Rapid business incubation centres aimed at nurturing Ireland’s entrepreneurial talent will play an even more important role in ensuring the country’s continued economic prosperity and vibrancy, LEAP programme manager Graham Royce has said.
LEAP is a programme for start-up companies run by the Enterprise Acceleration Centre (EAC), a business incubation centre located on the Moylish park campus at Limerick Institute of Technology, which serves the midwest region of Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
Speaking at the Enterprise Acceleration Centre Business Plan Competition 2008 awards ceremony on Monday, Royce said programmes such as LEAP and Genesis in Cork would drive growth in the economy in the years ahead.
“While the LEAP businesses are unique in terms of market focus and technology, the companies helped each other immensely during what is a critical phase in their development in their first year,” he said.
He acknowledged that the real success of the LEAP programme and the EAC will be measured by the success of client companies over the next five to 10 years.
“The LEAP companies are still at an early stage of development but they all have the potential to win the sales that will provide a platform for hig- quality employment in the region.
“The EAC is a significant asset in assisting indigenous start-up business and represents a valuable and practical approach to regional development,” he concluded.
Michael O’Sullivan, one of the founders of LEAP client company Oisemer, won first prize of €5,000 in the Enterprise Acceleration Centre Business Plan Competition 2008 for his funding proposal.
Oisemer provides a timetabling service to the education sector, primarily secondary schools. Newly introduced to the market, its product reduces headteachers’ workload.
Gerard O’Sullivan of Trecal won third prize of €2,000 for the best business plan. Trecal provides tailor-made calibration scheduling software for calibration laboratories and its customers in aviation and other sectors.
Rounding out the €10,000 prize money was second-prize winner Eugene Crimmins of the Irish Bread Mix Company, which took home €3,000 for innovation and market entry.
This year’s LEAP programme featured several other promising technology start-ups including ARV Excellence, which delivers risk management and operational excellence products with a specialty in life science and medical devices, interactive design company Tricycle and sports-oriented social networking platform Sportalks.
By Niall Byrne