Start-ups win £10k Proof of Concept funding

Ten of Northern Ireland’s most promising new start-ups have won £10,000 Proof of Concept grants following participation in Catalyst’s Co-Founders programme.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 6:00 am

Ten of Northern Ireland’s most promising new start-ups have won £10,000 Proof of Concept grants following participation in Catalyst’s Co-Founders programme.

Catalyst is an independent, not-for-profit organisation focused on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, supporting transformative businesses and developing Northern Ireland’s tech industry.

Funding for the awards was provided by the Department for the Economy and presented to the successful teams this week after a competitive online pitch event on June 3.

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Kavitha Kalavoor Gopalan and Patricia Kelpie from Star 3 Group Ltd, Eamonn McNutt from Moving More and Jacqueline McCann, Co-Founders Programme Manager at Catalyst

Co-Founders is an 11-week programme for first time entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups that brings together talented, skilled and ambitious individuals from technical and commercial backgrounds, to meet like-minded people interested in developing new product ideas focused on technology, engineering and science.

The aim of the programme is to tap into Northern Ireland’s talent base and encourage more people to get involved in start-up ventures.Teams who pitched for the Proof of Concept funding were drawn from the most recent cohort of Co-Founders participants, who completed the programme this month.

Awards were made to companies from a range of sectors, including health and wellbeing; Med-tech; Consumer software; Business software; and engineered products.

Highlighting the benefits of the scheme to the local economy, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said she was delighted to “support this programme for promising start ups”.

“As set out in our 10X economic vision, a flourishing entrepreneurial, innovative culture is one of the ways Northern Ireland will rebuild and grow over the next 10 years, and I am delighted to support this programme for promising start ups,” she said.

Jacqueline McCann, programme manager at Catalyst, explained that the programme was an “a unique opportunity for individuals’ including those ‘who have dreamed of being entrepreneurs.”

“The funding awarded today will provide an opportunity for the winning teams to pursue their ideas and contribute to the thriving innovation ecosystem in Northern Ireland, as previous participants in Co-Founders have done.

“The Co-Founders programme provides a unique opportunity for individuals who have dreamed of being entrepreneurs to have a go.

“We believe that increasing the number of innovative start-ups in Northern Ireland can play a major role in the recovery of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.”

The 10 successful start-ups were:

Atlas Fitness – a machine learning app that creates custom fitness routines.

Stable Pro – an online platform to better manage the care and wellbeing of horses.

Path – a health tracking app designed for endometriosis sufferers.

Bioliberty Ltd – a robotic solution for sufferers of hand weakness.

Moving More – A device that tracks sedentary behaviour and encourages movement.

Tootsie Feet – a technology enabled children’s shoe brand.

Movetru – a wearable device that aims to reduce injury and enhance rehabilitation.

Indie Communications – a cloud-based app for measuring mobile phone signal.

Star 3 Group – an educational tool to help teach children self-care.

Belfast Lifestyle Medicine – an app for IBS management

Since launching in 2017, Co-Founders has delivered seven cohorts involving 488 people who have formed 100 teams – over a third of whom are still working together.

At least 24 teams have received Proof of Concept funding, and nine teams have progressed to the full-time Propel pre-accelerator programme.

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