The diversity and entrepreneurship of start-up companies at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre were showcased at a special event for staff of the Institute on Thursday morning.
The Innovation Centre Breakfast Briefing invited the college’s academic and support staff to meet and network with 20 of the Innovation Centre’s dynamic start-up businesses.
Each company made a two-minute presentation, telling their story and explaining what they do, to spark interest amongst Institute staff in potential collaborations.
The businesses are in various stages of development – from idea stage to trading.
Trojan Battery – one of the world’s leading manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries and a battery technology pioneer, having built the first golf car battery in 1952
Studybundles – developers of a mobile app for higher education institutions which is designed to drive student engagement, enhance recruitment and boost retention
Storylab – a national PR and content agency, rooted in the culture of quality journalism
And KudosHealth – a software provider for large employers which enables them to engage and reward their employees all year round for being physically active & leading a healthier lifestyle.
“One of the challenges arising from the continuing expansion and growth of IT Sligo in recent years can be in ensuring that the various functions of the Institute are aware of what else is happening on campus,” explains Niall McEvoy, Head of Innovation at IT Sligo. “So, this event, organised by our Innovation Centre staff, provides an ideal opportunity for our start-up companies and staff of the Institute to explore and collaborate across areas of mutual interest.”
The keynote presentation of the breakfast briefing was made by David Kenny, site lead of Overstock Ireland – an online discount retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that began its Irish operations at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre. The company has since expanded and relocated to Sligo town centre, creating 25 software development jobs locally.
“Starting and growing our business in IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre provided all the supports we needed to scale quickly. We worked with the computing department which provided student placements to help us grow. I’m delighted that half of our staff came to us directly from IT Sligo. We are now based in Sligo providing specialist software and services to our Headquarters in the US.”
Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo, was among the staff members who attended Thursday’s event. “Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the economy and it is the lifeblood of IT Sligo’s dynamic Innovation Centre,” Dr McCormack said.
“For 28 years, the Centre has been a shining light in the region, a benchmark for excellence, one that is supported and nurtured by the Institute.
“The development, sustainability and success of SMEs are particularly important in regional areas. We have to have the ability to grow and sustain our own companies and to see them scale.”
Part of the Innovation Centre’s strategy is regional development and the creation of good quality, highly-skilled jobs. The number of jobs the companies create – 82 at the latest count – means the Innovation Centre is currently at full capacity.
An application has been made to Enterprise Ireland to double the capacity of the Innovation Centre, using concepts based upon the latest designs for such centres.
Photo caption (top):
L-R: David Kenny – Overstock, Des Forde – Neratek, Martha Kearins – Storylab & Dr Brendan McCormack – President of IT Sligo were among the speakers at the Innovation Centre’s Breakfast Briefing.