Cork Innovates teamed up with AIB, Cork County and City Enterprise Boards, Cork Chamber, Newstalk and the Irish Examiner to offer a €12,500 bursary to give one lucky start-up business the opportunity to grow and succeed.
Sometimes having a great business idea is only half the battle; securing the funds and expertise to make it a success can be the difficult part, so it’s not surprising that there was a phenomenal response to the competition.The calibre of entries was outstanding, with submissions from a wide range of sectors including agriculture, biotechnology, food industries, construction, chemicals, tourism, healthcare, IT, research and development, lifestyle and media.
Almost 70 entries from all over Ireland, but predominantly from Cork, vied for the coveted prize, which includes €2,000 plus support from a dedicated business advisor in AIB; €2,000 worth of services including membership, advertising and training from Cork Chamber; soft supports such as training, mentoring and workshops valued at €1,000 from Cork County and City Enterprise Boards; €2,500 and €5,000 worth of advertising from Newstalk and the Irish Examiner respectively.
The judging panel had the tough task of accessing the entries and whittling them down to just three finalists; each of whom was interviewed by the judging panel on December 3rd in AIB, South Mall. The three finalists were Ian Brown of The Greedy Pig Food Company, James Duggan of Funmanway Adventure Land and Eoin Leornard of i3PT Certification Association Ltd.
James Duggan of Funmanway Adventure Land emerged as the overall winner. Funmanway Adventure Land is the first attraction of its kind for West Cork, offering thrill seekers a range of extreme sports activities such as Hydro Zorbing, paintballing, and kayaking.
After returning home from travelling in Australia for two years in 2009, James was unable to find work in his trade as a Stonemason, so he made the decision to start his own business.
While abroad he explored many of the extreme sport activities on offer in Australia and New Zealand; and after coming home he discovered that Cork did not have any facility for extreme sports like Zorbing and so he began developing a 21 acre site which he had purchased in 2006. Funmanway Adventure Landed opened to the public in July of this year.
Delighted on hearing he was chosen as the lucky recipient of the bursary, James said “Winning this bursary will really give my business the kick-start it needs. As I have no previous experience in running my own business, I’m very much looking forward to the support from AIB’s dedicated business advisor and I see them as being key to helping bring my business to market and making it a success.”
“The advertising support is fantastic, as we would have had a limited enough budget before winning, and I believe advertising with two high profile media outlets will be invaluable to my business”.
I have a propensity to dream of a much bigger picture for my business now after winning this generous bursary, and I would like to thank Cork innovates for this opportunity, and all the bursary partners for supporting it. I’m very much looking forward to working closely with them.”
Commenting on the bursary and it’s benefits, Paul Hands, Chairman, Cork Innovates said “Our bursary is aimed at making a difference to an entrepreneur in providing financial support focused on delivering critical skills and services to give a fledgling business a boost in achieving business velocity.
In the case of our winner James this is definitely the case, as it will help to upscale the marketing and branding activity which has the potential to significantly improve the annual revenues and lead to further job creation.”