Galway City Innovation District Signs Friendship Agreement with Holyrood, Newfoundland

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L-R: Gary Corbett, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Holyrood; Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway and GCID; Conor O’Dowd, KPMG and GCID; Dr Rick Officer, GMIT

The Galway City Innovation District, the non-profit company behind the successful PorterShed technology innovation hub in downtown Galway, has signed a friendship agreement with the Town of Holyrood in Newfoundland, Canada. The aim of the agreement is to support further growth in the marine and technology sectors within their areas.

The Galway City Innovation District’s goal is to create an innovation ecosystem, one that creates a synergistic relationship between people, companies, and place, that facilitates idea generation, open learning, collaboration and accelerates commercialisation. The first step towards this goal was the PorterShed, opened in 2016.

In a similar vein, the Town of Holyrood provides a hub for research and development at the BeachHead, enabling technology innovation and incubation, and has also established the Oceans Holyrood Initiative. Holyrood is the location of the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Labrador, the Centre for Applied Ocean Technology (CTEC), and the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre (OSSC) at the Holyrood Marine Base (HMB).

Galway has a strategic advantage in relation to marine and ocean technology through the Irish Marine Institute, SmartBay Ireland, NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, SEMRU, Carna Research Station (CRS), AirSea Laboratory, Coastal Observatory Radar System (CODAR), and MAREI, GMIT’s Marine & Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC), and Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART), with combined facilities which offer a range of marine services to all users and a cluster of marine-related companies and institutions.

Maurice O’Gorman, Chairman of the Galway City Innovation District, said: “We look forward to future harbour-side development which will reiterate Galway’s differentiation as Ireland’s research and innovation port, integrating with Galway’s future harbour development, and take inspiration from the phenomenal marine development achieved by the Town of Holyrood over the past short number of years.”

Mayor Gary Goobie stated, “It is an exciting time for Holyrood and we could not be more pleased with the signing of this agreement with GCID. Our residents can be assured that Holyrood is ready to take its place provincially, nationally and internationally in the ocean sector industry as an energetic, progressive and sustainable community.”

Gary Corbett, Chief Administrative Officer at the Town of Holyrood, said: “Holyrood is proud to become an official member of the Galway collaboration network. We recognize the great accomplishments at PorterShed and we anticipate shared successes in marine research and innovation as we facilitate economic growth and development in both our regions through the marine sector. There is a lot of room to grow, and together through meaningful collaboration and exchange of ideas, we can realize phenomenal potential.”

Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway, said: “We have had a great relationship with the Holyrood team since they first visited the PorterShed – which at that stage, was still a shell – in 2015. When we met, both parties expressed an interest in determining future collaborative opportunities and potential, and our agreement is to pursue continued engagement and collaboration toward this objective.”

10 Digital Startups Join Inaugural NDRC at PorterShed Programme

The new digital accelerator and investment programme NDRC at PorterShed is kicking off this week with 10 new digital startups moving into the Eyre Square base as part of the programme over the next three months.

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10 digital startups join inaugural NDRC at PorterShed programme

Selected after an open and competitive application process, the 10 companies were chosen on the basis that they demonstrated the best potential for rapid growth and expansion. The startups, which include a strong international presence with teams joining from Estonia, Spain, Ukraine and the UK, cover a broad base of sectors including agri tech, auto and construction.

A partnership between NDRC and the Galway City Innovation District and co-funded by Enterprise Ireland, NDRC at PorterShed is a key part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy for increasing the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

Established by the Government in 2007, NDRC builds and invests in digital startups that have the potential to grow internationally. The NDRC team will work closely with the PorterShed based entrepreneurs over the course of the programme helping them move beyond a good idea, into building a team and a business that can attract investment and grow. NDRC portfolio companies include companies like Nuritas, Plynk, Boxever and NewsWhip.

Speaking about the new programme in Galway, Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC said:

“This is an exciting week for the teams, they will be working intensively over the next few months to take their businesses to the next level. We were delighted with the quaility and depth of the applications we received and believe we have a strong group of startup companies to invest in and build. We look forward to helping them progress in this over the next 12 weeks”.

Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway lecturer and a founding director of the Galway City Innovation District said:

“This is a key milestone towards increasing Galway’s entrepreneurship capacity and growing our innovation ecosystem in the West of Ireland. Enterprise Ireland have recognised the need for regional jobs growth through this co-funded regional accelerator programme for startups, and we look forward to working with our experienced accelerator programme partners at the NDRC as these 10 exciting digital startups are mentored and trained through the NDRC at PorterShed accelerator programme.”

Free Places from NUI Galway on its Entrepreneurship Development Course

New course teaches homemakers, the unemployed and the formerly self-employed how to create innovation-driven enterprises

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 14 company partners, is offering places on its new entrepreneurial skills development programme, the Postgraduate Diploma in TechInnovation (Entrepreneurship Development). This programme was recently established by serial entrepreneur and NUI Galway academic Dr John Breslin.

NUI Galway has designed this one-year part-time programme in conjunction with leading employers and local startups, to enable graduates to develop the necessary skills for company creation.

Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Springboard+ initiative, given the strategic importance of developing skills in the area of enterprise/entrepreneurship. Successful applicants will therefore, pay no fees.

The overall goal of this postgraduate programme is to strategically increase the level of disciplined entrepreneurship skills in both small and large companies. It will provide graduates with the process know-how on how to create a company or how to create a new business unit within an existing company, with a particular focus on innovation-driven enterprises that can scale up. A short experiential placement will also be facilitated with partner companies.

Dr John Breslin, Course Director, said: “This is a free course leading to a qualification in an area of significant importance to the Irish economy: enterprise and entrepreneurship. The aim of this programme is to teach homemakers, the unemployed or formerly self-employed how to create innovation-driven enterprises. The programme is suited to those who may want to use their entrepreneurial skills in larger organisations, where the same processes can be applied with some minor modifications in what is called `intrapreneurship’.”

Dr Breslin added: “The course includes working through issues of market analysis, technology viability assessment, competitive positioning, team building, product lifecycle planning, marketing strategy, sales channel analysis, and with a strong emphasis on the entrepreneur/intrapreneur as a salesperson. Business plans will be developed to include an executive summary, vision and values, market analysis/segmentation and competition, a product and manufacturing plan, a sales plan, a financial plan, and a marketing plan.”

Dr Breslin was selected for MIT’s prestigious Entrepreneurship Development Program in early 2017, an intensive executive education program designed for CEOs, academics and government leaders who want to develop entrepreneurial skills within their organisations or regions. The successful “Disciplined Entrepreneurship” 24-step process from MIT was therefore chosen as the basis for this Springboard+ programme.

Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree, 1st or 2nd class honours in any discipline, along with three years of relevant industrial experience; or an Ordinary or 3rd class honours undergraduate degree, along with five years of relevant industrial experience; or a recognised professional qualification and five years of relevant industrial experience. Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry criteria may be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the programme. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can be considered for entry purposes.

NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through https://springboardcourses.ie/details/5225. The deadline for final applications is Monday, 7th August.

For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr John Breslin, at info@techinnovate.org

First Regional Accelerator for Galway Announced: NDRC at PorterShed

A year-and-a-half in the planning, an accelerator at the PorterShed, to be delivered with our partners at the NDRC, was formally announced today. This is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs in the West of Ireland, and is the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of my volunteer colleagues at the Galway City Innovation District (GCID), a non-profit that is helping to foster a startup ecosystem in downtown Galway, NDRC, Ireland’s national accelerator, and the programme managers at Enterprise Ireland.

PorterShed Accelerator RFI_All_PagesBefore Enterprise Ireland announced their timely Regional Accelerator Development Scheme, we had issued a Request for Information to various national and international accelerator operators in late 2015, and this laid the groundwork for our successful proposal submitted to Enterprise Ireland in March 2016.

The NDRC at PorterShed Accelerator will support 30 companies who have a digital technology focus to their business, linking to Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to develop more HPSUs regionally and nationally. A HPSU (High-Potential Startup) is defined as one that will employ at least 10 people and be generating over €1 million in revenue within a three-year timeframe.

Three cohorts of 10 companies will be admitted to the NDRC at PorterShed Accelerator, with the first cohort of 10 to start at the end of this summer, and two more cohorts in 2018. As well as receiving an investment of €30,000 and three months of desk space for their team at the PorterShed, companies will avail of expert mentorship and training from the NDRC here in Galway in areas such as company financials, investor readiness, marketing/PR, and innovative business models.

