GMIT launches new identity for its Innovation Hubs
Client company Allergy Lifestyle wins 'Spirit 2014 Pitchcomp'
Date Article Written:
Thursday, September 18, 2014
GMIT this week launched a new identity for its campus Innovation Hubs, formerly known as the Innovation in Business Centres (IiBCs), at the annual GMIT Mayo Spirit of Entrepreneurship event on Monday evening (15 September).
The new brand was launched by special guests An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and entrepreneur and broadcaster Bobby Kerr, both of whom addressed the packed event in St Mary’s Hall on campus.
This, the 7th year of the Spirit event, focused on the theme ‘No age limits or barriers to entrepreneurship’ and featured panel discussions on ‘Starting and Building a Business’ and ‘Funding and Investment’.
Allergy Lifestyle, a client start-up company in GMIT Mayo’s Innovation Hub, won the overall prize in the PitchComp event. Founder Anne Walsh received €1,000 euro and €500 euro worth of mentoring from Westbic. The two runners up were Fionntan Gogarty from Wildwoodvinegars (based in GMIT Mayo Innovation Hub) and Karen Coleman from Planet Podium (based in the GMIT Galway hub). The three companies are on the Enterprise Ireland funded New Frontiers programme run by GMIT in its two Innovation Hubs.
One panel of speakers included 14-year old self-taught entrepreneur Jordan Casey of Casey Games, Elenor McEvoy, serial entrepreneur and current founder of Budget Energy and Ernst & Young Finalist (2012), Aiden Corcoran of Horizon, a former client of the GMIT Innovation Hub (Mayo) and local entrepreneur, and Dorothy Creavan, founder of Element Wave Software, former client of the Innovation Hub (Galway) and Intertrade Ireland Winner 2013. All four panelists spoke about their experiences of growing and building a business and the various challenges involved.
A second panel which addressed issues around ‘Funding and Investment’ consisted of Mairead Mulhern, co-founder of Irish TV, Sians Breslin of Siansplan, Rory Hynes from Local Venture Capital Firm Enterprise Equity and Joe Greaney from Halo Business Angel Partnership in Galway.
Mairead talked about how Irish TV secured €15m in investment privately through John Griffin based in the UK. Sians Breslin talked about securing €100,000 through a crowdfunding platform and Rory Hynes and Joe Greaney talked about opportunities for start-ups in gaining funding through various mechanisms.
The popular PitchComp saw three of the GMIT New Frontiers Clients going on stage and pitching to the audience for four minutes using four slides. The audience were given €10 fake money on arrival and got to decide which business deserved their money.
MC Liam Horan interviewed Bobby Kerr about his path to success to-date and tips for people starting a business today.
The event also featured a showcase of client companies from GMIT’s Innovation Hub such as the Medistori, Truckscience, Taxhug, Siscin, Ordu, Horizon, Traffic Attic and many others on the evening. Truckscience were the overall winners receiving €500 from AIB and €500 worth of mentoring. There were prizes for the audience on the evening, kindly sponsored by Castlebar and Westport Credit Unions and the Harlequin Hotel / TF Royal Theatre.
Maria Staunton, Manager of the GMIT Innovation Hub, says “the feedback from the event has been wonderful with people stating it’s been the best one yet.”
“This is our seventh year hosting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Evening and this year we took a chance and changed up the format to have panel discussions. Bobby Kerr was a fantastic host asking probing questions from the entrepreneurs.”
“Young Jordan Casey is an inspiration to all young people. We also had a young 12 year old getting mentoring earlier in the day so hopefully in Mayo we will see lots of more young people setting up businesses. The mix of entrepreneurs in age and gender worked very well and there was something there for everyone.”
“The purpose of the event is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the western region and is free for everyone due to generous sponsorship from local companies. Lionbridge were the main sponsors of the evening with lots of other sponsors on board such as Enterprise Ireland, LEO, Snap Printing, Sheena Oosten Designs, the Harlequin Hotel, Castlebar, CastleDavitt Furniture and Westport Credit Unions, AIB, Westbic and Irish TV.”
Launching the GMIT Innovation Hubs’ new brand, L to R: An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Maria Staunton, Manager of the GMIT Mayo Innovation Hub, George McCourt, Head of Innovation and Enterprise at GMIT Galway Innovation Hub and entrepreneur Bobby Kerr, guest speaker at the Spirit 2014 GMIT event