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LIT New Frontiers Start-up Companies raise €2m in investment and expect to employ more than 200 people by the end of 2016

Dr. Liam Brown, Vice President of Research, Enterprise and Development at LIT, Evan Talty of Irish Seaweed winner of the “New Frontiers Entrepreneur of the Year Award”, Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland Regional Director and Gillian Barry, Enterprise Development Manager at LIT

Nine start-up companies based in LIT’s Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre have raised almost €2 million in funding so far this year and are expected to employ 200 people by the end of this year.  Their potential value is estimated to be worth €20 million annually to the economy.

The nine companies – all of which are early stage innovative start-ups supported by LIT EI New Frontiers Programme – were among those recognised at LIT Startup Awards Ceremony, hosted by LIT today.

Among the other businesses recognised were 14 start-ups on the LEAP programme based in the NFC City Incubator on O’Connell Street in Limerick, who between them have turnover of almost €1 million.  

There were a number of separate awards made at the event, under both the New Frontiers and LEAP programmes.

The overall “New Frontiers Entrepreneur of the Year Award” was won by Wild Irish Seaweed, based at LIT’s Hartnett Business Centre and with processing facilities in Quilty, Co. Clare.  Evan Talty, who leads Wild Irish Seaweed, received his award from Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland Regional Director.

Wild Irish Seaweed currently employs 22 people and has food and cosmetic products in stores nationally and internationally.  As well as leading the industry in Ireland, the business has huge global growth potential, which should lead to further employment in Clare.

Hannah Wrixton of LastMinuteMinders.com receives her “New Frontiers One to Watch” Award from Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland Regional Director at LIT.

The “New Frontiers One to Watch” award was won by Hannah Wrixton, founder of LastMinuteMinders.com.  The business provides child minding support to private and corporate clients, and has grown by 180% in the last year.  The business is predicted to employ 200 people by the end of 2016 as it develops its business worldwide.

The “New Frontiers Special Commendation” award went to Robert Laffan of Sadicom for his product, Tippy Talk which he developed to enable communication with people who are non-verbal. Robert has put in place a strong management team around Tippy Talk, raised finance and built traction globally, especially in the US.  He originally developed Tippy Talk to communicate with his daughter.

John McNamara, founder of BCM and NFC Entrepreneur in Residence presented the “LEAP Startup of the Year” to UJET Group, based in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare and led by Aidan O’Leary and Allan Dunne. 

UJET has already become a global leader in providing interior refurbishment solutions for commercial aircraft interiors, serving aircraft leasing companies, airlines and major maintenance, repair and operations companies.

The coveted “LEAP One to Watch” Award was made Dr. Liam Brown, LIT Vice President of Research, Enterprise & Development to Steve Cunneen of Treaty City Brewing Co.  This innovative Limerick-based craft beer company develops its own products at their brewery for sale in 55 independent locations and nationwide with Finewines.

Dr. Liam Brown, Vice President of Research, Enterprise and Development at LIT, Aidan O’Leary and Allan Dunne of UJet, winner of “LEAP Start-up of the Year”, with John MacNamara, NFC Entrepreneur in Residence and founder of BCM.

Winner of the “LEAP Best Innovation Award” was Kevin McNamara, founder of High Design based also in the NFC. High Design specialises in visualisation for the construction industry. It does this by creating virtual interactive 3D experiences – this enables total visualisation and real-time modifications to domestic and commercial build projects. Kevin has clients in Ireland and in Asia.

Commenting on the awards, Gillian Barry, LIT Enterprise Development Manager said, “Entrepreneurship is key to the long-term growth and sustainability of the Irish economy.  We have an incredible spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship coming through in LIT’s six enterprise centres and our regional, national and international networks.  Our focus is on capturing and nurturing this so that the companies get every possible support to fulfil the enormous potential we see in them.”

“The Enterprise Ladder Business Start-up Awards is another element of the overall support we put in place.  They recognise, profile and reward the cutting-edge start-up companies that are on our programmes.” ​​​​​​

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