News and Views

Start-ups Graduate From UCC IGNITE Programme Ready To Grow Their Businesses

23 Apr 2021
Patrick O’Regan, Founder of Reach The Top, winner of the IGNITE Award for Best Business 2021

Start-ups ranging from a smart sleeping mask to helping people secure basketball scholarships in the US have graduated from the IGNITE programme at UCC. 

Seven entrepreneurs have become the first founders to complete the IGNITE programme entirely online this year. IGNITE nurtures start-ups from an idea to commercial reality and this is the 13th group of graduates to complete the programme. The most recent programme at the award-winning incubation has taken place with the IGNITE Awards and Showcase for Spring 2021. The ceremony took place via webinar. 

Among the start-ups showcased were Pitseal which is an edible biofilm that replaces plastic sheeting on silage bales and Cardio Flourish, a web-based platform that provides remote cardiac rehabilitation. 

The winner of the IGNITE Award for Best Business was: Patrick O’Regan, Founder of Reach The Top.  ReachTheTop is a platform to streamline basketball scholarships in the USA. It helps colleges reduce the cost associated with the NCAA recruitment of athletes by eliminating the need to travel extensively.

Other winners on the night were

Best Business Plan Award: Niall Crowley, Co-founder Basevault

Best Video Pitch Award: Eric Teahan, Founder Eclipse Sleep Bliss

The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is hosted by University College Cork and is 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: “We are proud of the hard work and dedication of all our founders in developing their start-up ideas in what are very challenging times. This is the 13th cohort to come through IGNITE and those involved join a growing network of successful founders who started their start-up journeys on IGNITE. We are always open for expressions of interest from recent graduates from any discipline, from any third-level institution in Ireland with a viable business idea.”

Professor John Cryan, the Vice President for Research and Innovation at UCC said: “The IGNITE programme is one example of UCC leading in the field of innovation. The start-ups graduating this evening have diverse academic backgrounds from English and History to Nutrition. I am passionate about bringing together all disciplines making UCC a campus of Creativity, Curiosity and Critical Thinking; the IGNITE programme embodies those ideals.”

Brendan Reddin of Bank of Ireland, who chaired the awards adjudication panel said: “Once again, we at Bank of Ireland are delighted to be part of the IGNITE programme. It is a fantastic programme that helps to support entrepreneurs. We are always inspired by the founders at IGNITE, their ideas and the quality of their pitches and business plans.”

IGNITE is always seeking expressions of interest from people who would like to take part in the programme.

This year’s finalists also included:

James O’Brien, DESDI: DESDI connects architects and designers to clients in real-time, with data held in an accessible and comprehensive database. 

Brian Mallen, BRIDGE: BRIDGE helps businesses develop and communicate sustainable practices with their staff, community and the environment which ensures responsible management and longevity of business.

Eric Teahan, Eclipse Sleep Bliss: Eclipse Sleep Bliss is a smart-health company developing Smart Sleeping Masks to improve health through better sleep.

Kevin Murphy, Cardio Flourish: Cardio Flourish is a web-based platform that provides remote cardiac rehabilitation. It allows for efficient monitoring between therapist and client, offering an alternative to institutional-based cardiac rehab.

Niall Crowley, Basevault: Basevault is a modular capital markets technology platform that makes it easier for companies, such as wealth management firms, brokers, and banks, to automate internal processes and deliver new experiences to clients.

Marion Cantillon, Pitseal: Pitseal is an edible biofilm that replaces plastic sheeting in the silage process. Reducing plastic waste and improving greenhouse gas emissions in farming. Transforming farming into a more sustainable and eco-friendly operation.


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