By the end of this year, nine start-ups based at the LIT Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre expect to employ 200 people between them.
The nine companies, which have collectively raised €2m in funding so far, have a potential value of €20m to the Irish economy.
“Entrepreneurship is key to the long-term growth and sustainability of the Irish economy,” Gillian Barry, LIT Enterprise Development manager, said.
“We have an incredible spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship coming through in LIT’s six enterprise centres and our regional, national and international networks. Our focus is on capturing and nurturing this so that the companies get every possible support to fulfil the enormous potential we see in them.”
The nine companies – all of which are high potential start-ups (HPSUs) supported by Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme – were among those recognised at the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Ceremony, hosted in LIT.
Among the other businesses recognised were 14 start-ups on the LEAP programme based in the NFC City Incubator on O’Connell Street in Limerick, which between them have turnover of almost €1m.
Entrepreneur of the Year
The overall New Frontiers Entrepreneur of the Year Award was won by Wild Irish Seaweed, based at LIT’s Hartnett Business Centre and with processing facilities in Quilty, Co Clare. Evan Talty, who leads Wild Irish Seaweed, received his award from Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland regional director.
Wild Irish Seaweed currently employs 22 people and has food and cosmetic products in stores nationally and internationally.
The New Frontiers One to Watch Award was won by Hannah Wrixton, founder of LastMinuteMinders.com. The business provides childminding support to private and corporate clients, and has grown by 180pc in the last year.
The New Frontiers Special Commendation Award went to Robert Laffan of Sadicom for his product, Tippy Talk, which he developed to enable communication with people who are non-verbal. Laffan originally developed Tippy Talk to communicate with his daughter.
The LEAP Startup of the Year Award went to UJET Group, based in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare and led by Aidan O’Leary and Allan Dunne, which has already become a global leader in providing interior refurbishment solutions for commercial aircraft interiors.
The LEAP One to Watch Award was presented to Steve Cunneen of Treaty City Brewing Co, while the winner of the LEAP Best Innovation Award was Kevin McNamara, founder of High Design, also based in the NFC.