Bord na Móna looks to fast track innovation journey with accelerator

Semi-state may take a stake in companies selected for Acelerate Green programme

Bord na Móna is investing €450,000 in its Accelerate Green accelerator and may take a stake in companies selected to take part in the programme, its chief executive has said.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Tom Donnellan said he was hopeful the accelerator could lead to more companies establishing bases in the Midlands and creating jobs.

Accelerate Green, which is due to commence early next year, is the first Irish accelerator dedicated to scaling companies responding to climate action and sustainability by developing products and services based on green innovation.


Mr Donnellan said that having made the transition itself into becoming a climate solutions company, Bord na Móna wanted to share its knowledge with innovative companies that are also seeking to bring about solutions to address climate change.


“There are huge opportunities for companies in the climate solutions space... the changes we have undergone have transformed us from a €400 million to a €1.25 billion one. We see many more opportunities in the space and want to enable other companies to work in this area too,” said Mr Donnellan.

Accelerate Green aims to support established SMEs and high-growth, deep-tech ventures who are solving problems in areas such as energy, resources, waste management emissions, and carbon sequestration. Unlike most accelerator programmes, companies do not have to give any equity away to partake. Moreover, Mr Donnellan said Bord na Móna is open to taking stakes in some of those selected for Accelerate Green.

Applications for the accelerator, which runs from February to May 2022 are due to close on December 10th. The initiative, which will be located in Bord na Móna 's offices in Boora, Co Office. is being managed by Resolve Partners, whose principals Alan Costello and David Scanlon previously helped run the NDRC national start-up accelerator programme.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Costello said many are likely to already have received seed funding, and be achieving sales.

Mr Donnellan said he hoped that encouraging scaling companies to base themselves in the midlands would lead to more jobs being created locally.

“As a semi-state we’ve had a role as a job provider and we want this to continue whether we are creating jobs directly or they are being created through companies associated with us,” he said.


Mr Donnellan said a number of companies had already located activities in the midlands through Bord na Móna. This include Manna, the drone delivery company founded by entrepreneur Bobby Healy, which has a facility there where drones are being manufactured.

“Companies are establishing themselves in the midlands, and are growing and we want to support them. When we started our transition, we had about 2,000 people working for us . This has gone down to about 1,500 but our goal is to beg back up to about 2,000 over the next three or four years, either directly or indirectly,” he said.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist