UCC’s Awards Honor Student Startup Founders



At UCC’s IGNITE Awards and Showcase on Tuesday, 24 graduate and student start-up founders shared their business concepts in the areas of renewable energy, the circular economy, health and wellbeing, and business services.


Paddy O’Toole founded Nternz, a professional social network platform that enables students to discover and connect with careers and businesses as well as develop their professional work experience, as one of the four IGNITE start-ups that competed for awards. This platform was the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland Best Business Award.


The Best Business Plan Award went to RecruitRoo, a technology company founded by Stephen MacCarthy that helps clients access global talent by providing solutions for lowering screening, migration, and onboarding friction.


Louis Walsh’s FemToFire, a platform for assessing and locating fire risks in forests, won Best Pitch, beating out Niall Brennan’s fragrance subscription service SimpleScents.


An adjudication panel composed of Mark Knowles from Bank of Ireland, Kate Hyde, a businesswoman from Glencove Ltd., and Ted Foley, a financial expert from CorkBIC, made the decisions regarding the awards.


At the event, which was attended by a crowd of entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors, a total of 20 start-up founders with backgrounds in science, engineering, business, and the arts were introduced, including the four competing founders who pitched their ideas.


Attendees included four students who were awarded QUERCUS scholarships by UCC for their accomplishments in innovation and entrepreneurship.


The winners for this year are Nick Cotter, co-founder of Cotter Agritech and the Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2022; Annie Madden, co-founder of FenuHealth and the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2022; Emma Coffey, founder of FinalBend; and Alex Goodison, co-founder of Homeplan.


Ignite Start-Up


Eamon Curtin, director of IGNITE, said, “It is a great pleasure to be here again this evening to celebrate start-ups at University College Cork.”


“The 20 start-up founders we are working with are demonstrating that hard work and dedication can ensure that a good idea can be developed into a great business with the right support.


“Congratulations to the four start-ups progressing from the programme at this time. We are working towards a flexible programme that provides start-ups with the support they need when they need it. And we continue to invest in the development of the programme to meet the emerging needs of our start-up founders.”


“We at Bank of Ireland are honored to be a part of the fantastic IGNITE program this year,” Knowles continued.


“The founders have inspired us with their ideas and we wish the IGNITE programme every success in the future as it continues to support our budding entrepreneurs of the future.”


IGNITE is a joint initiative of Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County, and UCC to promote entrepreneurship and business creation. It was founded in 2011 and is funded by Bank of Ireland.


Since then, it has worked with more than 160 founders and nearly 140 start-up businesses, helping them launch firms like AnaBio Technologies, ApisProtect, LegitFit, OncoAssist, PunditArena, QuickMinutes, Talivest, Teleatherapy, TrustAp, UrAbility, and Vconnecta.


IGNITE, based at UCC, welcomes all recent graduates from all Irish third level institutions to work full-time on scalable start-up ideas with the potential to have an impact on the economy or society.


Source: Business Plus

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