The New Frontiers class of 2023 showcase and awards took place at South East Technological University (SETU) recently.
Members of the south east start-up community were in attendance in Waterford to meet the New Frontiers class of 2023. As part of the programme, entrepreneurs have developed solutions for markets such as a renewable energy storage system, a blockchain payment system, software for designing 3D structures, an online identity verification system, a car sharing app, a portable gym, a facelift system, a flavoured vodka and a system for learning how to surf.
The founders of three of the south east’s best start-ups in 2023 were honoured for their entrepreneurial spirit in developing innovative business solutions for international markets.
The Most Innovative Business Idea award went to Kilkenny’s Susan O’Neill of Sulu Solutions, which is a blockchain payment system that saves time in effecting payments.
The Best Business Plan award went to Praveen Kaur, of Waterford-based Uoto, which is a peer-to-peer car rental system that allows people to park free at the airport and potentially earn rental income from their car while they are away.
The Best New Product award went to Tipperary’s Chris McGarry of Migim who supply a portable, full body training system to personal trainers and sporting facilities. Migim is a multi-function gym that can be used for 50 exercises.
Speaking to the award winners, New Frontiers National Programme Manager at Enterprise Ireland, Paula Carroll said, “Your hard work and dedication in launching new businesses deserves to be recognised. The New Frontiers programme at SETU Waterford has a strong record in supporting entrepreneurship development. Nationally, Enterprise Ireland continues to support entrepreneurial talent and we wish the New Frontiers Class of 2023 every success in further developing their businesses.”
New Frontiers Programme Director, Dr Eugene Crehan said, “These award-winning entrepreneurs have worked hard on Phase 2 of New Frontiers to increase their knowledge of their target markets. They have engaged with target customers in a meaningful way to achieve the best product-market solutions for customers’ problems. They are now part of the New Frontiers community of innovative entrepreneurs who have completed the Waterford New Frontiers Programme at SETU.”
The winners spoke about what it meant to them to receive these awards. Susan O’Neill of Sulu Solutions, said, “The New Frontiers programme has been a brilliant experience for us, we learned so much over the six months. We were thrilled to win the most innovative business idea award, especially considering all the brilliant businesses in our cohort."
Praveen Kaur of Uoto felt that New Frontiers was a transformative experience. “It helped us develop the skills needed to attract investments and get our business ready for the big leagues. We understood that having a solid business plan was pivotal for potential investors, so receiving an award in this category validated our efforts and reassured us that we were on the right path towards building an investment-ready venture,” Praveen said.
Chris McGarry of MIGIM said, “We are delighted to have won the best new product award on New Frontiers, a programme which has given us the opportunity to turn our dream into reality over an amazing and challenging six months, alongside a group of fantastic entrepreneurs and advisors.”
During the previous funding cycle 2016-2021 48 of the SETU Waterford participants secured follow-on funding, totalling almost €20m. This equated to €6.7m in IPO on London and Dublin Exchanges, €9.4m from the Enterprise Ireland Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund, €2.5m in private investments, and €1.5m in other state funds.
Dr Crehan said, “Our three award winners join an impressive list of prior award winners within the south east including Taoglas, Engage XR, Sonru, acquired by Modern Hire (USA), Near Form, Scurri and Stitcher Ads, acquired by Kargo (USA).”
The New Frontiers Programme at SETU is funded by Enterprise Ireland and is delivered twice annually by SETU at the Waterford and Carlow campuses. Phase 2 of New Frontiers is an intensive six-month programme where participants learn how to establish and run a new high-growth potential company.
Applications for the next programme at SETU Waterford are now open.
See www.SETU.ie/NewFrontiresWd for application details. The online Phase 1 programme commences in September.