Previous NDRC-supported ventures have secured over €125 million in follow-on investment, and this includes successes such as Logentries, Newswhip, Silver Cloud Health, Boxever, Nuritas, Soundwave and Clearsight Innovations.

The PorterShed is the first innovation hub run by the Galway City Innovation District, a non-profit that was established with the support of Galway Chamber in 2016. The directors are John Breslin (NUI Galway), Niamh Costello (Galway Technology Centre), Dave Cunningham (Privity Pay), Conor O’Dowd (KPMG), Johnny O’Dwyer (AIB) and Maurice O’Gorman (Consultant).

NCRC_According to Maurice O’Gorman, Chairman of the Galway City Innovation District: “GCID is excited to work with our partners to launch the NDRC at PorterShed Accelerator. The accelerator programme is an important addition to the vibrant startup ecosystem in Galway and the West of Ireland. GCID looks forward to welcoming the first companies, providing an environment where they can flourish.”

To apply for the NDRC at PorterShed Accelerator programme, visit www.ndrc.ie/west where you can find out more information and see the criteria.

Official press release: www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/News/PressReleases/2017-Press-Releases/Enterprise-Ireland-Launches-Regional-Accelerator-Programme-at-NDRC-at-Portershed-Galway.html

A Great Year for Galway, But We Need More of This Sort of Thing

As we come to the end of the year, it’s a good time to remember some of the remarkable accolades our city has received during 2016. Galway was awarded the 2020 European Capital of Culture, as well as the EU’s prestigious European Green Leaf Environmental Award, and was designated European Region of Gastronomy for 2018. The Financial Times FDI magazine ranked Galway City as the number 1 Micro European City of the Future for both the Economic Potential and Business Friendliness categories in 2016/2017: this is a full level or two higher than our rankings in both categories in 2014/2015. Also, NUI Galway has moved up to number 249 in the QS world university rankings. To put that in perspective, the University has risen 235 places over the past nine years from when it was at number 484. NUI Galway is also 48th out of 1,336 educational institutions in Europe in terms of Horizon 2020 funding received, and second overall in Ireland.

Stats

On the jobs and startups front, Galway and our region do face significant challenges. You may have seen the Irish Independent article by Dan O’Brien in May this year, based on CSO data, which said that the Galway-Mayo-Roscommon region has had 0% job growth since the crash, with job destruction continuing to outpace job creation in the region. All other regions had between 7% and 15% growth. As of the first quarter in 2016, employment in the region was said to have hit yet another low, being at the same level as it was in 2003.

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According to Eurostat, Ireland ranks second lowest in terms of startup creation, across the entire EU-28. The number of enterprises in our region, and with it the Western region’s share of enterprises in the state, has declined each year between 2008 and 2014: in 2014 it was 9% below the number in 2008. In contrast, in the rest of the state it was just 1% lower. While this figure is for all enterprises, it is an indicator of the region’s level of entrepreneurship.

The population of Connacht is still less than it was in 1926. County Galway has more people in the 35+ age bracket than the national average, resulting in an increasing rate of age dependency, while the age group that has experienced the largest decline in population terms in recent years is between 15 and 29.

The above statistics are quite worrying. Giving all those who wish to live and work in the region the opportunity to do so, decreasing emigration, and encouraging workers and their families to stay and settle in the region, must be our highest priority. If the trend of depopulation continues, many of the businesses in our region will feel the effects. For these reasons and others, we need to keep doing what we are doing in terms of strategies and investment towards stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation in the region – both in new enterprises and existing ones – but much more of it.

Space

It has been a busy year for us on the space front. Less than a year ago, on New Year’s Eve 2015, Forbes published an article about our efforts to establish the PorterShed innovation space, and I was unexpectedly photographed during the interview by the journalist on his mobile phone wearing my bright blue jumper. I had to buy a couple more blue jumpers afterwards so people would be able to recognise me!

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The PorterShed was set up to address a number of needs. I’ve been part of the meet-and-greet team for a number of FDI visits to Galway, and a recurring theme was the lack of a downtown innovation hub for incoming but also indigenous startups – with all the expected features: red brick walls, wooden beams, fibre internet, and of course, super coffee. Two years ago, a group of us had our first meeting about downtown spaces for rent, and I subsequently worked with some fantastic people and the Galway Chamber to make the first step in what we called the “Galway City Innovation District” a reality. In September last year, we started renovating a former Guinness storehouse, the PorterShed, backed by AIB, which opened its doors to startup companies in April this year, and officially opened in May.

