A START-UP that helps with basketball scholarships in the US has been named as the winner of this year’s IGNITE Award for Best Business.
Seven entrepreneurs have become the first founders to complete the IGNITE programme at University College Cork (UCC) entirely online this year.
IGNITE nurtures start-ups from an idea to commercial reality. The most recent programme at the award-winning incubation concluded with the virtual IGNITE Awards and Showcase for Spring 2021.
Among the start-ups showcased were Pitseal, which is an edible biofilm that replaces plastic sheeting on silage bales and Cardio Flourish, a web-based platform that provides remote cardiac rehabilitation.
The winner of the IGNITE Award for Best Business was Patrick O’Regan, founder of Reach The Top.
Reach The Top is a platform to streamline basketball scholarships in the USA and helps colleges reduce the cost associated with the NCAA recruitment of athletes by eliminating the need to travel extensively.
Best Business Plan Award Winner was Niall Crowley, Co-founder Basevault while Eric Teahan, Founder Eclipse Sleep Bliss was named as the Best Video Pitch Award Winner.
IGNITE director Eamon Curtin commended all of the founders for developing their ideas amid a challenging year.
“We are proud of the hard work and dedication of all our founders in developing their start-up ideas in what are very challenging times.
“This is the 13th cohort to come through IGNITE and those involved join a growing network of successful founders who started their start-up journeys on IGNITE," he said.
Professor John Cryan, the Vice President for Research and Innovation at UCC said:
“The IGNITE programme is one example of UCC leading in the field of innovation.”
“I am passionate about bringing together all disciplines making UCC a campus of Creativity, Curiosity and Critical Thinking; the IGNITE programme embodies those ideals,” he added.
This year’s finalists also included James O’Brien with DESDI, which connects architects and designers to clients in real-time, and Brian Mallen with BRIDGE, which helps businesses develop and communicate sustainable practices with their staff, community and the environment.
The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is hosted by University College Cork and is supported by Bank of Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City, South Cork and North and West Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council.