UCC start-up advice is doing the business

UCC start-up advice is doing the business

Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Programme Director, UCC (left) with IGNITE programme participants, Luke O’Mahony (TRAXSIT); Fiona Edwards Murphy (ApisProtect); Danny O’Donovan (QuickMiinutes.com) and Conor Walsh (TRAXSIT).

A UCC programme for nurturing start-ups is gearing up for its 13th round in April.

The IGNITE programme at UCC, which helps start-ups develop ideas to commercial reality, has been hailed by some of Ireland’s best up-and-coming entrepreneurs as “transformative and life-changing” ahead of its next tranche of graduates to begin the programme.

After supporting 100-plus new start-ups 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. Applications are open until February 14.

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

Co-founder Fiona Edwards Murphy said the skills learned on the IGNITE programme had been transformative as 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 honey bees in hives 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 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... really helped.”

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