The PorterShed is a showcase for Galway’s tech startup scene, and incorporates a coworking space housing 20 innovative companies and up to 70 people in total, and an open space for events and workshops. In the first half of 2017, we will also launch a digital tech-focussed accelerator, which will add 20 startups to our economy per year.

The PorterShed has become a tour stop for visitors – business, technology and otherwise – centrally located on CIÉ land. For example, during Galway 2020, we hosted the European judging team as part of their final onsite visit, where they met members of the business, tourism and tech/medtech communities. We also hosted the Mayor of Menlo Park, Rich Cline, who officially opened our PorterShed conference room, also called the Menlo Park.

As well as future expansion beyond the PorterShed into a cluster of nearby complementary hubs – perhaps for creative media, food and agri-innovation, medtech, marine and more – another stated aim of the Galway City Innovation District is to develop the role of Galway Innovation Commissioner, loosely modeled on the Dublin Commissioner for Startups, and requiring support from key local organisations. This influencer and networker would promote “Why Galway”, surfacing Galway innovations that are under the radar, and representing us nationally and internationally.

The PorterShed requires the support of local companies and multinationals to continue with its remit as Galway’s downtown innovation hub. We’ve had great support from AIB, our title sponsor, Enterprise Ireland, KPMG, IBM, FOD, Collins McNicholas, LEO Galway, and the Galway County and City Councils. As a non-profit company, we are continuously looking for new sponsors, to complement those companies and organisations already involved.

Skills

Spaces for entrepreneurs need to be complemented by the skills to succeed as a startup founder – so that people know how to progress their idea, technology or passion through to a successful startup, or to produce a new innovation within existing companies. The PorterShed Accelerator is assisting in this respect from the startup side – providing a structured programme, seed funding, and desk space for teams who want to transform from a strong idea into a commercially-viable startup. The PorterShed Accelerator will run every six months, attracting regional, national and international entrepreneurs into Galway for a three-and-a-half month programme delivered in the PorterShed. We are also looking for more individuals and organisations who are interested in supporting the PorterShed Accelerator.

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NUI Galway is also playing an important role. In September, I took on the role of programme director for a new technology innovation programme, called TechInnovate. TechInnovate is based on the successful BioInnovate programme, which has been producing medtech innovators and innovations in startups and corporates for five years now. Again, this initiative, TechInnovate, is developing entrepreneurial skills but amongst different cohorts.

There are two target groups of people for TechInnovate: professionals who undergo a career change and undertake our 10-month entrepreneurship fellowship to become startup founders, and employees in indigenous or multinational companies who want to learn and apply similar entrepreneurial skills to develop innovative products or services within their organisations, through what is called intrapreneurship, and taught over a series of 10 workshops.

For the first cohort, TechInnovate skills up interdisciplinary teams of entrepreneurial fellows who are embedded in various non-health domains – this year, agriculture and defence – and who identify key needs to be solved in those domains through their combined skills. Each team consists of a businessperson, engineer and designer, and after a bootcamp in the “Disciplined Entrepreneurship” process which underpins the programme, they spend 6-8 weeks in the immersion phase, finding around 200 needs in their domain of interest. They then apply the TechInnovate process to filter down these needs to the one with the most commercial opportunity, and develop a product plan around the solution to that need.

The second targeted cohort – employees in our existing companies – is addressing the fact that many of our local companies are now in an increasingly challenging, noisy and competitive marketplace, with millennial job hopping becoming more common. In a recent survey in the US, it was found that 71% of millennials were disengaged at work, with many pursuing what they termed “side hustles”. As mentioned earlier, retaining talent in the West has become a core focus. Employees can be skilled, creative and innovative intrapreneurs, which becomes not only a “nice to do”, but essential to the bottom line. TechInnovate trains up a team of three from each company in the entrepreneurial principles and processes for creating innovation-driven enterprises, delivering skilled and engaged employees who can pursue new ideas that support the mission and vision of that company, and thereby supporting the company to launch new products and services or pursue new markets.

Our first TechInnovate sponsors are Bank of Ireland, EY, and the WDC, with support from NUI Galway and the Galway University Foundation, and we are actively looking for more partners who share our common vision: to seed a new set of skilled entrepreneurs in the local startup scene and skilled intrapreneurs in our larger companies.

