Catalyst Co-Founders supports 10 NI start-ups with £10k proof of concept grants

  • Ten start-ups from Northern Ireland have each won £10,000 proof of concept grants to further develop their innovative ideas after successfully completing Catalyst’s Co-Founders Programme.

    Co-Founders is a unique entrepreneurship programme, helping ambitious individuals to develop a new product innovation focused on science, technology and engineering. The teams validate their idea, test them in the real world, develop their business and pitch for a £10,000 proof of concept award.

    The Department for the Economy has supported the Co-Founders programme, recognising how integral entrepreneurship and innovation are to the Northern Ireland economy. Ten teams have won £10,000 of funding from the Department for the Economy, with a total of £100k funding awarded.

    Winning teams also progress to Co-Founders+, Phase 2 of the programme where winning ideas are further developed, and teams are given access to mentors and industry specialists to accelerate their idea. 

    RELATED: Finalists named for NI’s premier innovation competition INVENT 2022

    Companies across a range of sectors including Fintech, Health & Wellbeing, Education and Greentech, were all awarded with vital funding.

    Speaking about the programme, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “.Our 10X Economic Vision focuses on how we will nurture a decade of innovation, to transform Northern Ireland into one of the world’s leading small economies. The Co-Founders initiative, providing tangible financial support for business ideas with a focus on science, technology and engineering, aligns well with this vision. I wish all of the companies that have been awarded £10,000 the very best as they look to take their product plans to the next level.”

    Hannah Cummings, Co-Founders Programme Manager at Catalyst, added: “Co-Founders provides the opportunity for anyone with an entrepreneurial spark to come together and co-found a start-up in a supportive environment. We believe increasing the number of individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset will have huge benefits to the Northern Ireland economy. Celebrating the achievement of the teams this year at the in-person Showcase Event in the MAC Belfast was an added bonus. The energy of the evening was palpable and really captured the momentum of the start-up ecosystem here in NI. The £10k POC awards will be invaluable in keeping their momentum going.”

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    The successful teams are:

    Pneuvo - A novel software platform to design better drugs to benefit humanity.

    Insurin – A mobile app that aims to help newly diagnosed diabetics to manage their condition.

    ProspectRx – AI directed precision medicine solution aimed at improving treatment options for poorly served patient populations.

    MEDIK.AI – AI making it easier to analyse symptoms and direct patients to appropriate medical services.

    Stable Manager – An equestrian digital hub to quantify equine performance and simplify horse care.

    Pocket Angler - A dedicated fishery management system for owners and real time travel partner for anglers.

    Win it Together – A digital solution for fundraising raffles.

    Tapa – Connecting students in university to local employers seeking workers.

    Exapt Feedback – Making online learning work for everyone.

    Unify – A business and brand-building platform for the creator economy.

    Since launching in 2017, Co-Founders has delivered eight cohorts involving 611 people who have formed 134 teams. Over a third of the teams formed are continuing to work on their start-up and have raised £3 million in funding.

    Register your interest for Co-Founders 2023 at

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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