UCC IGNITE Awards celebrate business ideas from budding entrepreneurs

18 Apr 2024

Innovation, sustainability and social impact are at the heart of start-up ideas presented at the IGNITE Awards & Showcase in the Hub, University College Cork last evening, April 17th.

The start-ups are working on innovative new products and services in the areas of water conservation, waste and the circular economy, mental health and wellbeing and recruitment and productivity.

The winners were:

Danny McEnery of PrimaHealth, winner of Bank of Ireland/IGNITE Best Business Award

Ailis Crowley of FASH Forward, winner of Local Enterprise Office/IGNITE Best Business Plan Award.

Ailis was also the winner of the IGNITE Best Pitch Award

The IGNITE Awards and Showcase event provides a unique opportunity for startups to garner recognition and network with industry professionals, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs.

IGNITE Director Eamon Curtin said: "Our finalists this evening have created exciting new businesses that will improve the lives of so many people and we wish them all the very best of luck as they continue on their entrepreneurial journey."

Aileen Broderick, Manager at Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland are delighted to support IGNITE at University College Cork. We are always amazed at the achievements of the participants on the IGNITE programme and we wish them great success as they grow and nurture their business ideas.”

Sean O’Sullivan, Local Enterprise Office South Cork, said: “Congratulations to all the participants on the IGNITE programme who showcased their ideas this evening. The Local Enterprise Offices are pleased to partner with University College Cork in delivering IGNITE and we at the LEOs look forward to continuing to support many of the start-ups into the future.”

IGNITE is based at UCC and is open to anyone who has graduated from a third level institution in recent years and has the passion and ambition to work on an idea that has the potential for economic, environmental or social impact. 

The programme is funded by University College Cork, Bank of Ireland, the three Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City, South Cork and North & West Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council.

The awards were determined by an adjudication panel of Aileen Broderick, Manager at Bank of Ireland; Helen Murphy of Local Enterprise Office Cork City and Pat Lynch, Entrepreneur and Investor.

The finalists were:

Ailis Crowley of FASH Forward: FASH Forward is on a mission to save one million items from landfill by 2030.  The company is networking with sustainability experts to host workshops for organisations to develop the necessary skills to repair, recycle and upcycle fashion items including clothes, footwear and jewellery.

Elaine Moynihan & Katie McShane of WiseWater:  WiseWater is an educational project designed for primary and post-primary students.  Through engaging interactive activities and ​multisensory experiments, students discover the vital ​connection between preserving our water ​environment and nurturing our personal well-being.

Jerome Pan of TalentCen:  TalentCen is a central hub that connects job seekers and companies in a dynamic, engaging, and innovative way.  Moving away from the traditional resume system, TalentCen offers gamified assessments that make the process more interactive and provide a more accurate representation of a person’s skills and potential.

Danny McEnery of PrimaHealth:  PrimaHealth is a trusted adolescent mental health care provider for teenagers aged 12-19 years.  PrimaHealth’s dedicated team of mental health professionals offer reliable online assessment and care nationwide, collaborating closely with parents when guiding adolescents through their challenges.

Press release by Healy Communications.

Photography by Joleen Cronin


Clár Gnó Iarchéime IGNITE

Western Gateway Building, University College Cork