A medical devices to prevent UTIs, a cashless taxi app, an online car service booking system and a games company were the big winners at the 2018 LIT New Frontiers Start-up Awards held this week.
Nine new business leaders from the acclaimed New Frontiers programme showcased their start-up companies at a ceremony in the Millennium Theatre at LIT on Tuesday (19 June, 2018).
New Frontiers is the leading national entrepreneur development programme run by LIT and Enterprise Ireland at the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre in collaboration with the Nexus Innovation Centre.
The programme focuses on developing core entrepreneur and leadership skills, an innovators toolkit and opening networks for promising entrepreneurs who have ideas with international potential.
The end of year ceremony supported by LIT, EI Enterprise Ireland, Limerick Local Enterprise Office, HOMS Solicitors and Bridgewater Management, further recognises the entrepreneurship and innovation through awards for Startup of the Year, Best Business Opportunity, Best Innovation and One to Watch.
New Frontiers 2018 Winners:
Startup of the Year
The 2018 New Frontier Startup of the Year was Assuré Medical, a medical device company founded by Ger O’Keeffe. The company is focusing on treating Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) by a preventative prophylactics rather than continually relying on antibiotics.
Best Business Opportunity
The award for New Frontier Best Business Opportunity went to Richie Commins Flag, a taxi app that allows users to travel and pay without the use of their phone, bank card or cash. This new “wallet-less feature” allows the user to flag a taxi on the street, give the driver his or her name and enter a four-digit PIN on the driver’s app to effect payment from his or her pre-registered card.
New Frontier Best Innovation was awarded to Iain Gilmore, a former Irish National Tarmac Rally Champion who’s business LYNKMechanic allows motorists to book a service at their local garage online, while also converting the bookings information into servicing data that helps mechanics to operate more efficiently and accurately.
One to Watch
Gerard Comerford was recognised as the New Frontier One to Watch for his company - Cerebros Games. The competitive e-sport player in Pro Evolution Soccer is making deliberate use of the “disruptive innovation model” to address players’ under-served desire for innovative gaming experiences at a low cost. He then uses the business to fund products that deliver more sophisticated innovative experiences that engage players’ intelligence and creativity.
Congratulating the New Frontiers Graduates Prof. Vincent Cunnane, President of LIT emphasised the importance of innovation and enterprise to LIT.
“The New Frontiers entrepreneurs are playing a very significant role in Irish business - driving the economy forward and impacting on society.
“We want to facilitate and grow that sense of leadership, that sense innovation, that entrepreneurial instinct, that passion. We want to help businesses succeed, and LIT looks forward to continuing our support as these businesses grow,” he said.
Paula Carroll, Programme Manager at Enterprise Ireland said, "New Frontiers is a truly national programme, having a significant regional outreach through the Institutes of Technology, enabling would-be entrepreneurs from all differing parts of the country to benefit from a professional and comprehensive educational programme. Enterprise Ireland is proud to support this programme and is committed to continue its investment in programmes such as this. We congratulate all the LIT graduates of 2018 and wish them every success in their future businesses.”
The keynote speaker at the New Frontiers Awards was David Evans MBE, a serial entrepreneur who founded The Grass Roots Group in London in 1980, and is now leading a number of new enterprises including Matildas Planet, a client of the Hartnett Centre.
LIT currently has an open call for New Frontiers 2018/2019 which starts in October. Application deadline is 15th August 2018. For more details on the programme on www.HartnettCentre.ie.