New Sprint start-up accelerator races into Cork

26 Feb 2016

Pictured at the launch of the new Gateway UCC accelerator programme, Sprint, are Myriam Cronin, Gateway UCC, Ruth Patel, Respiro R&D, Marcus Claesson, MicroBio Solutions, Audrey Micheal, Agathon Services and Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland

A new start-up accelerator called Sprint has been set up at Gateway UCC to support early-stage start-ups, entrepreneurs and UCC-based researchers.

The Sprint Accelerator will focus on commercialisation strategies and routes to market.

“Using our extensive experience in the area of commercialising research, early-stage companies and spinouts, Sprint has been developed to increase the number and the success rate of knowledge-based start-up companies utilising intellectual property from UCC,” said Prof Anita Maguire, VP of innovation and research at University College Cork (UCC).

The first 10 participants in the Sprint accelerator are already signed up from diverse areas such as bioinformatics, digital mobile, medtech, eHealth, nutrition and food health, as well as ICT.

Getting start-ups past the start line

These pre-and-early-stage start-ups will be working with seasoned and successful business mentors, as well as being coached in business development, scaling and growth internationally.  The Sprint programme is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland and Cork City Local Enterprise Office.

The state-of-the-art facility and infrastructure at Gateway UCC provides a supportive ecosystem for start-ups through its programme of business supports.

Since opening in 2011, Gateway UCC Business Incubation and Innovation Centre has supported more than 30 start-ups, which between them now employ 180 people and contribute an estimated €13m in wages and €4m in tax annually to the local economy.

Such supports include mentoring and business coaching, access to financial advice and start-up funding, specialist seminars, workshops, introduction to venture capital opportunities, business angel networks and access to UCC’s network of researchers, together with support through linkages into academic departments.

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