Spirit

As well as creating space and developing skills, we also run various events to instill the spirit of being an entrepreneur. In 2013 we set up Startup Galway, inspired by Brad Feld’s book “Startup Communities”, which describes how the startup ecosystem in Boulder, Colorado was established. Startup Galway runs a series of fireside chats with successful entrepreneurs, and our most recent guest in November was Jerry Kennelly of Tweak, whose previous company, Stockbyte, was acquired by Getty Images for 135 million dollars.

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The number of startup-related events being run in Galway has dramatically increased over the past two to three years – from Innovating West to Startup Weekends (the next one is in March) to pitching practice sessions to technology workshops – which is very encouraging. The PorterShed alone has hosted over 100 events in the past six or seven months.

When I think of the likes of Tipperary’s John Ryan, creator of Macrovision, who studied at NUI Galway; Donegal’s Kathleen McNulty of the ENIAC team, one of the world’s first computer programmers; former NUI Galway Professor George Johnstone Stoney, who named the electron; Galway’s Alice Perry, the first woman in Ireland or Great Britain to graduate with a degree in engineering; and Galway natives Oliver and McGlynn who founded Menlo Park in California, we have a lot of entrepreneurial spirit and tech heritage to be proud of in the West.

We also have a great ecosystem of award-winning startups and internationally recognised companies, and when you combine this with the talented graduate and postgraduate workforce from our world class research centres and higher education institutions, with the second highest number of PhDs in the state after Dublin, we do have a density and quality of ecosystem that can draw the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs in to Galway. We also have some fantastic organisations and efforts making stuff happen, including the Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE), BioInnovate, Blackstone LaunchPad, Enterprise Ireland, Galway Chamber, GMIT, GTC, IBEC, IDA, Insight, ITAG, JAI, JCI, LEO, New Frontiers, NUI Galway, OMiG, Regional Skills Forum, SCCUL, startlab, Údarás na Gaeltachta, WDC and WestBIC.

Given the challenges our region faces, we need to do more. If you share my desire for our young people to have the opportunity to live and work in our region, I would ask all of you in the Galway community to support the various initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Western region, including TechInnovate, the PorterShed, and other efforts being led by the aforementioned acronym soup.

Let’s continue to make Galway the best small city in Ireland, Europe, and I believe, the world.

Photos of the PorterShed, TechInnovate and Innovating West by David Ruffles, Aengus McMahon and Peter Harkin respectively. This article was published in today’s Galway Advertiser, and is based on a recent speech I gave to the Galway Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to Maurice O’Gorman for his input and advice.

TechInnovate Holds Open Evening on “Intrapreneurship” Training for West of Ireland Corporates

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TechInnovate, the entrepreneurship initiative from NUI Galway, is hosting an open evening on November 22nd at partner Bank of Ireland’s startlab location on Eyre Square for local corporates who are interested in openings on the team-based “intrapreneurship” training programme for industry. Intrapreneurship is the application of entrepreneurship and innovation principles within larger companies and corporates.

At the open evening, attendees can find out more about the TechInnovate Intrapreneurship Training programme for industry, commencing January 2017. The event will be led by TechInnovate director Dr John Breslin and Bank of Ireland startlab’s Tracy Keogh, along with NUI Galway’s current cohort of TechInnovate entrepreneurial Fellows who will be mentoring industry participants through a series of hands-on workshops delivered over 20 weeks.

“As proud sponsors of TechInnovate, Bank of Ireland are delighted to host this evening on November 22nd at 7 PM in startlab, Eyre Square,” said Tracy Keogh. “TechInnovate’s big hairy audacious goal, or BHAG, is to have many more skilled entrepreneurs in startups and intrapreneurs in corporates in the West of Ireland. This event will give attendees the chance to hear from current Fellows of the programme and opportunities for openings in the industry programme beginning in January.”

“We have more people founding and interested in founding startups here than ever before. The spirit of entrepreneurship is particularly strong right now,” said John Breslin. “However, in parallel, there is a need for more initiatives that are developing innovation skills for companies, to give structures and processes to those who want to set up innovation-driven enterprises or innovative projects and products within existing corporates.”

