Ignite propels 20 new businesses on journey to start-up success

Ignite NI Propel pre-accelerator 2019 teams pictured with Ignite chief executive Tristan Watson, entrepreneur in residence Ian Browne, programme associate Kate Nutt and Chris McClelland, managing director of IgniteNI

TWENTY early-stage companies have sprung on to the Northern Irish start-up scene following the launch of IgniteNI's second Propel pre-accelerator programme.

The six month programme, supported by Invest NI, will help companies transform their ideas into innovative new technology businesses that have rapid scaling potential, can achieve significant export growth and are ready to secure external investment.

The 20 teams selected to take part on the programme come from a variety of sectors including, beauty, energy, e-sports, healthcare, fashion, fitness, fintech and recruitment.

The companies who secured a place on the programme each receive a £15,000 grant, 12 months free co-working space at the Ormeau Baths and some of the best mentoring and advice on offer from seasoned entrepreneurs who have experienced both the highs and lows of building start-ups.

Niall Casey, director of skills & competitiveness at Invest NI, said: “The first Propel pre-accelerator programme delivered by Ignite has seen a group of early stage companies rapidly develop to the stage were some have already, or are currently raising finance to support development and growth. We look forward to watching their development.

“I'm equally excited with the current group who are just starting their journey with the 2019 Propel programme. Again, we have 20 excellent early stage enterprises who have been through an exhausting competitive process to gain their place and I fully expect them to benefit from the programme as it leads them to success.”

Chris McClelland, managing director of IgniteNI, said: “It was great to see such a high calibre of applications and it wasn't easy narrowing the pool to 20 companies. We're excited about the scope of ideas, addressing traditional industries such as farming right through to breakout markets.

“It is our belief that, when supported by a structured programme and experienced mentorship, local companies can not only compete but set new standards on a global stage. It's a privilege to work with these teams and we look forward to having a positive impact.”

The Ignite Accelerator programme helps later stage companies at pivotal moments such as raising £500k+ and potentially looking to expand to the US.

Five companies from the 2019 programme will have the opportunity to spend three months in San Francisco building their start-up after the intensive 12-week programme in Belfast.

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