Batt opens “gatewayUCC centre”

The commercialisation and spin-out of advanced research at UCC will create 90 new jobs in emerging Irish companies at a €2 million business incubation centre opened today by Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister Batt O’Keeffe, T.D. The gatewayUCC centre will support the launch of new and knowledge intensive businesses at a highly modern facility located centrally among UCC’s research and academic community. The centre has been developed with funding from UCC and Enterprise Ireland.

gatewayUCC is managed by UCC’s Office of Technology Transfer. With capacity to support 15 knowledge-intensive start-ups at any one time, it forms a key element of the University’s strategic development plan to translate world class research into new companies, create export driven jobs and generate an economic return for Ireland. As well as UCC spin-out companies, gatewayUCC will facilitate the growth of ‘spin-ins’ from other research centres and will promote academic partnerships with industry.

Marking the effectiveness of UCC’s technology transfer strategy, the launch of a new spin-out firm – 3PRO EnergyWatch – was also announced. 3PRO EnergyWatch has developed a green IT software solution that automates the shutdown and hibernation of a company’s computer systems resulting in significant cost savings and a lower carbon footprint. The company has just agreed a 1,500 user licensing deal with Cork County Council and has a number of other sales prospects currently in sight. It currently employs seven and plans to increase this to 20 as it grows its business.

3PRO Energy Watch emerged from research at UCC’s Business Information Systems department. Another UCC spin-out, Thinksmart Technologies is creating up to 30 new jobs which will also be located at gatewayUCC.

Minister O’Keeffe said the gatewayUCC business incubation centre, which is jointly financed by UCC and Enterprise Ireland, would be a strong platform for innovative start-up firms to produce new products and services and create high-quality jobs. “The centre aligns well with Government policy to translate world-class research into new firms, create high-quality export-driven jobs and generate a sustainable economic dividend for the country,” said the Minister.

UCC President, Dr. Michael Murphy said, “As one of the pillars of our strategic development plan, gatewayUCC is uniquely placed to harness the world class research and multidisciplinary capabilities of UCC. gatewayUCC will be a dynamic catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship and a hub for knowledge intensive activities in UCC’s key research areas of ICT, Food, Life Sciences and Pharma. It will create competitive advantages for its client companies as they come to market. The demonstration of tangible outputs for the major investments that are made in research is very important. We are achieving this in the formation of companies which will go on collectively to create hundreds of jobs and this will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economic competitiveness in the future.”

“gatewayUCC is dedicating its incubation resources to launching companies that are based on UCC proprietary technology or to companies that will specifically benefit from close proximity to UCC’s multidisciplinary research base. The centre and its plan of activities and events are designed to promote the exchange of ideas through formal and informal networking. This is a proven way of accelerating the development and growth of knowledge intensive enterprise. We envisage the launch of several spin-outs this year, following seven such launches in the last two years,” said Dr. Murphy.

Dr. Martin Lyes, Divisional Manager, Research & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, said that EI’s support was a signal of the agency’s commitment to work closely with UCC in helping it to build and sustain its critical role in Irish economic development. “The established research strengths of the college create a wellspring of ideas and talent that can lead to a flow of high quality start-ups. gatewayUCC will provide the support which will allow these companies to grow quickly.”

The gatewayUCC centre is located in close proximity to UCC research bases including the Tyndall National Institute (Ireland’s leading ICT research Institute) and other respected research centres – Food Health Ireland, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and the Environmental Research Institute among other research resources.

gatewayUCC provides its clients with all the ongoing supports and opportunities they need to drive growth in their companies.

One such example is 3PRO Energy Watchwhere Chief Executive, Sean Cronin said, “We have benefited strongly from the commercial and business development expertise available through gatewayUCC which has already enabled us to win new business and plan further growth. We selected the gatewayUCC Centre for its state of the art facilities, links to the latest research from UCC and the ease of getting our company operational with minimum delay. As an export focused company, having UCC as a knowledge partner greatly enhances our credibility internationally. It will accelerate our growth and keep us at the forefront of energy saving technologies.”

gatewayUCC’s facilities are as follows:

· 900m2 accommodation includes:

o 10 Incubation units ranging in size from 26 sq.m to 53 sq.m

o 6 Hot Desk spaces for developing the feasibility of your company’s concept

o 4 wet labs with separate write-up offices

· Access to UCC Network of Researchers (excellent support and linkages into academic departments)

· Access to 16 seat Board Room (AV Facilities), Access to Larger Conference Room 40 Seats (suitable for Seminar/Conferences/Video conferencing)

· Access to Business Support Programmes and Business Mentor Programmes

· Access to financial advice, introduction to VCs and Business Angels

· Programme of Specialist Seminars

· Access to full range of University facilities large lecture theatres, Atrium etc., to facilitate Company/Product Launches, Public Presentations and Trade Exhibitions.

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