Cost and time-saving solutions stand out at Jumpstart 2011

29 Jul 2011

Safefood 360, based at the LINC incubator at Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, has won the Jumpstart 2011 competition and a prize worth €25,000.

Co-founded by former food technologist and consultant George Howlett and IT professional Philip Gillen, Safefood 360 has developed a food safety management system for food processing plants globally.

The web-based system allows food processing businesses to manage all aspects of food safety in one fully integrated solution. 

Launched in April 2011, the founders say it has been well received from the food industry globally and has already received interest from plants on five continents. A number of sales have been closed to date, including in the US and Saudi Arabia, and the company is soon to meet with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Safefood 360’s progress with its business model, as well as the fact it had secured funding from a private investor and Enterprise Ireland, which will total €500,000, particularly impressed the judging panel.

Special award for Woods Whelan

Brendan Woods of Woods Whelan won a special award at Jumpstart 2011, which will mean six months of free incubation space with mentoring support from the LINC. 

Trading since September 2009, the company has developed a trademark solution called AutoRec to automate the accounting task of performing a bank reconciliation. It employs optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read transactional data from printed bank statements and then cleanses, validates and consolidates the data before automating the process of performing bank reconciliations. It saves about 85pc of the time taken to do this manually.

One of the judges, Gavin Duffy, said Safefood 360 showed the benefits of start-ups being well supported in an incubator programme like the LINC and the award to Woods was merited because he demonstrated all the qualities of an entrepreneur driving a start-up with great potential.

Jump Start 2011 is supported by AIB, Fingal County Enterprise Board and Enterprise Ireland.

Photo: Jumpstart 2011 winners George Howlett and Phillip Gillen