Dara Calleary TD, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, has recently announced a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) accelerator programme for start-ups at University College Dublin (UCD). The 6-month AI Ecosystem Accelerator, which begins in April, will be delivered by NovaUCD, the university’s hub of innovation and start-up activities, in partnership with CeADAR, Ireland’s National Centre for Applied AI.
The focus of the new accelerator programme is to support entrepreneurs who are developing disruptive AI solutions in sectors including, healthcare, cybersecurity, education, sustainability, finance, content creation, supply chain and customer service, for a global market. The programme is being funded through the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) framework, a Europe-wide initiative with funding of €700 million from both the European Commission and the Governments of member states.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, through Enterprise Ireland, is leading on the EDIH programme for Ireland and CeADAR has been designated as the European Digital Innovation Hub in AI for Ireland. Targeted supports for participants on the AI Ecosystem Accelerator include a dedicated commercial mentor and workshops on value proposition, route to market, sales strategies and securing investment. Participants will have access to co-working space at NovaUCD and access to the NovaUCD community of founders, investors, business partners and student interns. Participants will also have access to CeADAR’s EDIH services which include AI technologies, and research expertise with technical mentorship.
Applications are open for the programme via https://www.ucd.ie/innovation/aiecosystem/
Announcing the AI Ecosystem Accelerator, Minister Calleary TD said, “There is no doubt Ireland’s entrepreneurs and founders have the talent, the creativity, and the drive to seize the opportunities of AI to improve the way we all live and work. Sitting at the crossroads of higher education, industry, and research, the AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme aims to support AI start-ups grow through dedicated technical and commercial supports. I am delighted that funding is in place to support the acceleration of enterprises in this space, which is key element in our National AI Strategy “AI – Here for Good”. My ambition is for Ireland to become a leading country in using AI to the benefit of our citizens, through a people centred and ethical approach to AI adoption and use. I encourage all interested AI start-ups to consider applying and be part of Ireland’s AI ambitions.”
Marina Donohoe, Head of Research and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, said, “The adoption and deployment of AI technologies is critical to driving the competitiveness and innovation of Irish businesses in international markets. Many AI-driven Irish businesses are scaling globally, with a number of excellent start-ups following in their tracks. Enterprise Ireland sees a major opportunity for Irish entrepreneurs to take the lead in this ever-changing field.
The new AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme, funded through the EDIH programme managed by Enterprise Ireland, will be delivered by NovaUCD in partnership with CeADAR, and will nurture cutting-edge AI solutions and provide strategic support to help AI-driven businesses thrive in a global market.”
Since opening in 2003 NovaUCD has developed a strong track record and has supported 550+ start-ups and early-stage ventures through the services it provides, and through business support programmes run and managed by NovaUCD. In addition, the NovaUCD entrepreneurial community has now raised €1.3+ billion in equity funding.
Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD said, “We are delighted to be announcing a new AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme which we will be delivering with CeADAR to showcase and support the most advanced AI start-ups in Ireland.
We are currently seeking applications from Irish-based start-ups with really novel AI based products or services, who want to be part of an ecosystem of the most successful entrepreneurs in Ireland using AI. Participants on the programme will have the opportunity to network, collaborate and learn from experienced AI founders from the wider NovaUCD ecosystem such as Biosimulytics, Binarii Labs, Corlytics, DOCOsoft, Oblivious and Wayflyer.”
CeADAR’s mission is to help industry in Ireland adopt AI. The Centre has been awarded a multi-million-euro project as part of the EDIH programme to support start-ups and SMEs from all over Ireland who are at the early stage of their AI journey or just curious to find out how using data can increase their business.
Dr Ricardo Simon Carbajo, Director of Innovation and Development, CeADAR, said, “The AI Ecosystem Accelerator is one of the key services of CeADAR’s European Digital Innovation Hub programme. Run in partnership with NovaUCD the programme will provide entrepreneurs who are leveraging the power of AI with the required support, knowledge and network to accelerate their start-ups from ideation to investment stage. We encourage entrepreneurs to find out the benefits of accelerating their venture with us and the range of other funded services for companies as part of CeADAR’s EDIH programme.”
Applications are now open for the first AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme via https://www.ucd.ie/innovation/aiecosystem. The 6-month programme will begin in April and will end with a Demo Day in September.