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Start-ups at UCC

Eu-Xcel joins the start-up supports at UCC's Western Gateway Building

Eu-Xcel joins the start-up supports at UCC's Western Gateway Building

  • 22 Jun 2015

UCC to host Eu-Xcel European-wide entrepreneurial competition on George Boole Day. 

UCC is to host a European-wide entrepreneurial competition on November 2, which is George Boole Day. This is most appropriate because the start-ups are all in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the origins of which lie in Boole’s mathematical discoveries. This is the first year of the Horizon 2020-funded entrepreneurial programme promoting European innovation through a novel virtual accelerator programme. With so many mobile applications and digital technologies in development, it is fitting to host the Eu-Xcel Ultimate Challenge Final here during the George Boole bicentennial year. 

The focus upon innovative research at UCC nurtures a culture where students, recent graduates, and future applicants can apply their insights to revolutionise business. Every day, our outreach initiatives bring the intellectual life of the university to the public. This week alone campus has hosted some of brightest and best at the National Student Enterprise Business Boot camp and the Eu-Excel Cork Start-up Scrum. Start-up networking and business development programmes are drawn to the expert advice available from researchers and entrepreneurs in Cork.

At the Eu-Xcel start-up scrum last week, 42 European young entrepreneurs gathered in the Western Gateway Building to form business teams. Over the course of the week, participants networked and assembled into 8 start-up teams with complementary skillsets. Progress has been incredibly quick; on Friday we heard pitches for business proposals tackling health services, productivity tools, and social innovation. The collegial atmosphere is infectious; industry experience among the young professionals allows for incredible insight, seeking solutions using emerging technologies.

From medical devices to mobile apps and CRM – these start-ups could spark better business practices.  The teams develop their ideas in a virtual incubation period and the start-ups scrums will continue across Europe throughout the summer.  The best ideas will go on to participate in the EU-XCEL Ultimate Challenge Final at UCC on George Boole Day. Europe is coming together in Cork to foster the next generation of business.

Entrepreneurism at every age

Student Enterprise awards at UCC this June honor student entrepreneurship.

UCC also advocates for innovation among Secondary school students from all over the country. Seventeen Student Enterprise Award competitors won places at this year’s boot camp, which is being hosted by the College of Business and Law at University College Cork. The students gathered in Cork last week for the Winners’ Boot camp, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices ehlping teens learn the skills to become the entrepreneurs of the future. Throughout the specially-designed programme, the young students grew their understanding of the business world, gaining new perspectives and accessing expertise from successful entrepreneurs such as Brendan Finucane of Vconnecta, Stephanie Lynch of and Marie Martin, the young inventor behind the Safe Scrub Sprayer.

Project Manager with the College of Business and Law at UCC, Anne Wallace said: “Working closely with Eamon Curtin and the team with the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme, we’ve developed a programme that will challenge, excite and motivate these young entrepreneurs. It’s fitting that the Winners’ Boot camp for pioneering young entrepreneurs is being hosted at UCC this year, as the College celebrates the bicentenary of George Boole in 2015, another pioneer in his field.”

Infrastructure for Start-ups

Programme events like these are just the beginning when it comes to start-up supports at UCC. Students are being encouraged to develop their own ideas. The Ignite Programme, for example, was first launched in 2010 to encourage recent graduates to launch businesses. The international mentorship programme assists young people in a collaborative environment, holding workshops and seminars about financial planning and business models. Office accommodation and funding supports set Ignite apart. The guidance these entrepreneurs receive is unsurpassed and to-date over 50 start-ups have emerged from this unique programme.

Ignite Programme at UCC nurtures graduate entrenpreneurs from business idea to start-up, this image captures the current Ignite cohort of companies

Gateway UCC is an incubation space catalysing University-led entrepreneurship. Also based on campus at the Western Gateway building in Cork, they are currently home to 20 start-up companies and have supported companies in creating 150 jobs today. In many cases, these companies are commercialising research which has been undertaken across the University.

For example, Alimentary Health is one such company which has been able to spin-out highly specialised medical research at UCC into a pioneering pharmabiotic company. In business for over a decade, their mission is focused on developing clinically supported micro biome based healthcare and nutritional products that health professionals can believe in. Their advanced line of pro-biotics Alforex has won the 2015 prize for SME from the US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards with the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy. This company is finally delivering the therapeutic promise of bacteria found in the human gut microbiome.

Researchers and students alike are changing the face of research on campus. One UCC-led start-up called the Founder’s Market actually aims to connect fellow student entrepreneurs to potential partners. Isn’t that the very first step to turning ideas into reality?

The promise of revolutionary ideas and advanced research will reward entrepreneurs willing to take the risk. Start-up supports at University College Cork help students along this path at every stage. Our infrastructure for education and learning is growing to accommodate the life cycle of ideas, from inspiration and innovation through to income and incorporation.


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