CORK BUSINESS: International Start-Up Accelerator Competition for Life Sciences, Medical Technology & Digital Health Companies

27 November 2017
By Elaine Murphy

The local authority is the largest in Ireland

Applications Now Open for Cork County Council’s International Start-Up Accelerator Competition for Life Sciences, Medical Technology and Digital Health Companies
Irish Entrepreneurs can now apply for the chance of a lifetime thanks to this morning’s official launch of Cork County Council’s ground-breaking start-up programme with Boston based MassChallenge, (Bridge to MassChallenge Cork).

Cork County Chief Executive, Tim Lucey.
Picture. John Allen

The early bird catches the winning start-up; this morning’s sit down at Cork County Hall’s Council Chambers saw Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ian Doyle and Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey meet with the Bridge to MassChallenge Cork Expert Advisory Group before hosting the main event with stakeholders and Cork businesses supporting the initiative to officially open applications. For hopeful applicants, Bridge to MassChallenge Cork is set to connect ambitious, early stage entrepreneurs across Ireland to a Global Network and facilitate the creation of high-quality jobs through a series of mentoring events and bootcamps—including an all-expenses paid bootcamp in Boston.

Bridge to MassChallenge is a global non-profit no equity start-up accelerator competition, which, to date, has accelerated 1,211 start-ups worldwide—raising 2 billion USD in funding, generating 900 million USD in revenue, and creating over 65,000 direct and indirect jobs in several locations across the world, including Boston, Massachusetts (USA), Mexico City (Mexico), Lausanne (Switzerland), London (United Kingdom), Jerusalem (Middle East) and more recently Austin, Texas (USA).

Through applying for Bridge to MassChallenge Cork, entrepreneurs across Ireland could be chosen for the unique opportunity to receive mentoring from and exposure to international sector specific experts and connection to a global market. The international start-up competition identifies and accelerates the top start-ups in the region and connects those start-ups to the global market through MassChallenge’s global network. All twenty successful applicants will benefit from significant international mentoring and networking opportunities. MassChallenge has a track record of collaborating with more than 100 of the world’s most innovative organisations including Pfizer, GE and Microsoft to scale ambitious start-ups.

Pictured at the launch were: Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council (left); Sharon Corcoran, Director of Services, Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism, Co. Co Council (right); Cllr. Ian Doyle, Doyle, Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork and Brittany McDonagh, Director of Global Partnerships at MassChallenge.
Pic: Brian Lougheed

Applications, which are now open, will be evaluated by a panel of MassChallenge experts who will select twenty ambitious start-ups in the Life Sciences, Medical Technology and/or Digital Health Sector. These start-ups should have plans to scale up and connect internationally and will be offered the opportunity to participate in a week-long Cork boot camp commencing in February 2018.

This boot camp will conclude with an intensive competition to determine the top ten start-ups to emerge from the Cork boot camp, as selected by this process. These ten will then advance to a one-week all expenses paid intensive boot camp in Boston, in April 2018. From this, the top two companies will be selected to go forward to second round judging for one of MassChallenge’s international accelerators.

‘We are delighted to have opened applications for Bridge to MassChallenge Cork” said Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council. ‘It is clear from the number of supporting business, from Cork and the rest of Ireland, here today that there is a huge network of business right here in Ireland which is ready and willing to help ambitious, early-stage entrepreneurs in the Life Sciences, Medical Technology and Digital Health Sector. This is only a fraction of what is to come for the top twenty start-up companies, who will be seriously impressed by the dedication of their mentors and the depth of knowledge to be given at Bootcamp. This partnership with MassChallenge is founded on the Council’s mission to strengthen our regional innovation ecosystem and its stakeholders, driving the creation of high-quality jobs by supporting our native entrepreneurs and connecting them into a world class network.’

‘The Cork and Boston based boot camps will expose the ambitious start-ups to a leading international entrepreneurial ecosystem and equip them with international best practice from the MassChallenge international model on start-up supports. The Programme will enable participants to network internationally while being exposed to sector specific experts. MassChallenge has a track record of collaborating with more than 100 of the world’s most innovative organisations including Pfizer, GE and Microsoft to scale ambitious startups and we look forward to embedding some of our innovative regional companies into this progressive community.’ said Mr. Lucey.

Deputy Mayor of Cork County Council, Cllr Ian Doyle had this to say at this morning’s event:

‘Cork Country Council is extremely excited to see the drive and innovation Ireland has to offer Bridge to MassChallenge Cork. This strategic partnership will promote our Region as a global entrepreneurial hub and leader of innovation in this space, and the initiative dovetails with the long and successful track record our Region has earned as a leading-edge, global cluster for pharma, biotech and med-tech companies. This initiative also further builds upon the region’s well-established business, tourism and political links with Boston and the East coast of the United States.

We look forward to an exciting and wholesome engagement from start-ups and stakeholders alike with Bridge to MassChallenge Cork over the next 12 months. We would like to leverage this pioneering economic model, which is based on collaboration with global experts. These experts have demonstrated success, have world leading experience and international connections. This model will assist in strengthening the region’s innovation ecosystem, drive job creation and in turn reap the positive impacts on the jobs economy of our region.’

Mentor for Bridge to MassChallenge Cork Paul Sturrock of Slingshot Venture offered some advice to entrepreneurs interested:

‘Entrepreneurs across Ireland need to apply now. This is a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity, one that many of us wish we had when we were starting out in the industry. Dedicate time and effort to your application. Show us your drive and your passion as well as your knowledge. Most of all, be sure to apply. You lose nothing by trying but you could lose out on a huge opportunity by not applying.’

Applications for this ground-breaking programme are now open. For further information see or contact Elaine Walsh, Bridge to MassChallenge Cork Programme Manager, on To follow the conversation online see Bridge to MassChallenge Cork or #B2MCCork on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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