Skip to main content
Advertisement
Advertisement
Entrepreneurs who took part in the first Hatch programme in Bergen earlier this year. The second begins in Cork next month. Photo: Hatch
Entrepreneurs who took part in the first Hatch programme in Bergen earlier this year. The second begins in Cork next month. Photo: Hatch

Ireland’s seafood development agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has announced support for the Hatch aquaculture accelerator programme which begins in Cork next month.

Jim O'Toole: Start-ups 'crucial' to development of Ireland's aquaculture sector.
Jim O'Toole: Start-ups 'crucial' to development of Ireland's aquaculture sector.

It is the second of the three-month Hatch programmes to be run, following the inaugural accelerator scheme in Bergen earlier this year.

Hatch aims to find, develop and scale up talented and disruptive aquaculture start-up companies.

Global seafood leader

BIM will contribute to the costs of the programme, using money from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Jim O’Toole, chief executive of BIM, said: “Ireland has the ambition to position itself as an international leader in the global seafood industry. Start-ups are crucial to the continued development of Ireland’s aquaculture sector because of the role they play in driving new ideas and innovation.”

The programme begins on September 18 and will take place in a state-of-the-art co-working space in Cork city, offering six to eight aquaculture start-ups from around the world the opportunity to work directly with, and receive mentorship from a global team of experts from disciplines including aquaculture, technology, finance and marketing.

Wayne Murphy: Excited about bringing international companies to Ireland.
Wayne Murphy: Excited about bringing international companies to Ireland.

Attracting investment

Wayne Murphy, chief operating officer and co-founder of Hatch, who lives in Cork, said an accelerator programme offered one of the best ways of de-risking investments in early-stage aquaculture start-ups.

“That’s what I’ve been doing for many years across various sectors,” said Murphy.

“We had a fantastic time in Norway. We had eight companies, and a number are now closing investment rounds, which is fantastic to hear.

“I’ve wanted to run our programme here in Ireland for some time in the marine sector, and aquaculture obviously is part of that. I approached Bord Iascaigh Mhara about doing this and attracting international investment in Ireland, because Ireland has a long coast, but it should be doing better [in exploiting that asset]. I wanted this to act as a catalyst to bring some attention to the aquaculture sector in Ireland because it can do a lot more.

“We’re really excited about bringing so many international companies here to Ireland, along with attracting some of Ireland’s aquaculture talent.”

BIM are looking to innovate and this is probably one of the best ways of attracting innovative companies with new ideas

Hatch co-founder and COO Wayne Murphy
Advertisement

The line-up of companies on the new programme hasn’t been finalised but Murphy said Hatch had been working diligently to find and recruit the next batch for Ireland.

“I just got off a call to Jakarta this morning, I was taking to Egypt yesterday, there’re companies applying from all over the place,” he said.

“We’ve got some good companies that we will be able to share with the world, and obviously help develop and scale.”

He pointed to a decision by US start-up Manolin to stay in Norway after the Bergen programme, and said the same could happen in Ireland. Manolin offers a digital solution to accelerate the sharing of resources between companies to better treat, manage, and prevent sea lice outbreaks in the salmon industry.

Improving the pipeline

“BIM were very happy to engage with us. They haven’t had an aquaculture or blue-tech accelerator initiative before. We came to them with the idea, and they want to improve the pipeline of the companies that they deal with,” said Murphy.

“It’ll be a plus for them if, like Manolin in Norway for example, businesses selected might stay and BIM will be able to support them and help develop them.

“One of the interesting parts of the support they’ve given us is that they could have some very interesting companies to work with.

“BIM are looking to innovate and this is probably one of the best ways of attracting innovative companies with new ideas. They have been extremely supportive.”

Advertisement