3 award-winning early-stage start-ups coming out of the mid-west

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The LIT New Frontiers programme has given awards to three stand-out start-ups from its most recent cohort.

This week, 14 business leaders showcased their start-ups at a virtual ceremony for Limerick Institute of Technology’s New Frontiers Awards 2021.

The New Frontiers programme at LIT is funded by Enterprise Ireland and selects a shortlist of early-stage high-potential start-ups each year for its accelerator at Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre. The programme seeks businesses from the mid-west region of Ireland with strong employment and growth potential.

“Entrepreneurship is at the very heart of what defines this region, and we in LIT are very proud to support and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said LIT president Prof Vincent Cunnane.

Cunnane said that a recent evaluation of the New Frontiers programme at LIT showed a 564pc return on investment. “That is almost 1,000 jobs attributed to this programme nationally, and something that I am sure we will all continue to strive to build on and improve even further,” he added.

Congratulating the 2021 cohort, Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers national programme manager, Paula Carroll, said this was “a particularly strong group showcasing the entrepreneurial talent of the mid-west”.

Among this year’s LIT New Frontier graduates is start-up Trigr and its software for managing freelance staff. Founder Gavin Duffy recently secured a €10,000 scholarship for the MBA programme at Trinity College Dublin.

Other ideas coming out of this year’s cohort include online food ordering platform Peckish, algorithmic day trading fintech Intelligorithm, and The Emotionise Process, a time-saving SaaS product for the production of engaging written content.

The Hartnett Centre is now accepting applications for LIT’s next New Frontiers programme. The deadline for applications is 12 April 2021.

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Here are the three start-ups that took home prizes at the virtual awards ceremony this week.

Start-up of the Year: Child Psychology Institute

Galway-based Lorraine Lynch is the CEO and founder of Child Psychology Institute. She set the company up last year to support parents, guardians and teachers in coping with children’s emotions and behaviours.

Positioned as an edtech company, Child Psychology Institute currently offers a 10-hour online course covering how to work with children who have experienced trauma. This course can be accessed remotely and completed at the user’s own pace.

Business Innovation Award: DogNotDuck

Limerick start-up DogNotDuck aims to help users save time and money when building a website. Its software will embed annotations on website builds, offering feedback to developers along with the opportunity to chat and collaborate directly.

The company was founded by web developer Derek Nolan, who says he has applied his whole skillset to build this tool to help teams working on websites.

One to Watch: Agri Guardian

Waterford native James Power is now based in Limerick, where he has founded Agri Guardian, the company with a wearable device for farm safety.

There are two versions of the Agri Guardian device: one for children and another for adults. The child’s device can be used to alert parents or guardians when a child has entered the farm or, more crucially, if they are in a danger area close to operating machinery. The adult’s version of the device can detect falls and slurry gas levels.

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