IGNITE sparks entrepreneurial spirit and the future is looking bright

IGNITE sparks entrepreneurial spirit and the future is looking bright

October 2013 saw 14 aspiring entrepreneurs, from 11 start-up businesses, join the 4th IGNITE Graduate Business Programme at UCC; setting out on their journey to conquer the business world with their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. IGNITE is now recruiting for the next intake of budding entrepreneurs and has issued a call out for early expressions of interest.


The IGNITE Graduate Business Programme, which was established in 2011, is a nine month business incubation programme for recent graduates from any discipline from any third level institution with a viable business idea; aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening their entrepreneurial potential. IGNITE will host an information workshop this February, where interested recent graduates can find out more about taking the next step to making their innovative ideas a viable business proposition, and further information on this will be available from ignite.ucc.ie.


Since its inception, IGNITE has supported 40 start-up businesses, many of whom have successfully launched  and are now generating revenue. Encapsulation technologies, , seaweed supplements for horses, a website for buying and selling thoroughbred horses, and smart phone apps for medical professionals and politicians are among some of the products and services that are now revenue generating for IGNITE participants.


A number of 2013 participants are off to a flying start. AnaBio Technologies is a young innovative company that has just been shortlisted for Cork Chamber’s ‘Emerging Cork Company of the Year 2014’. Founded by Sinead Doherty, AnaBio Technologies has patented encapsulation technologies  with applications in  food, pharma, animal and human health nutrition markets; and already has an array of Irish and international food industry clients lining up to make use of its technology to protect ingredients that could bring health benefits.


VConnecta, founded by Brendan Finucane, combines extensive political experience with the latest cloud and mobile technology, to deliver the most innovative and sophisticated voter relationship management software on the market. Already, Brendan has received significant private investment. Another start-up also making it’s mark is OnTheQT.ie, an innovative multimedia content company, established by Stephanie Lynch, focusing on the tourism market by showcasing and promoting the off the beaten track locations and attractions within Ireland. 


Other successful participants include Padraig O’Sullivan, who completed the 2012 programme, who identified a gap in the trading of thoroughbred horses and created ParadeRing.ie, a pioneering new website that enables thoroughbred breeders, trainers and agents to buy and sell horses on a global scale. Another horse lover, Sarah Jane O’Sullivan, from the 2011 programme, developed Seahorse Atlantic, a natural Irish horse feed supplement, 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.


Online markets are a popular area among IGNITE participants; and Mike McGrath, who participated in the first IGNITE programme, created supply.ie, a very successful online market place for Irish businesses,  who’s initial focus was on providing a ‘simple tendering’ process for SMEs.  Two other business graduates, who participated in the programme in 2012, Eoin O’Carroll and Kevin Bambury, developed Portable Medical Technology Ltd, which develops quality, accredited and trusted apps for medical specialists to reduce medical errors, improve efficiencies and progress patient communication.


“The IGNITE Programme has gone from strength to strength.” said Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Programme Director. “Last year saw nearly 100 expressions of interest, almost twice the number of applicants as the previous year, and the quality of the applicants was higher than ever.”  Drawing widely on graduates from across Irish universities, including UCD, TCD, UL and UCC, this year’s businesses are developing products and services in areas as diverse as food and nutrition, engineering, education, fashion, ICT, facilities management and media.


IGNITE provides recent graduates who have a viable business idea with state of the art incubation space, start-up funding and advice and guidance on further funding opportunities, as well as a strong support network. During the nine month programme, participants receive individual business mentoring from leading entrepreneurs and mentors, and guidance from UCC entrepreneur ‘Coaches on Campus’.


The programme includes a comprehensive Start Your Own Business programme, and access to UCC’s academic, research and commercialisation expertise. Eamon added “We need to encourage entrepreneurship and IGNITE is the ideal bridge between the knowledge gained at third level, and the challenges of making a commercial success from great ideas.”


The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork County and City Enterprise Boards, UCC and Bank of Ireland.


The IGNITE Graduate Business Programme is currently recruiting for next year’s intake, starting in October. Ten applicants will be selected for the programme and graduates from all over the country are welcome to apply. Commenting on the future for IGNITE, Eamon said “The programme is constantly evolving, and for the next intake of participants we are looking at matching ideas with industry partners. This process will help to immerse them in a relevant commercial environment, which will sharpen the learning process.”


To submit an application of interest, or for further information about the upcoming information workshop, visit http://ignite.ucc.ie, email ignite@ucc.ie, or contact Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Programme Director on 021 4205499. You can also find IGNITE on facebook and twitter.


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