IGNITE – Sparking Future Entrepreneurs

IGNITE - Sparking Future Entrepreneurs

On-line betting, seaweed supplements for horses, a website for buying and selling thoroughbred horses plus a smart phone app for cancer professionals are among some of the products being developed by participants in the UCC IGNITE programme.  

The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme at UCC provides funding and free incubation space, mentoring and support to graduates of any higher education institution who are interested in starting up a new business over a nine month period.  The programme is currently recruiting for next year’s intake starting in October and the closing date is 1st June 2012.

Some of the current group of graduates on the IGNITE programme share a love of animals.  Padraig O’Sullivan has identified a gap in the trading of thoroughbred horses and has created ParadeRing.ie a pioneering new website that enables thoroughbred breeders, trainers and agents to buy and sell horses on a global scale. Pádraig holds business qualifications from UCC. Another horse lover is Sarah Jane O’Sullivan who has developed a natural, Irish horse feed supplement, ‘Seahorse Atlantic’ derived from 100% organically grown seaweed. Sarah’s background in Marine Biology and her love of horses gave her the idea for this unusual product. Seahorse Atlantic is involved in an EU Research project and  Sarah is liaising with potential funders. Sarah holds a primary degree in Environmental Science (Zoology) and a Masters Degree in Marine biology.

PetConnect.ie is an online service aimed at pet owners, pet services and the breeding community developed by Aylmer Barrett. Aylmer’s plan is for PetConnect to become the number one pet-related information and services portal in Ireland and the UK.  The site is up and running and its Facebook page is already attracting huge attention from users.  Aylmer’s background is in business and he has a Masters in E-Business.

Two other business graduates have developed a new smart phone app for oncology professionals, ONCOassist.  The app provides a range of decision tools which put prognostics statistics into the hands of oncology professionals at the bedside of patients to help inform their decision-making.    Eoin O’Carroll is a graduate engineer with a Masters in E-Business whilst Kevin Bambury graduated in English and Geography before obtaining a Higher Diploma in Management & Marketing followed by a Masters in E-Business.

Website development is a popular area and Law graduate, Daniel O’Carroll has been developing a student website, called Studentnews.ie.  Daniel is interested in journalism and did an internship with IrishCentral.com, the newspaper hub in New York run by Niall O’Dowd.  Mike McGrath has created supply.ie (R&D Slua Ltd.) which is an online market place for Irish businesses. This delivers value as it is easy to gather quotes which saves time and money. Supply.ie provides a ‘simple tendering’ process for businesses with free usage for buyers, while the winning supplier simply pays a small referral fee.  Ownership of R&D Slua Ltd is primarily held by Mike McGrath, and Enterprise Ireland has recently acquired 5% of his company for a €25,000 investment.  Mike’s background is in Business studies in UL.

The IGNITE programme provides start-up funding and free access to further funding opportunities.  Participants receive individual business mentoring from leading entrepreneurs and guidance from UCC entrepreneur ‘Coaches on Campus’. They also get a comprehensive Start Your Own Business programme and access to UCC’s academic, research and commercialisation expertise.  “We believe that this programme is most appropriate for the times in which we live”, says Rónán Ó Dubhghaill, Director of Strategic Planning, UCC. “The programme is an ideal bridge between the knowledge gained at third level and  the challenges of starting up a business in the  current economic environment”.

Ten applicants will be selected for the 2012 programme and graduates from all over the country are welcome to apply.  Further information about the programme is available from the IGNITE website http://ignite.ucc.ie email: ignite@ucc.ie.  or contact Miriam Collins, IGNITE Programme Manager on 021-4902823. You can also find IGNITE on facebook (UCC IGNITE) and twitter (@IGNITEUCC).

IGNITE’s primary funders are Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork County and City Enterprise Boards and Bank of Ireland.  IGNITE is also supported by Bord Gáis, EMC, the UCC Food Industry Partnership Board, ICGEE (International Centre for Graduate Education for Micro and Nano Engineering and INSPIRE (Intergrated NanoScience Platform for Ireland) at Tyndall National Institute, UCC, Cork BIC, Cork Chamber of Commerce, PHF and IBS.

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