Ten aspiring graduate entrepreneurs, working on nine startup businesses were introduced on October 3rd at a packed reception at UCC’s Western Gateway Building to mark the launch of the 7th IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme.
Over the next nine months the graduates will participate in UCC’s business incubation programme. IGNITE aims to nurture, develop and strengthen entrepreneurial potential among recent graduates from any discipline, from any third level institution with a viable business idea.
IGNITE 2017 includes graduates of UCC, CIT and DCU; with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Studies, Finance, Business Practice, Computer Science, Engineering and Geography; along with PhDs in Engineering and Patterning Culture. This year’s businesses are developing products and services in areas as diverse as intercultural communication issues, bee keeping, air pollution, medical solutions, fraud, gaming and apps.
Since its inception in 2010, the IGNITE Programme has been supported by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County, UCC, and Bank of Ireland. To date, IGNITE has seen 60 businesses, involving almost 80 individuals, complete the programme, many of which are now trading internationally. For startups that undertake the programme, IGNITE support is equivalent to a €25K investment, and founders do not give up any equity in their business.
Programme Director, Eamon Curtin welcomed the attendees from industry, academia and the public sector to the launch of the new cohort of graduates, during which he thanked sponsors for their financial support, without which the programme would not achieved what it has to date.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Des Cahill, commended the programme and noted the critical role that the Economic Development Funds of both Cork City Council and Cork County Council play in supporting new business startups through programmes like IGNITE.
Mayor of Cork County, Councillor Seamus McGrath echoed these sentiments and added:
“It is vital to encourage entrepreneurship in the region, and IGNITE is the ideal bridge between the knowledge gained at third level, and the challenges of making a commercial success from great ideas.”
Anita Maguire, UCC Vice President for Research & Innovation, noted that the programme is now an established part of the start-up eco system in the region, and acknowledged the support from all partners since the Programme’s inception.
“The IGNITE Programme is going from strength to strength. Past participants include Sinead Bleiel, founder of AnaBio Technologies Ltd, who having raised private investment last year, has invested in a product development facility at Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, and plans to expand the team to 25 in 2016. Meanwhile Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, cofounders of sports media website Pundit Arena raised €650,000 investment, have built their users from 1,000 per month, to 2.6 million and plan to grow the team to 20 staff by the end of 2016.” – Eamon Curtin
He continued “We recognise, nurture, and encourage entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. The new IGNITE participants will 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.“