Four start-ups recognised at UCC Ignite awards –

The Food allergy management system TrustDish and sustainable fast fashion start-up Fash Forward won the top prizes at the UCC event.

A group of promising start-ups were showcased at University College Cork’s (UCC) Ignite award ceremony, highlighting the top talent in the programme.

Food allergy systems, fast fashion ideas and technology around repurposing EV batteries were some of the top business ideas pitched at the event last night (8 November), which take place at The Hub at UCC.

Six participants of the Ignite programme pithed their businesses to an event full of entrepreneurs and investors. They were competing for two main awards, the Bank of Ireland Investor Pathway Award and the Local Enterprise Office Revenue Pathway Award.

Two men and two women on a staircase, holding Ignite awards.

From left, BlueDawn Agency founder Marek Zbanski, Volta Robotics founder Elvis Seporaitis, TrustDish founder Shannen O’Reilly and Fash Forward founder Ailis Crowley. Image: Joleen Cronin

Shannen O’Reilly of TrustDush won the Investor Pathway Award. Her company is developing an allergy management system that aims to support people with food allergies when dining outside of their home.

Meanwhile, Ailis Crowley of FASH Forward won the Revenue Pathway Award. This start-up partners with a network of sustainable brands to host sustainability workshops on repair and upcycling. The company aims to save 1m items from landfill by 2030.

Other awardees on the night were Elvis Seporaitis of Volta Robotics – which won of the Bank of Ireland Investor Pitch Award – and Marek Zbanski of BlueDawn Agency, the winner of the Local Enterprise Office Sales Pitch Award.

Volta Robotics is working with an automated process to disassemble, sort and repurposing EV batteries, while BlueDawn Agency is a digital marketing service that aims to help businesses grow their ecommerce platforms.

Ignite director Eamon Curtin said it has been a “very busy year” for both past and present participants on the Ignite programme. The UCC programme has worked with 170 start-ups in the past 12 years and claims these companies have created more than 370 jobs.

“We are especially proud of the numerous awards that have been won by programme alumni,” Curtin said. “We were delighted to welcome everyone to UCC this evening for what was a great showcase of the business ideas that our participants have been working on.”

The event also had Mark O’Sullivan attend as a guest speaker. O’Sullivan co-founded the newborn brain monitoring tech company Neurobell.

“It was wonderful to also welcome back Mark O’Sullivan who talked about his own business story,” Curtin said. “Mark is a great example of what can be achieved from dedication and hard work.”

Applications are now open for the next Ignite programme, which is scheduled to begin in January. Earlier this year, Creative clothing designer Zirkulu and assistive technology developer Assistiv took the top awards at the Ignite Spring showcase.

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