It’s a Sprint finish in Cork as UCC accelerator programme launches

5 May 20171 Share

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From left: Dr Gerry Sutton, MaREI research centre; Dr Anne Moore, UCC School of Pharmacy; Dr Michael O’Connor, MaREI Research Centre. All three are participants in Sprint II. Image: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

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The Sprint accelerator programme at UCC’s Gateway innovation hub is celebrating its second year with a new cohort of start-ups.

A new batch of 12 start-ups are taking part in Sprint II, the accelerator programme at Gateway, the innovation hub of University College Cork (UCC).

The chosen participants are developing services for a number of industries and issues, including infant neurology, irritable bowel syndrome, renewable energy, data analytics and scientific instrumentation.

Established as a support programme for spin-out and researcher-led UCC start-ups seeking accommodation in the Gateway hub, Sprint’s second coming was revealed today (5 May) by Prof Patrick O’Shea, president of the university.

“Research in our technology centres and institutes is delivering valuable and novel solutions to many of the issues we face today,” said Myriam Cronin, manager of Gateway UCC.

“Supporting innovators from idea generation to start-up, with a particular focus on commercialisation of research, has been key to the success of Gateway UCC, now recognised as a leading innovation and incubation centre nationally.

“Following the success of Sprint, we have adapted and grown the accelerator programme this year, and we are delighted to announce a second programme.”

Since opening in 2011, Gateway UCC claims that the start-ups that have come through its hub – numbered in the 40s – now employ 250 people and contribute an estimated €15m in wages and €5m in tax to the local economy.

Calling it a “true example of the ‘triple helix’ at work”, O’Shea lauded the coming together of academia, government and industry, before highlighting the effectiveness of Sprint by lauding last year’s stand-out participant.

O’Shea presented the an award to medical device start-up Skellig Surgical, which focuses on the development of user-centred, minimally invasive technology. The company made news in January when its first commercial product – designed to manipulate organs that obscure and limit the ability to perform keyhole surgery – was licensed.

O’Shea also presented an award to Food Choice at Work, a start-up developing a management system for healthy eating in the workplace. Both companies are resident in Gateway UCC, employing 12 people between them.

Sprint is the second accelerator to open in Ireland this month, after NDRC, Enterprise Ireland and PorterShed revealed a new programme in Galway. The PorterShed accelerator is supported by Galway City Innovation District, with Enterprise Ireland focused on a national project to grow the number of quality start-ups.

Entry will be through a competitive process designed to find and support those digital companies with the best potential for growth and expansion. Applications can be made through NDRC.ie.

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com