Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an aviation accelerator in Shannon

24 Jul 2017

Image: SKochnev/Shutterstock

A new start-up accelerator programme targeting the aviation and aerospace ecosystem in Ireland has been created in Shannon.

Propeller Shannon was launched today (24 July) as the world of niche, targeted accelerators hit new heights.

Solely aimed at the aviation and aerospace industry, 10 start-ups will be hosted at a dedicated innovation hub in the Shannon Free Zone adjacent to Shannon Airport.

The three-month programme will help entrepreneurs to “build and commercially validate their technologies”. This will be aided by partner companies such as Boeing and Datalex.

Partnering up

Alongside those two aviation giants, the Propeller Shannon start-up accelerator will see Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre, DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, and Enterprise Ireland get involved.

“A priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help entrepreneurs and companies to start and scale,” said Joe Healy, division manager of High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) at the state body.

“By introducing this accelerator programme [we are] leveraging our strong international reputation as an aviation hub and our world-class start-up ecosystem to allow businesses in this specialised and innovative sector to scale and succeed.”

Last year, Enterprise Ireland sent a team of delegates to crew a pavilion at Farnborough International Airshow, one of the biggest of its kind, to try and entice billions of euro of aerospace business to Ireland.

With Ireland already one of the global centres of the aircraft leasing industry – which contributed to Ireland’s GDP growth of 26pc in 2015 – it was now hoped that the sector, which is valued at €4.1bn and already supports 42,000 jobs, can continue to grow.

Mayday, Mayday!

By May this year, the gears were starting to turn.

Recruitment firm CAE Parc Aviation, for example, recently announced it is to create 80 jobs across the country in Shannon and its new, larger Dublin office.

So, accelerators such as Propeller Shannon make a fair bit of sense.

Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group, said: “Over the years, Shannon has been home to innovations such as the world’s first duty free and the first free zone, as well as GPA, who pioneered the aircraft leasing industry.

“I’m delighted that Shannon will now be home to a new generation of aviation entrepreneurs, and we are very grateful to Enterprise Ireland for recognising the importance of the aviation industry for Ireland and for its generous support.

“The accelerator programme will help drive the development of innovative Irish and international start-up aviation companies and participate in their success, with a goal of producing companies of global significance from Ireland.”

Applications are now open for potential teams or individuals, both in Ireland and from overseas, working in the aviation, aerospace and travel tech sectors.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic