Propel programme accepting applications from NI start-ups before 23 January

16 Jan 2013

Previous Propel participants Janette O'Hagan, co-founder and CEO of Okotech, and Fergus Wallace, founder of

Aspiring entrepreneurs from Northern Ireland with ideas for new start-ups have until 23 January to get their applications in for the 2013 Propel programme, which is managed by Invest NI.

Thirty start-ups have taken part in Propel over the past three years. The aim of the one-year programme is to help such start-ups develop their products and services and enter new markets.

Companies on the programme get access to mentoring in relation to business development, advice on entering new markets and financial support. Each venture gets up to stg£20,000 in financial support, in addition to hot-desk facilities.

The 30 companies that have participated in Propel to date have gained more than stg£3m in investment. And, between them, these companies are now employing more than 50 people.

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s director of skills and strategy, said the programme is ideal for those with business ideas who have the ambition to bring an innovative, high-growth new product or service to the global market. He said participants get a structured programme of support during Propel.

Steven Kirby from Axis Composites took part in Propel in 2010. The company, a spin-out from University of Ulster, is aiming to commercialise its 3D carbon fibre technology.

“I would certainly recommend the Propel programme because it gives you focus and gets you ready so you can present to investors and grow your business,” said Kirby.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic