IgniteNI is now taking applications for its Propel 2020 pre-accelerator

19 Sep 2019

Ignite managing director Tristan Watson with Katie Cavanagh from Beosense, one of the founders on the 2019 Propel programme. Image: IgniteNI

Applications for the Propel 2020 pre-accelerator programme close on 8 November 2019.

On Thursday (19 September), IgniteNI opened applications for Propel 2020, an intensive six-month pre-accelerator programme supported by Invest Northern Ireland.

Propel 2020 will begin in January. Each company that secures a place on the programme will receive a £15,000 grant, 12 months free co-working space at Ormeau Baths and the opportunity to meet more than 300 experienced mentors, founders and investors.

The programme takes up to 20 aspiring founders with early-stage ventures and fledgling business ideas and helps them shape their products and build their start-ups into viable and scalable businesses.

A man stands beside a projector screen that reads "Zero to heroes" in front of an audience in a dark room. He is wearing a white shirt and black trousers and has his hands folded in front of his body.

Programme manager Chris McClelland at the 2019 Propel pitching showcase. Image: IgniteNI


The pre-accelerator enables teams involved to explore other markets, attend weekly workshops with experts, pitch to top investors and access a network of more than 500 Ignite alumni founders, who between them have raised more than $100m.

Teams that are successful in the programme also have the chance to secure a further £20,000 in funding by winning awards.

Niall Casey, director of skills and competitiveness at Invest NI, said: “The Propel pre-accelerator is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to transform an idea into a genuine business. The support provided by the IgniteNI-delivered programme will make a huge difference to their start-up journey and the ultimate success of their companies.”

Casey added: “We’re proud to support a programme which has produced a fantastic calibre of companies over the past two years, growing Northern Ireland’s technology sector and boosting the local economy. We look forward to the next talented group of entrepreneurs and where it will take them in 2020.”

Two young blonde haired men sit beside each other and look at a laptop screen. The one on the left is wearing a black jumper while the one on the right is wearing a blue shirt.

From left: Ryan Scollan from G-Science and John Doherty from Truestock in a Propel 2019 workshop. Image: IgniteNI


IgniteNI will holding office hours offering further information ahead of the event, every Monday and Tuesday in Belfast. They’ll also host an information session in Derry on 2 October, and in Newry later in October.

Chris McClelland, programme director of IgniteNI, said: “It’s our third year and we are celebrating over 100 founders going through the IgniteNI programmes.

“This exceptional group of people is a powerful network, sharing incredible insights of what it takes to build a company today. It’s an exciting time to start a business and we really hope to make 2020 a massive year for start-ups in Northern Ireland.”

If you’re interested in taking part, you can apply here. Applications close on 8 November 2019.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic