E-learning platform for data skills takes top prize at UCC Ignite awards

29 Apr 2022

From left: Buildzon founder Monika Wojtek, Sunny Numbers founder Cleidi Hearn, and Training Reels founder Luke Murphy. Image: Joleen Cronin

Cleidi Hearn’s Sunny Numbers was named ‘best business’ at the latest UCC Ignite programme for graduate entrepreneurs.

Sunny Numbers, an e-learning platform for data skills, took the top prize at the latest Ignite programme showcase at University College Cork (UCC).

Founder Cleidi Hearn claimed the prize for best business at the event yesterday (28 April), where attendees heard pitches from the start-ups that have just completed the incubator for graduate entrepreneurs.

The Sunny Numbers platform is powered by peer support to help individuals and business teams that want to build their data skills, including statistics, Python for data analysis and data visualisation.

Hearn was one of 20 Ignite start-up founders at the event, who are all at different stages of their company’s journey.

Ignite is an incubator programme based at UCC that helps graduates turn their ideas into fully fledged businesses. It is a joint initiative by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork and UCC to encourage entrepreneurship.

The programme is open to recent graduates from all third-level institutions in Ireland to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea with potential for commercial or social impact.

Since its founding in 2011, Ignite has worked with around 150 start-ups including AnaBio TechnologiesApisProtect, Ecanvasser, LegitFitEziVein, QuickMinutes, Talivest, Traxsit, Trustap and UrAbility.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to showcase the founders who are working full-time on their start-up ideas with the support of Ignite,” said Eamon Curtin, Ignite director.

Monika Wojtek also won the award for best pitch award at yesterday’s event for her start-up Buildzon.

Buildzon is an online building materials platform that aims to help buyers access a network of established suppliers. The company offers services such as real-time access to prices from multiple vendors, volume discount transparency and a tracking system.

Meanwhile, Luke Murphy received the best business plan award for his start-up Training Reels.

This is a self-service video studio located in enterprise centres, described as a “photo booth for marketing videos”. The company aims to help marketing professionals and founders create inexpensive, weekly marketing videos.

Bank of Ireland manager Pat Healy chaired the adjudication panel and announced the award winners at the event.

“It is an honour to be a part of the Ignite programme and we love hearing from Ireland’s future entrepreneurs,” Healy said. “The Ignite programme at UCC is a fantastic opportunity for those who want to establish their own business, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Along with the start-ups that won awards, other participants at the event included:

Nathan Kirwan, Chariot

Chariot is designing sustainable and ethical clothing. The company aims to make clothes that are inclusive and “eco-conscious by nature”.

Louis Walsh, FemToFire

FemToFire is a forest fire system that aims to help professionals in the forestry industry locate and identify fire risks.

Paddy O’Toole, Nternz

Nternz is a freelance internship marketplace designed to connect students to short and medium-term business projects relevant to their career, so they can “earn while they learn”.

Stephen MacCarthy, RecruitRoo

RecruitRoo is looking to help companies hire globally through the use of virtual assessments and a digitised immigration process.

Niall Brennan, SimpleScents

SimpleScents is designing a perfume and cologne subscription service. Users receive a monthly supply of their choice of designer scents so they can test a new scent each month without having to commit to purchasing a full bottle.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic