28 June 2016
By David O’Sullivan
Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd. has received the accolade of Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2016. Allmin Resources founder, Alpa Agrawal was recognised at the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Awards and Showcase held at the Aula Maxima in UCC on Monday, 27th June.
This year’s IGNITE Awards and Showcase celebrated the progress and achievements to date of the sixth cohort of new businesses who participated in the 2015/16 nine month business incubation programme. Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, EY and J.W. O’Donovan Solicitors, awards were presented for overall Business of the Year, Business Plan, Innovation, Showcase Display and Individual Contribution, in front of an invited audience who were introduced to the new companies operating across a range of areas including chemical compounds, recruitment, online platforms, food/ nutrition, and personal grooming.
The awards were made based on presentations participants gave to the judging panel of respected business people at Bank of Ireland’s Regional Headquarters on the South Mall. The judging panel comprised of Diarmuid Lynch, Flagship Manager at Bank of Ireland, 32 South Mall; ; John Sheehan, Partner, J.W. O’Donovan; Karen Gayer, Manager, EY; and Orla Rimmington, Partner at Kernel Capital.
The top award, the Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year Award 2016, was presented to Alpa Agrawal of Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd., which is a chemical product development company modifying existing inorganic magnesium related products to suit different applications, and thereby generating sales at a wholesale, and ultimately at a retail level. The products are manufactured with superior quality, reliability, customer satisfaction and perfection, and hence are hallmarks of uniqueness making them truly world class. The business has already secured supply contracts for chemical products with companies across Europe and the Middle East. Company founder Alpa identified the business opportunity when completing a Masters in Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at UCC, having completed a Chemical Engineering Degree at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India.
Two further awards were made in recognition of business planning and innovation. The EY/ IGNITE Business Plan Award was presented to Breffney O’Dowling-Keane for her company, FruitCubed. Breffney is currently preparing to launch FruitCubed, a fruit based stock cube which provide a convenient, cheaper alternative to fresh fruit for smoothies, cocktails, desserts and cakes. Breffney completed a BSc (Food Science) at UCC in 2013, gained industry experience at Kerry Group, and completed a Cookery Professional.
While the J.W. O’Donovan Solicitors/ IGNITE Innovation Award went to Steven Merrick and Paul Davidson for their company, Zazsi, an online platform that seamlessly integrates consumers, online retailers and product influencers. The idea stems from experience they gained when completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science (Interactive Media) at UCC in 2015.
Diarmuid Lynch, Flagship Manager at Bank of Ireland, 32 South Mall, who chaired the judging panel, praised the young companies that were fighting out for the title of business of the year said “The calibre of the business presentations was once again very high, and it’s very encouraging to see that a number of the start-ups we met are well on the road to success, having already generated sales revenue or raised finance. Each of the start-ups that presented to the judging panel demonstrated true entrepreneurial spirit and steadfast determination; and each has the potential to develop a successful business.”
Past winners of Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year also attended the awards ceremony. Having raised private investment last year, Dr Sinead Bleiel (Doherty), founder of AnaBio Technologies Ltd., is developing a product development facility at Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, and plans to expand the team to 25 in 2016. The company has patented encapsulation technologies with applications in food, pharma, animal and human health nutrition markets. AnaBio Technologies Ltd’s research capability was most recently recognised by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland when shortlisted for a prestigious Research Innovation Award.
Meanwhile, Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, co-founders of sports media website PunditArena, have raised €650,000 investment and plan to triple the number of users and to grow the team to 20 staff by the end of 2016. Other past winners include James and Peter Nagle of BitCove, Eoin O’Carroll and Kevin Bambury of Portable Medical Technology Ltd., and Mike McGrath of supply.ie.
Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Programme Director said “Since its inception in 2010, our Programme has seen 60 businesses, involving almost 80 individuals, complete the programme, many of which are now trading internationally. For start-ups that undertake the Programme, IGNITE support is equivalent to a €25K investment, and founders do not give up any equity in their business.”
He continued “As we come to the end of the sixth phase of the IGNITE Programme, I would like to wish each of this year’s participants every success as they continue to move their businesses to the next level, and congratulate our award winners in particular. We look forward to welcoming the next intake of IGNITE participants this autumn, who will follow in the footsteps of some very successful young entrepreneurs who have paved the way for them to succeed on their entrepreneurial journey.”
The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is a business incubation programme, based at UCC, aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening entrepreneurial potential. The Programme is supported by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County, Bank of Ireland, and University College Cork. More information is available at http://ignite.ucc.ie.