Myriam Cronin, GatewayUCC

Winners of GatewayUCC Sprint Awards announced

Forty per-cent of current Sprint projects founded by women
Myriam Cronin, GatewayUCC

12 March 2021

GatewayUCC, which is part of UCC Innovation, has announced the winners of the fifth GatewayUCC Sprint Awards.

Sprint is designed to support early-stage start-ups working on technologies generated in UCC by UCC researchers and entrepreneurs.

This year will see 20 researcher-led projects sign up for the Sprint programme, which is an increase of 50% from last year. Of that cohort, 40% are female founded. This represents the largest intake of female founders in the programme’s history.




The winners of the 2021 Gateway UCC Sprint Awards are:

  • Sprint Clinical Impact Award: Eric Moore – Smart Probe
  • Sprint Emerging Technology Award: Ken Nally and Ciaran Lee – ProtectBiotics
  • Sprint Investor Ready Award: Sana Konugolu – BiopixS
  • Sprint Sustainability Technology Award: Andrey Tiuftin – Biocoat/Sustaincoat

The Sprint Programme has been developed to help spin-out start-up companies overcome challenges they may encounter when starting their businesses. On the programme, pre and early-stage start-ups will be working with successful business mentors who will help to bring their business from idea stage through to the eventual commercialisation of the product or service. The Sprint programme is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland and Cork City LEO and Cork City Council.

The state-of-the-art facility at GatewayUCC provides a uniquely supportive ecosystem for start-ups through its programme of business supports. Such supports include mentoring and business coaching, access to financial advice and start-up funding, specialist seminars, workshops, introduction to venture-capital opportunities, business angel networks and access to UCC’s network of researchers together with excellent support through linkages into academic departments.

“The businesses and researchers supported by GatewayUCC have continued to innovate and evolve over the past twelve months and have flourished given the challenges posed by the global pandemic,” said Myriam Cronin, head of GatewayUCC and the Sprint programme. “Sprint continues to grow year on year, with the biggest intake so far for 2021, providing a steady pipeline of Technology start-ups from the University that will create growth opportunities in the future.”

“It is great to see such worthy winners of this year’s awards and I’d like to pass on my best wishes and congratulations to all of them,” said director of UCC Innovation, Dr Rich Ferrie. “UCC research continues to provide a wealth of opportunities to spin-out exciting new technology companies and I’m delighted that over 400 high value jobs have been created in the region through GatewayUCC.”

GatewayUCC also announced that the companies it has worked with and supported have created more than 400 jobs since 2012. In the past eight years, GatewayUCC supported companies have raised over €50 million of public and private investment and supported over 60 start-ups and pre-start-ups based on IP from the university. These IP-based companies have contributed more than €22 million a year in salaries to the local economy. 

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