The IGNITE programme at UCC, which nurtures start-ups from ideas to commercial reality, is celebrating ten years of success this year. The IGNITE programme has supported more than 120 start-ups led by recent graduates since its inception in 2011. Over that time the companies have created  250 jobs and raised more than €16 million in funding. 

Cork County Council is proud to support IGNITE together with University College Cork, Bank of Ireland, Cork City Council, the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City, South Cork and North and West Cork.

Companies that have resulted from the IGNITE programme include ApisProtect, co-founded by Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, Trustap founded by Conor Lyden. Legitfit, co-founded by Ryan O’Neill, Gearoid Collins and Ian O’Sullivan, Ezi-Vein, founded by Marie Casey and AnaBio Technologies, founded by Dr Sinead Bleiel.

IGNITE Director Eamon Curtin said: “We are very proud of all that has been created over the last ten years here at IGNITE. Our start-ups are building innovative businesses in a variety of sectors including food and agriculture, health and medical, business and financial with a key focus on having an economic, environmental or social impact. 

“Since 2011, the programme has evolved to meet changing needs and we now offer a comprehensive range of workshops, seminars and guest speaker events. Participants also get access to a wide network with over 100 entrepreneurs, business owners and industry executives contributing to the programme every year.”

As well as the full-time programme, IGNITE also offers a range of supports such as Start-Up Lab, an eight-evening programme, to help student and recent graduate founders to develop their ideas before progressing to IGNITE.

Anyone interested in finding out about IGNITE can register at the following link: IGNITE

IGNITE highlights the 10 Years of Impact in a short video below or on YouTube:


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Action plan for jobs
                   Action Plan for jobs                      


South West Action Plan for Jobs

The Government’s 2015 Action Plan for Jobs includes a commitment to develop and publish a suite of regional Action Plans to support enterprise growth and job creation, in addition to capitalising on the strengths and opportunities of each region.

The South West Action Plan for Jobs, (with 261 collaborative actions) launched in July 2015, aims to deliver 40,000 extra jobs in the counties of Cork and Kerry by 2020. Key targets in service of this overall goal are to achieve an increase of 40-50% in the number of start-ups in the region; a 20% increase in employment in exporting companies which will be delivered by increasing in the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% to 2019; and an increase of 33% in tourist numbers and 40% increase in overseas revenue from the sector.





Sectors targeted as part of the plan include: agri-food, international financial and global business services, tourism, manufacturing, and ICT, including high-potential emerging sectors like multimedia/content and the green economy, energy, and marine.

Since the Plan was launched, focus has moved to putting in place a comprehensive implementation structure. A Regional Implementation Committee has been established, chaired by Mr Bob Savage, General Manager, EMEA Centres of Excellence for Dell EMC. The Committee is composed of key stakeholders in the region who work in concert with Enterprise Champions - nominated senior private sector representatives - to oversee and monitor progress. The first Progress Report on the implementation of the Plan, covering the period to end-June 2016, was completed and published in Q4 2016.

For further information, please contact Alma Murnane, Programme Manager, South West Action Plan for Jobs.

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Cork County Council’s Beacon Retail Programme was launched in September 2013 and is available to any customer facing business. The Beacon Retail programme's primary aim was to bring in outside Retail Experts to work with Retailers in our towns throughout the County over a 4 month period and help them build a 12 to 18 month strategic growth plan for their businesses.

To date the Council and its teams of Retail Consultants have worked with over 260 Retail businesses across 18 towns in the County with significant results being achieved. A significant benefit that was realised across the 18 towns where the programme ran was the coming together of the independent retailers to work together as a cohesive unit for the benefit of the town. This programme has evolved as it has been rolled out taking on board the lessons learned.

For further information visit

A smart agenda is being developed in Cork. One which will build on the existing assets, attributes and experiences in the region and will help position Cork as a ‘World-Class Smart Region’. Cork Smart Gateway is an initiative by Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Nimbus Research Centre and Tyndall National Institute to engage with smart technology providers, citizens and researchers to solve the challenges faced by county and city living.

The Smart Gateway aims to enhance the reputation of Cork as an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest. For further information visit

Cork Incubator Kitchens
                                 Cork Incubator Kitchens                        





Cork Incubator Kitchens is a Cork County Council initiative to assist emerging & existing food ventures to start, grow and expand their business.





The facility includes both a catering kitchen and bakery kitchen which are fully equipped to the highest standards and are available to rent on an hourly basis.

The facility is located in Carrigaline industrial estate, Kilnagleary Road, Carrigaline, Co. Cork. and has ample parking facilities available.

For further information visit

The Cork innovates partnership was established in 2012 with financial support from the economic development fund (EDF) of both local authorities in Cork. The Partnership works with regional stakeholders including local government, state agencies, educational institutions, business support organisations, entrepreneurs and the extended Cork business community to engage in a collaborative and complimentary manner, promoting entrepreneurship in Cork.

For further information visit

Energy Cork is an industry-driven cluster pursuing coordinated actions to strengthen enterprise and employment within the energy sector in the Cork region. The cluster is supported in part by Cork County Council through it’s Economic Development Fund.  The Council are active participants on the cluster’s Steering Committee in addition to participation in a number of thematic sub-groups including the Transport and Energy Supply subgroups. Further information on the membership and activities of the cluster can be found at 

E Centre
                                              E Centres                                    


The E Centres Initiative is a network of Community Enterprise Centres that were established by Cork County Council in partnership with local business organisations to support start-ups, entrepreneurs and remote workers among others.



They provide dedicated co-working facilities such as hot-desking, offices, training centres, conference and meeting facilities and other services to support businesses and communities in the Cork region.

In an E Centre, businesses build contacts, reducing the isolation often felt when starting and running a business. Centres offer a professional environment for your business with no long term commitments and the ability to plan your finances in advance with all-inclusive rates.

For further information visit

Cork County Council in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Offices facilitate the participation of export ready food businesses at international food events such as the IFE in London in March 2017. In addition over 20 businesses have undertaken a Food Export Training Programme in preparation for such events. The event provides access to over 29,000 attendees and worldwide buyers. This year the training focused on the UK, French and Scandinavian markets, the latter two important in the context of Brexit.

Macroom enterprise centre
                        Macroom Enterprise Centre                                




Greenshoots is a six month start-up support programme based at Macroom E Enterprise Centre, Macroom, Co. Cork.









The aim is to assist small business owners get through the initial tough stage of starting out by providing key training, expert mentoring, guidance, peer support, office space, assistance in developing a business plan and facilities within the creative and enterprising environment of the Macroom E centre.

For further information visit

Taste Cork is part of an ongoing effort to harness the power of the 'collective', in order to ensure that Co. Cork's unique food heritage benefits from the attention it deserves.

Throughout the county, a diverse selection of crucial food training and food marketing initiatives are underway and now, through the Taste Cork brand, these programmes can enjoy better linkages and cross-promotion.

Whether, it's through training, networking or collective marketing, our key aim is to work together towards promoting and expanding our valuable food sector.

With the support of local consumers, trade buyers and food producers (combined with supports from the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, and other state agencies), we endeavour to continuously champion and encourage the flourishing Co. Cork food sector. Ultimately, the goal of Taste Cork is to help the county nurture its enviable status as an iconic food brand.

For further information visit

Free service for businesses that encourages the exchanging of resources between its members in order to save money, reduce waste and to develop new business opportunities.

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