Start-ups urged to Propel their business ideas forward

The Propel 2020 cohort

EARLY stage start-up entrepreneurs and innovators from across the north are being urged to apply to take part in the Propel pre-accelerator programme for 2021.

Twenty places are up for grabs in the intensive six-month programme which helps early-stage companies to stress test their ideas and successfully launch a product to market.

Supported by Invest NI and delivered by IgniteNI, the programme supports technology based start-ups who are at the idea stage of their development.

Each year the programme recruits 20 ambitious, motivated individuals and teams, with no limits on age, career stage or experience.

Companies who secure a place on the programme will each receive a £15,000 grant from Invest NI, 12 months free co-working space at the Ormeau Baths and exposure to a global network of mentors, entrepreneurs and investors.

The programme, which has adjusted to allow a blend of in-person and flexible remote working, has enabled IgniteNI to increase Propel's global reach and secure time with a number of high-profile founders and guest speakers.

Applications close on November 6. To apply or to book a chat about your start-up, founders should visit or contact to find out more.

IgniteNI programme director Chris McClelland said: “Despite the current climate, it's been a record-breaking year for start-ups, which is a testament to the founders' adaptability, the support of hundreds of mentors and speakers, and the wider community at IgniteNI.

“We're proud of the progress they've made and their resilience when faced with challenging circumstances. The pandemic has created a new wave of opportunities for start-ups and we're excited to see what 2021 applicants bring. So even if you just have a glimmer of an idea for a tech-based business, get in touch, we'd love to help.”

Stephen Wightman, director for technology solutions at Invest NI, said: “The local tech sector is continuing to thrive and adapt to the changing business landscape following the pandemic.

“Propel is an immersion into the world of setting up a business in Northern Ireland, and it has helped many innovative companies to test their market and launch successfully.”

Despite current circumstances, multiple companies which have previously completed Ignite programmes have continued to achieve success throughout 2020.

They include health tech start-up MedAll, which launched the world's first virtual medical conference and also secured investment from Seedcamp.

Material Evolution, which applies machine learning to the construction industry to make sustainable concrete, has just won a place on the prestigious Heritage Group accelerator, powered by Techstars.

And Accelerator alumni Datch also secured $3.2m in seed investment for its Voice AI industry assistant.

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