Have a Dream to Start Your Own Business in Ireland?

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IGNITE 2015 Founders with UCC President Michael Murphy at IGNITE 2015 Awards and Showcase June 2015

Did you know that the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme at UCC has supported 70 graduates to launch 50 start-ups in the last 5 years? Many of these start-ups are now sustainable businesses, active in international markets, having raised private investment and built teams of up to 20 staff.

IGNITE is a 9 month programme that supports recent 3rd level graduates to develop an innovative product or service idea into a sustainable business. The programme combines workshops, seminars and guest speakers, the support of mentors and industry contacts with office space, and early seed funding- everything that is needed to get a start-up off the ground.

Participants (founders) to date have included graduates with degrees in arts, science, engineering, and business and have typically been between 23 and 29 years of age.

Among our founders are:

  • Dr. Sinead Bleiel (Doherty), a Teagasc/UCC postgraduate, who founded Anabio Technologies Ltd (anabio.ie) in 2012. The company has developed a number of technologies in the field of encapsulation and has licensing agreements with food, pharma, and veterinary product companies worldwide.
  • BSc (Government) graduate Jayne Ronayne and BComm graduate Helen Flynn are co-founders of KonnectAgain (konnectagain.com). The business helps alumni relations officers manage, engage, and support their alumni. KonnectAgain evolved from an original idea UrYearBook that Ronayne co-founded with David Murray in 2012.
  • Brendan Finucane, BSc (Business Information Systems), is founder of Vconnecta and developer of Ecanvasser (ecanvasser.com): an innovative smartphone enabled voter relationship management tool. The product was first deployed by many election candidates in the Irish local elections of 2014 and has since secured sales in the US and Canada.
  • Ross O’Dwyer BComm & Richard Barrett BEd (Sports Studies and Physical Education) met on IGNITE. They founded Punditarena, (punditarena.com), an online social sports platform that enables sport enthusiasts to share news and views on all matters sport. The website reached a significant milestone in August with over 1 million unique visitors in one month.


But IGNITE isn’t just for Irish graduates. IGNITE 2015 included international student Peter Marcano. Marcano completed a MBS (Business Information Systems) in 2014 before joining IGNITE to develop a password-less solution for computer access. He has since returned to the USA where he continues to develop his business: Rack5.

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Peter Marcano, founder of Rack5 receiving the IGNITE 2015 Peer Award from John Fuller of JW O’Donovan Solicitors

Looking forward, IGNITE 2016 includes Alpa Agrawal from India. A Chemical Engineering graduate, Agrawal completed a MSc (Innovation Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship) in UCC in 2014 and is now developing a chemical compounds business in Cork.

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Alpa Agrawal, founder of Allmin Resources Ireland Ltd

To learn more about IGNITE, please visit our website http://ignite.ucc.ie, watch our IGNITE 2015 Awards last June on video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnQb4XV7YU0, and check out our blog at http://igniteblog.ucc.ie/. Additionally, we’re on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uccignite, on Twitter at the handle @IGNITEUCC, and we have a LinkedIn group found under the name “IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme”. Finally, you can always contact us directly by email at ignite@ucc.ie.

The programme is funded by Cork City and County Councils through the respective Economic Development Funds, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and Council, Bank of Ireland, and University College Cork.


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