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nternz Wins IGNITE Best Business Award

26 Oct 2022

nternz, a professional social network platform designed and optimised specifically for college students has been named Bank of Ireland/IGNITE Best Business.


24 graduate and student start-up founders were introduced at the IGNITE Awards and Showcase at University College Cork. The IGNITE programme at University College Cork (UCC), which nurtures start-ups from idea stage to commercial reality, held its Awards and Showcase in The Hub, UCC on Tuesday 25 October. 

Twenty start-up founders were introduced at the event with backgrounds in science, engineering, business and the arts, working on ideas in areas such as renewable energy, the circular economy, health and wellbeing and business services including four shortlisted start-up founders who pitched their business ideas to the audience of entrepreneurs, business owners and investors.

This year's event also featured UCC’s four students who have received QUERCUS scholarships for their achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The four IGNITE start-ups that pitched for the awards are Nternz, a professional social network platform designed to allow students to discover and connect with careers and companies and build their professional work experience, RecruitRoo providing companies with access to global talent by building technology solutions that reduce friction of screening, migration and onboarding, FemToFire is building a technology platform to help assess and locate fire risks within forests and SimpleScents is Ireland’s first ever fragrance subscription service.

The awards were determined by an adjudication panel of Mark Knowles of Bank of Ireland, entrepreneur Kate Hyde of Glencove Ltd and investment advisor Ted Foley of CorkBIC.

The winners on the night were: 

Overall Bank of Ireland Best Business Award Winner: Paddy O’Toole – nternz

Best Business Plan Award Winner: Stephen MacCarthy – RecruitRoo 

Louis Walsh, Founder of FEMTOFIRE - winner of Best Pitch

IGNITE is delivered by University College Cork and supported by Bank of Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City, South Cork and North and West Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council. 

IGNITE Director Eamon Curtin said: “It is 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 development of the programme to meet the emerging needs of our start-up founders.”

Mark Knowles, Manager with Bank of Ireland said: “We at Bank of Ireland are honoured to be part of the fantastic IGNITE programme this year.  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.”

If you are interested in finding out how IGNITE can help you start your business, click here.

Since 2011, IGNITE has been supporting entrepreneurs through the early stages of their start-up journey and the 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.


This year’s graduates were: 

Patrick O’Toole, Bsc Government and Political Science, 2021 - UCC

Founder of nternz ( a professional social network platform designed and optimised specifically for college students. Students will be able to discover and connect with careers and companies that reflect their own interests and values, build their professional work experience, and earn some much needed additional income.

Stephen MacCarthy, BSc Science (Health & Performance) - UCD. MSc in Management Consultancy - Smurfit

Co-Founder of RecruitRoo - Providing companies with access to global talent by building technology solutions that reduce the friction of screening, migration & onboarding.

Louis Walsh, BA Digital Humanities and Information Technology, 2021 - UCC

Founder of FEMTOFIRE, a Forest Fire Risk Assessment System that helps professionals in the forestry industry locate and identify fire risks within forests. 

Niall Brennan, BBus Business Studies - MTU Cork 2021

Founder of SimpleScents, Ireland's first perfume/cologne subscription service. Users will receive a monthly supply of their choice of designer scents so they can test, discover and explore a new designer scent each month without having to commit to the purchase of a full bottle. 


Clár Gnó Iarchéime IGNITE

Western Gateway Building, University College Cork