 

24steps5bTechInnovate follows a “disciplined intrapreneurship” team-based approach, working through topics including needs finding, market analysis, technology viability assessment, competitive positioning, interdisciplinary team building, product life-cycle planning, marketing strategy, sales channel analysis, and with a strong emphasis on the entrepreneur/intrapreneur as a salesperson.

Ian McMorrough, director at Bank of Ireland, said: “Bank of Ireland are thrilled to host the upcoming TechInnovate open evening, we need more people thinking entrepreneurially and intrapreneurially, and TechInnovate will provide an injection of these people into the tech ecosystem in the region.”

The TechInnovate training workshops have been developed to address the growing demand for innovation training in the sector and are delivered by a combination of TechInnovate Fellows, academics, domain and industry experts. These workshops afford participants the opportunity to work in multidisciplinary teams to progress an unmet domain need through the TechInnovate process to a product plan for a technology innovation.

Attend the TechInnovate Industry Open Day to find out more by registering at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/techinnovate-industry-open-day-tickets-29051228005

New Entrepreneurship Programme to Target Agriculture and Defence

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  • First TechInnovate Fellows announced by NUI Galway
  • Teams will develop innovative technology solutions for pressing needs

“Through the immersion phase, the Fellows get direct experience of the needs of a farmer or soldier in the field”

Dr John Breslin

Innovations in technology for the agricultural and defence sectors are being explored by the newly announced TechInnovate Fellows at NUI Galway. The names of the entrepreneurial individuals who have been accepted onto the Fellowship Programme have been released.

Taking cues from the successful BioInnovate programme for the medtech sector, TechInnovate’s aim is to enable technology innovators and innovations in new sectors, initially agriculture and defence.

The first cohort of six Fellows have been split into two teams, who will immerse themselves within the sectors. Over the course of the 10-month programme, the Fellowship teams will carry out a thorough needs analysis with end users, identify a pressing technological need, and then develop a solution.

The programme is being led by NUI Galway academic Dr John Breslin, who is himself an entrepreneur as co-founder of boards.ie, adverts.ie, and more recently the start-up hub PorterShed. Dr Breslin says: “Understand your users, that’s the key’ is a saying from serial entrepreneur and investor, Paul Graham. It captures the essence of what this programme is about, because through the immersion phase, the Fellows get direct experience of the needs of a farmer or soldier in the field. They then go on to filter and prioritise these needs and develop a solution wherein the key market opportunity lies.”

Each team consists of an interdisciplinary grouping of engineer, businessperson and designer. All members are industry professionals with extensive expertise from different sectors.

The defence team is made up of Ronan Boyle, an electronic engineer with significant industry experience in the medical devices industry, Greg Payne, with expertise in financial services, compliance and sales with a background in sports science, and Leon Butler, an accomplished visual narrative designer who recently completed a residency in LA.

On the agriculture team are Niamh Lynch, an expert in quality and risk management for the medtech and pharma industries, Ciara Shields, a results-focused marketing and international business development executive with a passion for startups, and Paul Flynn, design thinking and learning environments specialist with an education and engineering background.

Dr John Breslin explains the origins of TechInnovate: “The impetus for the development of this Fellowship Programme emerged from the Government’s Innovation Taskforce Report. It made recommendations on how to embed product design teaching and research in Ireland’s engineering schools and how to shift design education in Ireland to a model where creativity and innovation in product design are encouraged. The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme was created as a result of these recommendations, which in turn inspired the development of TechInnovate.”

TechInnovate also has an experienced team of advisors with entrepreneurial and investment backgrounds, including: Gerard Barry, Galway-based investor and entrepreneur, founder of Privity Pay and formerly Fintrax; Patrick Dawson, investor and adtech entrepreneur (ex-MediaMath, Adobe) who has built businesses in Asia, Europe and the US; Dr Helen McBreen, Investment Director with Atlantic Bridge Ventures and formerly of NDRC and Celtrak; Barry O’Sullivan, Silicon Valley-based investor, entrepreneur, CEO of Altocloud, former SVP at Cisco, and dragon on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den; and Dr Gareth Keane, Senior Investment Manager at Qualcomm Ventures in California.

The programme is supported by NUI Galway and the Galway University Foundation, and is sponsored by Bank of Ireland and the Western Development Commission. A Continuing Professional Development series of workshops in the TechInnovate process is also being offered to supporting companies, and new sectors and immersion opportunities for teams are also being sought for future years.