University-backed start-up accelerators get under way

Inaugural AgTech UCD accelerator and Trinity’s LaunchBox programme to begin

Two university-backed start-up accelerators have launched with the aim of seeking the next wave of entrepreneurial talent.

The inaugural AgTech UCD accelerator, which will begin in September, is dedicated to early stage agtech and foodtech-focused companies. Based at UCD Lyons Farm in Co Kildare, the 12-week programme is funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

Partners in the accelerator include AIB, the Yield Lab Europe, Bimeda, Devenish, Carberry, Origin Enterprises, Ornua and HerdWatch, which are providing both financial and mentoring support. Additional mentoring support is promised by Greencore, Kubota, Diarymaster, the Virtual Vet, Finistere, Macra Na Feirme and Atlantic Bridge.

"In addition to helping participating start-ups with their commercial development, the programme will also shine a spotlight on the start-ups, enabling them to increase their visibility and attract new customers and investors and to develop new partnerships," said Niamh Collins, manager, AgTech UCD Innovation Centre.

“The programme team has built strong relationships with strategic players in the ag and food tech sector in Europe and in the US, which will help the start-up founders to launch their products or services into new territories,” she added.

Trinity College-supported

Separately, LaunchBox 2021, the longest-running accelerator of its kind, is also getting under way. The Trinity College-supported programme was established in 2013 and gives student entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business ideas.

Several LaunchBox alumni spanning the accelerator's nine-year history have achieved success in the business world. These include social enterprise FoodCloud, which aims to curb food waste, and payment processing venture Touchtech Payments, a start-up that was acquired by Stripe in 2019.

Since 2013, student ventures involved in LaunchBox have created some 278 jobs and raised more than €73 million in investment.

"As our flagship entrepreneurship initiative, LaunchBox offers the next generation of founders unrivalled access to a wealth of industry leaders, best-in-class education, and superb networking opportunities," said Ken Finnegan, chief executive of Tangent, a workspace hosted in TCD.