Applications open for the Patch summer accelerator for teens

9 Jun 2020

Image: © sebra/

With mentorship from the founders of Pointy and Intercom, the Patch accelerator is aimed at young people with an interest in STEM or entrepreneurship.

Applications are now open for Patch, an accelerator programme geared towards young people aged 16 to 19. Patch was set up by 20-year-old Tom McCarthy, who built a nuclear reactor in his back garden before he had even completed the Junior Cert.

Participants will be mentored by Intercom co-founder Des Traynor, Movidius co-founder David Moloney and Mark Cummins, co-founder of Pointy, which was recently acquired by Google.

This marks the second year of the accelerator. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s programme will take place remotely.

The aim of the Patch programme is to attract talented young people who have the potential to be Ireland’s next crop of founders and entrepreneurs. Some previous participants have won prizes at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) and other accolades.

Patch programme

The summer accelerator wants to root out and prepare future entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers who have the potential to create globally impactful companies, technology or research. While it is aimed at teenagers and college students aged 16 to 19, Patch also makes “rare exceptions” for older and younger applicants.

At last year’s accelerator, teams worked on start-ups including Wunder Engine, producing 3D prints of a customer’s own Minecraft creations, and Cropsafe, which uses machine learning and satellite imaging to monitor crop health for farmers.

In a statement, the organisers of Patch said that they are looking for teenagers who are inspired by the examples of Patrick and John Collison, Marie Curie and Elon Musk.

“We encourage applications from students with interests in any aspects of STEM or entrepreneurship,” they said. “Last year’s candidates had varied backgrounds, including experience in quantum computing, web development and biochemistry.”

What happens during the accelerator

Over the course of six weeks, participating teams will work on their own projects and learn about start-ups from established entrepreneurs.

Participants will develop their own start-up skills and knowledge through practical workshops delivered by domain experts. McCarthy, who is now studying physics at Trinity College Dublin, is running Patch with support from Dublin’s Dogpatch Labs.

The programme aims to bridge the gap between initiatives such as BTYSTE and CoderDojo, and third-level incubators such as LaunchBox in Trinity College Dublin or Blackstone LaunchPad at University College Cork.

This year’s Patch accelerator will begin on 8 July and will finish on 19 August. Applications are open here until Sunday 14 June.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic