Propel 2020 ready for take-off with 21 new start-ups

Chris McClelland, programme director of Ignite NI Propel pre-accelerator

TWENTY-one of the north's most promising start-ups have been picked for the latest the Ignite NI Propel pre-accelerator programme due to start in January.

The new cohort of aspiring entrepreneurs will be bidding to launch their businesses during an immersive six month programme.

Applications for the latest programme hit their highest levels to date, with Ignite receiving more than 400 applications during the Propel recruitment stage.

And while only 5 per cent of those companies were accepted and many teams will be disappointed, Ignite NI says it views the number of new businesses entering as a good sign for Northern Ireland's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The teams selected to take part on the programme come from all parts of the north and from a variety of sectors including, healthcare, agriculture, AI, developer tools, education.

The companies who secured a place on the programme will receive a £15,000 grant, 12 months free co-working space at the Ormeau Baths and the support of seasoned entrepreneurs experienced in a vast range of businesses.

Propel programme director Chris McClelland said: “To see so many people starting businesses in Northern Ireland is fantastic. It's made the programme as competitive as some of the top accelerators in the world.

“The calibre of teams who secured a place on the programme is excellent and even getting these teams in a room supporting each other is an exciting prospect.

“Exposing founders to experienced entrepreneurs as well as practical workshops has a massive impact on companies. Taking an idea and making it into a reality is not an easy process, so it's important that companies have the best start and are equipped with the tools they need to grow a successful company.

“We hope to guide these teams through their first steps in the start-up journey and help develop their concepts into ground-breaking businesses.”

The Propel pre-accelerator programme is run by Ignite, who have invested in more than 150 companies across the UK since 2011 with 500-plus alumni founders who between them have raised more than $100m.

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