29 April 2021
By Mary Bermingham
€3.5million to be spent in the South West on Enterprise Development
Funded by Enterprise Ireland, Munster Technological University (MTU) will spend €3.5m over the next five years on the New Frontiers Programme to support hundreds of entrepreneurs and to deliver 75 new companies in the South West Region. This is a substantial injection of funding for the New Frontiers programme and is a recognition of its broad reach across the South West with delivery being available on both MTU campuses, The Tom Crean Business Centre in Tralee, and The Rubicon Centre in Cork.
Eighty applicants, across Cork and Kerry, will be accepted on to the first phase of the programme, a pre-acceleration phase, where their business idea and their capabilities as a potential entrepreneur will be challenged. During this part-time, 6 week phase, participants will benefit from workshops on business value proposition, market research and validation, sales training and financial management. Those selected for the second phase will enjoy a suite of supports and uniquely, for an acceleration programme of this kind, no equity will be taken from the participants in return for the generous package of supports worth €30,000.
Announcing the initiative, President of MTU Prof Maggie Cusack said, “I am delighted to announce this next round of the New Frontiers Programme for the South West Region. Colleagues in Kerry and Cork have been collaborating on entrepreneurship supports for over twenty years and this initiative is an important pillar in the implementation of one of MTU’s key functions in the region, supporting entrepreneurship, enterprise development, and innovation in business”.
“New Frontiers has truly been instrumental to our progress and I couldn’t imagine being where we are without the expertise, advice and invaluable support we’ve been given within this incredible ecosystem. It really has been a game changer for us!” says Clare McSweeney Founder & CEO of Kuul Play who is currently taking part in the New Frontiers Programme “Kuul Play is all about making P.E. and sport fun for all kids – especially those non-sporty. Our brand new learning platform makes it so easy for teachers and parents to support all children’s physical literacy development and wellbeing. Because every child deserves to have fun playing.”
“New Frontiers was fundamental in setting up Wazp. Founding a new business can be daunting and entrepreneurs are often pulled in a variety of different directions from product development and hiring to finances, selling and marketing. New Frontiers offered Wazp the opportunity to develop its first business plan while receiving specialist training in all those areas – allowing us to evaluate the priorities of the business and prepare for the next stage of growth and investment” says Shane Hassett CEO of WAZP. Within 6 months of completing New Frontiers, Tralee start-up Wazp 3D printing raised €250,000 in private investment and began work on developing the technology. Since then WAZP has delivered the largest orders of 3D printed products in the world and is changing the way companies that depend on manufacturing are able to do business.
According to Shane, support and access to knowledge are two major benefits of New Frontiers “The on hands support from the programme manager and access to academic supports including a skilled network of students seeking work placement and graduates seeking employment was another big advantage of New Frontiers at MTU. The announcement of €3.5million in funding for New Frontiers across Cork & Kerry is a vote of confidence in the ability of the programme to produce new indigenous companies.” In 2017, Wazp raised a further €750,000 to fund its expansion, which included High Potential Start-up investment from Enterprise Ireland and subsequently raised €2 million in funding from backers including former Glanbia managing director John Moloney and Pa Nolan. WAZP currently employs 13 people and lists global brands, IKEA, Puma and Next among its 50+ global clients.
Commenting on behalf of Enterprise Ireland, Paula Carroll, New Frontiers National Programme Manager said “Enterprise Ireland is proud to offer such a critically important programme like New Frontiers. It is the national entrepreneurial development programme and by combining practical advice, mentorship, and funding, it can help reduce the risk and dramatically increase the chances of success for aspiring start-up entrepreneurs.”