Ignite graduates Stephen MacCarthy, Co-Founder of RecruitRoo; Niall Brennan, Founder of SimpleScents; Louis Walsh, Founder of FemToFire and Patrick O’Toole, Founder of Nternz at UCC at the Ignite Awards and Showcase which was held in The Hub, UCC. Photo: Joleen Cronin

Igniting the start-up flames

From a fragrance subscription service to a social media platform, there were a variety of companies recognised at this year’s Ignite programme awards and showcase.

The Ignite programme at UCC helps to nurture start-ups from idea stage to commercial reality. 20 start-up founders were introduced at the event with backgrounds in science, engineering, business and the arts. This year's event also featured UCC’s 4 students who have received Quercus scholarships for their achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The 4 Ignite start-ups that pitched for the awards were Nternz, a professional social network platform designed to allow students to discover and connect with careers and companies and build their professional work experience; RecruitRoo which provides companies with access to global talent by building technology solutions that reduce friction of screening, migration and onboarding; FemToFire is building a technology platform to help assess and locate fire risks within forests and; SimpleScents is Ireland’s first fragrance subscription service.

The awards were determined by an adjudication panel of Mark Knowles of Bank of Ireland, entrepreneur Kate Hyde of Glencove Ltd and investment advisor Ted Foley of CorkBIC.

The winners on the night were:

• Paddy O’Toole of Nternz - Overall Bank of Ireland Best Business Award Winner

• Stephen MacCarthy of RecruitRoo - Best Business Plan Award Winner

• Louis Walsh, Founder of FemToFire - Winner of Best Pitch

Ignite Director Eamon Curtin said: “It is great pleasure to be here again this evening to celebrate start-ups at University College Cork. The 20 start-up founders we are working with are demonstrating that hard work and dedication can ensure that a good idea can be developed into a great business with the right support.

“Congratulations to the four start-ups progressing from the programme at this time. We are working towards a flexible programme that provides start-ups with the support they need when they need it. And we continue to invest in development of the programme to meet the emerging needs of our start-up founders.”