentor to help the company to accelerate growth and build management capability.


This Competitive Start Fund helps to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The priority of the Fund is to provide entrepreneurs with the critical early stage funding for the key commercial and technical milestones that will ensure delivery of their product or service, and help them get their project to a key funding milestone. Applications for the Fund were considered on a competitive basis and the financial support for recipients is in the form of equity investment. The support will be towards costs associated with developing the business.


This isn’t the first time that IGNITE participants have featured in the fund, with Supply.ie, MR Food Innovation, Seahorse Atlantic, and Portable Medical Technology Ltd all recipients of the Competitive Start Fund in recent years.


Eamon Curtin, Director of the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme said “The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme has clearly struck a cord with Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund, as it has and continues to recognise the innovative and ambitious entrepreneurial community we have seen go through our programme. The success of IGNITE alumni in relation to the Fund shows we are nurturing young entrepreneurs with the necessary technical and commercial skills, and those who are willing to take a risk and set up their own businesses.”


Eamon continued “Access to early stage funding such as the Competitive Start Fund is critical, and this Fund is part of the Government’s and Enterprise Ireland’s response to support them to get into business, expand, create jobs, and contribute to our recovery.”


The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme, supported by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County, UCC and Bank of Ireland, is now open for expressions of interest for the next intake of participants, starting this Autumn. To submit an expression of interest or for further information, visit http://ignite.ucc.ie or email ignite@ucc.ie