12 May 2016

Friday, May 20th is the closing date for applications for the next intake of participants for the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme which gets underway this autumn. The nine month business incubation programme at UCC, aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening entrepreneurial potential, is encouraging recent graduates from any discipline, from any third level institution with a viable business idea, to apply and kick start their business.


Since its inception in 2010, the Programme, which is supported by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County, UCC, and Bank of Ireland, has seen 60 businesses, involving almost 80 individuals, complete the programme, many of which are now trading internationally. For start-ups that undertake the Programme, IGNITE support is equivalent to a €25K investment, and founders do not give up any equity in their business.


Past IGNITE participants include Sinead Bleiel (Doherty), founder of AnaBio Technologies Ltd. Having raised private investment last year, AnaBio Technologies Ltd is developing a product development facility at Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, and plans to expand the team to 25 in 2016. The company has patented encapsulation technologies with applications in food, pharma, animal and human health nutrition markets that increases yield, increases functionality, and cost efficiency for products. AnaBio Technologies Ltd’s research capability was most recently recognised by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland when shortlisted for a prestigious Research Innovation Award.


Meanwhile, Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, cofounders of sports media website Pundit Arena raised €650,000 investment and plan to triple the number of users and to grow the team to 20 staff by the end of 2016.


Among this year’s cohort are Joel Carey, founder of CrowdSound.co, Alpa Agrawal of Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd, and Breffney O’Dowling-Keane, founder of FruitCubed.


Joel recently launched his crowdfunding website, CrowdSound.co to help emerging musicians raise funds and publish their music. Joel’s ambition to start his own business was nurtured when he completed a 6 month work placement, an integral part of his BComm Degree, with IGNITE start-up Pundit Arena in 2014.


Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd specialises in chemical compounds and the business has already secured supply contracts for chemical products with companies across Europe and the Middle East. Company founder Alpa identified the business opportunity when completing a Masters in Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at UCC, having completed a Chemical Engineering Degree at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India.


Meanwhile, Breffney is preparing to launch FruitCubed, cubes of fresh fruit that provide a convenient, cheaper alternative to fresh fruit. Breffney completed a BSc (Food Science) at UCC in 2013, gained industry experience at Kerry Group, and completed a Cookery Professional Certificate at Cork Institute of Technology, before joining IGNITE to start her business.


Eamon Curtin, Director of the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme said We recognise, nurture, and encourage entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. IGNITE participants have access to an extensive team of mentors, advisors and industry partners, they share a workspace in UCC’s Western Gateway Building, benefit from regular workshops and guest speakers, and receive seed funding. This is equivalent to a €25K investment in each start-up, and founders do not give up any equity. If you have a great start-up idea, why wait to get started? We’re looking for young entrepreneurs with great ideas, and now is the time to tell us why we should work with you.”


The closing date for applications is Friday, May 20th. To submit an application, or for further information, visit http://ignite.ucc.ie or email ignite@ucc.ie.