A sports tech company revolutionising fencing, a cloud computing provider supporting charity fundraising managers to exceed their goals, and a creator-economy business with a publishing platform designed to support fledging writers and journalists, were the big winners at the Technological University of the Shannon, Midwest New Frontiers Awards 2022.
A total of 11 new business leaders from the acclaimed New Frontiers programme showcased their start-up companies at a ceremony hosted by TUS this Tuesday (March 29, 2022).
The TUS New Frontiers programme, funded by Enterprise Ireland, is the National Entrepreneur Development Programme with a support package worth €30,000 for each participant. Delivered by TUS at the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre, it is designed for early-stage high potential start-ups and is run in collaboration with UL Nexus.
Enterprise Ireland recently awarded TUS €4.3 million to continue to run the New Frontiers programme at both its Moylish and Athlone campuses for the next five years.
In its 10th year, the programme's primary purpose is to accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses with strong employment, growth, and international potential and contribute to the region's job creation and economic activity.
The TUS Midwest New Frontiers 2022 Winners announced this week are:
Start-Up of the Year 2022
Patrick Dight (Nenagh, Tipperary) - Sparwatch
Sparwatch technology captures data to provide insight for sport training. Coaches use their platform to gamify training sessions and their learning tools help athletes analyse their technique and maximise performance.
Business Innovation Award
Pauline Kwasniak (Cashel, Tipperary)- Finedeeds
The Finedeeds platform helps all resource-constrained charity fundraising managers by giving them tools to quickly exceed their fundraising goals, without expensive digital expertise.
One to Watch
Louise McCormack (Limerick) - Lexe
Lexe is the creator-economy digital publishing platform where writers and readers connect. Lexe helps readers find the content they enjoy while supporting writers using a shared advertising revenue model. Lexe is currently working with journalists and writers in the environmental and sustainability sectors.
Congratulating the New Frontier Graduates, their families, the TUS team and EI who supported them, President of TUS Proffessor Vincent Cunnane said, "So many people have great ideas, identify compelling problems to solve and market-growth opportunities, but not everyone becomes an entrepreneur. Not everyone seizes the opportunity! That takes vision, passion, openness, courage, and support. Every region, every nation needs passionate entrepreneurs who are willing to do the hard work, take risks and create a business. Equally, we need to support these entrepreneurs. TUS are committed to fostering creative and entrepreneurial activities, in all their forms, in collaboration with our stakeholders to help support entrepreneurs and innovators and shape the future of our region."
Vice President for Research Development and Innovation TUS Dr Liam Brown described New Frontiers as a programme designed to unlock innovation and support entrepreneurial growth.
"Entrepreneurship requires learning from others, involves experimentation, and can carry a high risk of failure. Therefore, programmes like New Frontiers must support innovators and entrepreneurs in developing their network, their venture, and, notably, their own entrepreneurial skills. Participants learn about the real-world nuts and bolts of starting and running a business, but they also get support as they work through moments of low self-confidence or imposter syndrome, develop a disciplined approach to their business and tap into their creative and innovative potential.
“We know that successfully participating in the New Frontiers Programme acts as a quality signal, de-risking the venture for the founders and investors as the participants are intensely put through the paces during the programme. I wish all the founders who have just finished the programme success, and we look forward to continuing our support for you into the future."
Paula Carroll, Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers National Programme Manager said, "I would like to congratulate the 2022 TUS cohort of the New Frontiers Programme for all they have achieved in what has been a difficult year for many due to the impact of the pandemic. This was a particularly strong group, showcasing the entrepreneurial talent of the Mid-West. I look forward to seeing all participants further develop their companies. 2022 marks the 10th year of the New Frontiers programme and Enterprise Ireland is proud to offer such a critically important programme which supports the development of sustainable businesses across all counties in Ireland."
The awards were supported by TUS, EI Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office Limerick, Local Enterprise Office Clare, Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, Limerick Chamber, HOLMES and Bridgewater Management.
TUS Midwest currently has an open call for New Frontiers Phase 1. For more details on the programme go to www.HartnettCentre.ie.