Tuesday 25 February 2020

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Cork Independent

Business & Professional

IGNITE your startup’s future at UCC this April

Wednesday, 29th January, 2020 4:01pm

13 won’t be unlucky for some startups who join UCC’s much feted IGNITE programme this April.

Applications for the programme are open for graduates until 14 February, which nurtures startups from ideas to commercial reality,

It has been hailed as “transformative and life-changing” by some prominent Irish entrepreneurs.

After supporting 120 plus new companies since its inception, IGNITE is calling for graduates from third-level institutes all over Ireland to apply for the 13th round of the programme, which begins in April.

One of the global tech’s most talked about startups and a graduate of IGNITE is Internet of Things (IoT) beehive monitoring firm ApisProtect. It has received significant international investment as well as opening an office in California to cater for growing demand.

Co-founder Fiona Edwards Murphy described skills she learned on the IGNITE programme as transformative after ApisProtect went from concept to market, securing €1.5m in venture capital investment and Enterprise Ireland funding in 2018.

The firm now monitors more than 20 million beehives in Europe, North America and South Africa. Ms Edwards Murphy said IGNITE had boosted both her business and personal skills.

“I started IGNITE as a very shy person and by the end of the year, I was presenting to 400 people in a room with no problems. The skills I learned on IGNITE also fed directly into our seed funding round, where we won €1.5m in 2018. Being able to put together a pitch, understanding what an investor wanted to see and the direction of the business - IGNITE really helped.”

IGNITE director Eamon Curtin said trying to grow a startup from scratch is an arduous process, especially when it comes to funding. “If we can build up a network of businesses in our ecosystem willing to provide those early-stage funds to IGNITE participants, then we will see the commercial potential of businesses on the programme improve immeasurably,” he said.

Current IGNITE participant Traxsit, owned by Conor Walsh and Luke O’Mahony, has developed superior GPS technology to farm management. The firm’s devices are used for theft prevention and asset monitoring.

Luke O’Mahony said IGNITE had opened new avenues for business regionally and nationally. “IGNITE equipped us with the skills and resources to validate our business idea. Among the many benefits, the programme will provide you with access. Access to mentorship, access to an invaluable network of successful alumni and industry experts and access to a shared working space full of fellow founders.”

Alumni Danny O’Donovan, founder of time management firm for meetings, QuickMinutes, said IGNITE had shaped his understanding of what he needed to make his business commercially viable.

“Ultimately, nobody is going to have a silver bullet for you, but the combination of access to different resources in terms of experience, mentorship and programmes put on by IGNITE means you come away with a complete picture of what you need to do to bring your business from an idea to a revenue-generating identity,” he added.

Founded in 2011 and supported by Bank of Ireland, IGNITE is a joint initiative by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices and UCC to encourage entrepreneurship and enterprise creation.

Based at UCC, the 12 month programme is open to all recent graduates from all third level institutions in Ireland to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea with potential for commercial or social impact.

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