Fresh from the Pier wins Dublin heat at AIB Start-up Academy Summits

In the penultimate Start-up Summit the food start-up created by Ken McHugh wins a spot on the AIB Start-up Academy finalists’ bench

Ken McHugh of Fresh from the Pier

Ken McHugh of Fresh from the Pier takes the Dublin leg of the AIB Start-up Academy Summit pitch competition

 

Fresh from the Pier has won one of the last finalist places on this year’s AIB Start-up Academy. Ken McHugh’s start-up, Fresh from the Pier, produces “Rustic Smoked Fish Pâté" and won its place after pitching to a judging panel at the penultimate Start-up Academy regional Summit event in Dublin. Designed to fill the last four places on the 2017 Academy, and bring start-ups, business experts and entepreneurs together for an evening of sharing and networking, it was held in Smock Alley theatre.

“This is a great boost, I have a lot to learn and I am really excited. Honestly, I was not expecting it. I thought the other companies that were pitching tonight were really great. This is phenomenal, this is a great boost, I have a lot to learn and I really feel now over the next few months with the Academy, I will gain so much knowledge. I’m just hungry, I’m not even hungry, I’m starving,” said Mc Hugh.

It was a difficult decision for the judging panel to choose from the three start-up companies who made one last pitch to win a spot on the Academy. The other start-ups pitching were Charlie Byrne from Engager, a Dublin-based specialist social analytics software company that gives broadcasters, ad agencies and brands transparency on their actual audience by monitoring real time social media engagement with TV and radio shows and Sadhbh Kurzawska with Primaryschools.ie, a Dublin-based specialist software company which focuses on streamlining and improving the application processes to education. It is Ireland's first central application system for primary schools.

Fresh from the Pier will now join 12 finalists from across Ireland, moving one step closer to winning the Academy’s coveted top prize, which is worth €200,000 for their business.

The judging panel for the Dublin Summit were Ellen Drumm, president of Dublin North Chamber of Commerce, Lorraine Bowen, head of business development at the Entrepreneur’s Academy, Lucia O’Riordan, head of AIB, Dublin South Central and Eimear Moran, Media Solutions director, The Irish Times.

“It was really difficult to judge the different start-ups this evening because they were so diverse. So really you were judging them on not just their business models but their knowledge of their individual areas. It was really a tough decision, a very close call,” said Moran of The Irish Times.

The event was hosted by Jonathan McCrea, a TV and radio broadcaster and founder of communications company Whipsmart Media.

The panelists for the evening’s discussion were John Kavanagh, head coach of Straight Blast Gym and coach to UFC champion Conor Mc Gregor; stylist, broadcaster, author and designer Sonya Lennon who co- established clothing collection Lennon-Courtney and social discovery platform Frockadvisor and Niall McGarry founder of Maximum Media.

Pat Geoghegan from Google, Hannah Braithwaite, BCSG and Sasha Kerins, Grant Thornton also shared their expertise and tips for Start-ups.

Fittingly, the evening’s snacks and refreshments were provided by fellow start-ups Jack Kirwan from Sprout & Co, Peter Mulryan from Blackwater Distillery and James Winans from Vanguard Beer Collective.

The final summit will take place next week in Belfast with expert speakers and pitches from businesses who will compete for the final place on this year’s Start-up Academy.

The eight-week Academy will begin this month in The Irish Times and the finalists will make a final pitch to win the highly coveted prize at a final event in April.

To find out more, or attend the Belfast event, visit www.aibstartupacademy.com

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