22 April 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Follow in the footsteps of IGNITE alumni AnaBio Technologies Ltd, PunditArena, KonnectAgain and others
The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Information Evening yesterday offered anyone interested in starting a business the opportunity to find out more about options and supports available; to learn about the nine month business incubation programme at UCC aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening entrepreneurial potential; and to hear from current and past participants who have started their own businesses.
A highpoint of the event in UCC’s Western Gateway Building was an interactive panel discussion, chaired by Aodan Enright of Smarter Egg. Past IGNITE participants Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, cofounders of sports media website, Pundit Arena and winners of the Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2014, were panellists for the discussion; as was Danny O’Donovan, founder of SUPP, a meeting management platform; and current participant Alpa Agrawal, founder of Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd.
Following their stint on the 2013/ 2014 programme, Richard and Ross have gone from strength to strength with their online social sports platform that enables sports enthusiasts to connect with like-minded individuals, and also empowers people to become paid sports journalists. Richard and Ross decided to collaborate having initially started out on the IGNITE Programme working on two separate sports based websites. In a wide ranging discussion, Richard and Ross shared their story of raising a €650,000 investment from private investors including Colm Lyon founder of Realex, their plans to triple the number of users and to build to 20 staff by the end of 2016.
SUPP’s Meeting Management Network is a powerful online meeting management tool that helps organisations run more effective meetings and is designed primarily for large organisations where individuals are often on multiple committees. Danny emphasised the importance of early engagement with a target customer. He spoke about the opportunity he had to work with John Higgins, Head of College, and his team at UCC’s College of Medicine and Health, as an early adopter and how their advice and guidance helped influence features and drove product performance.
Current IGNITE participant, Alpa Agrawal, founder of Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd, shared how she came to University College Cork initially to complete a Masters in Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship in 2014, identified the opportunity to start a business in Ireland, and now has supply contracts with customers in Europe, the Middle East and US, and is planning to build her team in 2016.
Video from last years open evening
Speaking at the event, Eamon Curtin said “We’re proud of our strong track record in supporting recent graduates to start their own businesses. To date we have worked with graduates with backgrounds in Arts, Business, Engineering and Science from University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology Tralee, the University of Limerick, University College Cork and others. We are taking applications for the next IGNITE programme between now and May 20th and I’d encourage anyone thinking of starting a business to contact us to set up an initial meeting.”
Guests at the Information Event had the opportunity to meet the programme’s experienced business mentors and workshop facilitators, and to network with business people and industry partners connected with IGNITE, including sponsors Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County, UCC, and Bank of Ireland.
The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is currently recruiting for the next intake of participants, starting this autumn. To submit an application or for further information, visit http://ignite.ucc.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org.