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Advisory Board

Dan Byrne

Dan Byrne - IGNITEDan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Lincor Inc.

He was a senior director of Apple Inc’s European Operations based in Paris, France before moving to California to become a worldwide Vice President for Apple Inc. After Apple, he was Vice President of European Operations for Digital Equipment Corporation’s Personal Computer Division. He co-founded Lincor Inc. a healthcare IT company with two ex-colleagues from Apple Computer where he remains as a Board member. He also acts as Chairman of a number of Irish technology companies.

Dan was a finalist in the 2010 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in recognition of his achievements in business.

He is a graduate of University College Cork holding a BE (Electrical Engineering).

Ciara Crossan

Ciara Crossan, CEO and Founder at WeddingDates, is an acclaimed figure in the hospitality industry in Ireland and the UK.

Ciara established WeddingDates in 2008, as a directory for couples focusing on date availability. Today, the WedPro software platform addresses wedding venues' capacity and conversion challenges, driving revenue growth through strategic insights and reporting.

A graduate of University College Cork holding a BA in Business Information Systems, Ciara recently obtained a Postgrad in International Sales at TU Dublin. Ciara is an accredited Thought Leader in International Hospitality Marketing through the All Ireland Business Foundation, a Vital Voices Global Ambassador, and won Businesswoman of the Year with Network Ireland Cork in 2019. 

Ciara is committed to promoting women in leadership and men as allies. She has recently founded Boys4Better, dedicated to allyship for boys aged 9-12.

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy


Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy is Co-Founder and CEO of ApisProtect. The business was founded in 2017 to bring ground breaking technology to commercial beekeeping and followed her award-winning PhD research in this area at UCC.

She was included on the 2021 Forbes Europe's 30 Under 30 list in the Manufacturing and Industry Category.She was recognised by the Irish Technology Group as one of their 2020 Silicon Valley 50 Honorees and won the Silicon Valley Forum Women in Tech Pitch Competition 2020.  She was listed by FoodTank as one of 15 Leading Women at the Intersection of Food and Technology in February 2021.

Fiona lectures in entrepreneurship and innovation at UCC. She holds a BE in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from UCC, and completed her PhD with the School of Engineering, and the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UCC.

Mark Hurley

Mark Hurley - IGNITEMark is Country Manager UK/Ireland at Chr Hansen A/S.

His early career was as Research Scientist at University College Cork and then Teagasc before joining Chr Hansen as Sales and Marketing Manager for dairy ingredients business in Ireland. He rose through a number of management roles before being appointed Country Manager for UK and Ireland in 2004.

Mark holds an MSc and BSc from University College Cork.

Aiden Lee

Aiden Lee - IGNITEAiden is Founder and Managing Director of Eolas International.

Aiden set up his first business in 1997 before founding Eolas International in 2002. The company provides market research, sensory research, lab research and consumer research services to a wide range of clients worldwide.

Aiden was a finalist in the 2010 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in recognition of his achievements in business.

Aiden holds a BSc (Food Chemistry) from University College Cork and an MSc (International Business) from Trinity College Dublin.

Dick Lehane - Chairman

Dick Lehane - IGNITEDick has over 40 year’s multinational experience, serving with General Electric Corp, Wang Laboratories and EMC Corporation. He joined EMC as General Manager of the company’s new facility in Cork, Ireland and was subsequently appointed to Senior Vice President of EMC Corporation World Wide Manufacturing based in Hopkinton, MA, USA.

Now retired from EMC, Dick sits on a number of boards including those of Seabrook Technology Group and Wisetek.

Dick’s achievements in business were recognised with an Outstanding Achievement in Business Award from Cork Chamber in 2016.

Dick holds a BE (Electrical Engineering) from University College Cork, an MBA from University College Galway and an MS in Management from Trinity College, Dublin.

Pat Lynch

Pat Lynch - IGNITEPat is a successful serial entrepreneur, business owner, angel investor and author. He is CEO at EviView, Finance Director at Compliance & Risks and sits on a number of Boards including those of Inhance Technology and Omnivend Systems.

He founded his first business Microtech Cleanroom Services in 1998 after leaving Seagate Technology where he was Finance Director.

Pat was a finalist in the 2018 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in recognition of his achievements in business.

Pat has an MBA from The Open University.

Dave Ronayne

Dave Ronayne - IGNITEDave is Chairman and CEO of Irish Mainport Holdings, a provider of support vessels and managed services to the specialist marine industry.

Dave was a finalist in the 2007 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in recognition of his achievements in business.

He holds a BComm from University College Cork.

Dr Sally Cudmore

Sally is the Director of Innovation at University College Cork. She oversees activities to encourage and support innovation across the University. The office has responsibility for capturing, protecting and licencing intellectual property, supporting spin-out companies, and promoting collaborations and partnerships with industry, through research collaborations and consultancy.

Prior to joining UCC Innovation Sally worked as the General Manager at APC Microbiome Institute. Sally holds a biochemistry degree from UCC and a Ph.D. from the Cell Biology Programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. This was followed by EMBO and HFSP postdoctoral fellowships for cytoskeleton research at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

John Forde

IGNITE_Advisor_John Forde_205x205_circleJohn has significant experience in strategic planning and economic development in the public sector.

He is Senior Executive Officer at the Directorate for Economic Development, Enterprise & Tourism at Cork County Council with specific responsibility for economic development and was formerly Director at the South West Regional Authority.

John holds a BEng (Civil Engineering) and an MBA both from Queen's University Belfast.

Dr Rónán O’Dubhghaill

Ronan O'Dubhgaill - IGNITERónán is the Vice-President for External Relations at University College Cork.

Prior to joining UCC,  Rónán worked with EMC Corporation as Senior Director of Engineering and Operational Excellence and held roles with responsibility for supply-base management, new product introduction, engineering and operational excellence. Rónán also worked with Bourns Electronics and Farran Technology and had 19 years industry experience prior to joining UCC in 2006.

Rónán holds BE (Elec) and PhD degrees from University College Cork and an MBA from Henley Management College.

Dr Niall O’Keeffe

Niall is Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office, Cork City

Niall has worked in the development of enterprise and social services in Ireland and internationally for over 20 years, 12 of which were at CEO level. He oversees the implementation of a wide range of initiatives which aim to strengthen and grow businesses based in Cork City. Supports range from grant aid for manufacturing and internationally traded service companies to a suite of soft supports such as mentoring and management development training for all small businesses.

Sean O’Sullivan

Sean O'SullivanSean has extensive experience in enterprise development at regional and national level.

He is Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office for South Cork having formerly been CEO at South Cork Enterprise Board.

Sean holds a BComm from University College Cork.

UCC Students' Union President - Colm Foley

Colm is the President of the Students' Union in UCC. Colm serves as the principal representative of the UCC Student body. He proudly represents over 24,000 students on various committees throughout the university, including the UCC Governing Authority, which plays a crucial role in making strategic decisions for the university.

Colm recently graduated from Commerce International with German in UCC. Throughout his time in college, he was a prominent member of the UCC Commerce Society, holding the position of Vice-Chairperson in his final year. During this he became interested in entrepreneurship and working with start-ups. 

Thanks to the IGNITE funded start-up Nternz, Colm secured a job with Cork-based start-up He went on to work part-time with the team at HomeHak alongside his studies, gaining an invaluable insight into the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship.


Clár Gnó Iarchéime IGNITE

Western Gateway Building, University College Cork