Milis Bio wins at IGNITE Awards & Showcase 2018

20 Sep 2018

Success has a low-calorie flavour as Milis Bio is named Bank of Ireland/IGNITE Business of the Year 2018.

Milis Bio, a company which designs protein based low-calorie flavourings, has been named as the Bank of Ireland/IGNITE Business of the Year for 2018.

Milis Bio intends to offer ingredients designed bespoke and licensed exclusively to each client, offering not only a flavouring solution, but also defensible competitive advantage within their sector.

Milis Bio CEO Mike Sheehan was recognised at the annual IGNITE Awards & Showcase held in UCC’s Devere Hall on the evening of Thursday, September 20th. 

The IGNITE event celebrated the achievements of the 8th cohort of Recent Graduate Entrepreneurs who participated in the 12 month, international award winning, business incubation programme. In 2018, IGNITE introduced a second annual cohort of participants, who are now six months into the programme. These young entrepreneurs showcased their business proposition at the event. Ten aspiring Recent Graduate Entrepreneurs, who are about to commence the programme, were also in attendance on the night. 

Milis Bio is currently pursuing fundraising and partnership to complete a pilot of their first novel low-calorie sweet protein, and as part of their prize package received an offer of a €20,000 investment from angel investors. 

The  IGNITE programme focuses on innovative business models to ensure competitiveness and scalability; validating the business model to ensure the business idea is robust enough to succeed; and developing soft personal skills needed to network, pitch, sell and survive in today’s competitive marketplace. 

Milis Bio also scooped the award for Best Business Plan sponsored by KPMG; while this year’s Innovation Award sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn was presented to Ian Curtin and Stephen Buckley of BioBind, a company that creates custom imaging solutions for Life Science researchers. 

The awards judging panel consisted of Seán Byerley, Head of Bank of Ireland - Cork City; Ann Marie Fewer - Head of Operations, Bank of Ireland - Cork City; Tony Barry, CEO - Barry’s Tea; Fintan Walshe, Director - KPMG; and Eoghan Doolan - Associate Solicitor, Ronan Daly Jermyn.

Awards were presented in front of an invited audience including Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn and Cllr Frank O’Flynn, deputising for the Mayor of County Cork.

High praise for the young entrepreneurs came from chair of the judging panel Seán Byerley, Head of Bank of Ireland - Cork City, who said “The quality of the presentations delivered by IGNITE participating companies is always extremely high and this year was certainly no different. Many of these exciting start-ups are well on the pathway to success. They are generating revenue, raising finance, and they are already making an impact in their respective sectors. Each of the start-ups that presented and showcased impressed the judging panel with their business acumen, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to their respective companies.” 

Almost 100 entrepreneurs, business owners, industry executives and UCC staff have contributed to the success of the programme over the past 12 months. Commenting on this, Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Director said “The IGNITE programme goes from strength to strength each year. We have doubled our capacity to support up to 20 start-ups in two cohorts per year, and IGNITE is on track to support 100 new startups in line with UCC’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2022. UCC’s outstanding and ever-strengthening support for new start-ups and recent graduate entrepreneurs is a testament to the business development ethos flowing through the University. We in IGNITE are extremely proud of the success of the programme and of everything our participating entrepreneurs have achieved so far.” 

Notable past winners of the IGNITE Business of the Year Awards include Dr Sinead Bleiel (Doherty) of AnaBio Technologies Ltd., Dr Fiona Edwards-Murphy of ApisProtect and Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett of PunditArena. 

Supported by Bank of Ireland, Musgrave Group, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County and University College Cork, IGNITE is open to all recent graduates from any discipline and from any 3rd level institution in Ireland.


Clár Gnó Iarchéime IGNITE

Western Gateway Building, University College Cork