Neurovalens named Northern Ireland’s top start-up

23 Oct 2015

Pictured receiving his Propel NI Company of the Year Award from Invest NI Board Member Padraig Canavan (left), is Dr Jason McKeown, founder of Neurovalens

Neurovalens, creator of a pioneering electronic headset used to tackle the growing obesity problem worldwide, has been named ‘Company of the Year’ at the Invest NI Propel Programme awards.

The company’s Stimu Slim is a small headset-like medical device that targets an area of the brain known to suppress appetite and induces a metabolic shift within the nervous system.

This change reconfigures the internal functions of the body, allowing for a leaner and more athletic body appearance.

Neurovalens, founded by Dromore doctor Jason McKeown, was one of 35 local start-ups accepted onto the 2014/15 Propel Programme, which is aimed at developing export-focused business ideas with high-growth potential.

High standard of start-ups emerges from the North

Other winners on the night included IOLABS, recognised as ‘Breakthrough Company of the Year’. Founded by Barry Barr, Belfast-based IOLABS develops innovative hardware that is used by electronic music composers.

Meanwhile, the ‘Best Go-To-Market Strategy’ Award went to Pokertree, a Tyrone-based microbrewery founded by entrepreneur Darren Nugent that has developed a number of craft beers for local restaurants and retail outlets.

A special award for ‘High Revenue Growth’ also went to Ballymena-based Huge Rugby, a one-stop online destination for rugby gear and products founded by Jonny Small.

Now entering its sixth year, Propel is an intensive 12-month programme that helps participants fast track their business ideas, develop ambitious growth plans and explore global markets.

Already the programme is credited with creating nearly 120 companies, between them having accessed more than £14.5m of external investment and creating almost 270 jobs so far.

“The standard of participants in the latest Invest Northern Ireland Propel programme was, as always, extremely high, which is indicative of the entrepreneurial talent in Northern Ireland today,” Invest NI board member Padraig Canavan said.

“As the call for new applications for the next programme has just been launched we hope more NI entrepreneurs will now be encouraged to follow Neurovalens lead,” he said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years