Belfast bootcamp puts start-ups on fast-track
A three-month bootcamp featuring start-ups from Northern Ireland and overseas is under way in Belfast.
Start Planet NI has chosen nine technology-based companies for a fast-track programme aimed at getting their businesses off the ground.
They were picked from more than 300 applicants from 44 countries. The programme is funded by Invest NI and backed by private investors.
A special Northern Ireland Start-up Fund, due to be launched in early December by angel investor specialists Colman Equity, will use an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) as the vehicle to allow investors to put money into the Start Planet companies.
The programme, based in a new co-working space at Donegall Street, is led by Bill Liao, an international expert in coaching tech start-ups.
"Globally, accelerator programmes are known to be a crucial ingredient in successful start-up communities. Without such a programme, Belfast was at risk of falling further behind other regions," he said.
"The introduction of Start Planet NI now represents the final part of the local start-up ecosystem here and we are delighted that so many international and local companies have viewed Belfast as their start-up location of choice.
"With this type of programme we can now help make Belfast the business start-up hub of Europe and build an entrepreneurial ecosystem which can deliver long-term positive economic impact for Northern Ireland."
One entrepreneur taking part is Russian Kirill Chekanov from Chill, a software app company.
"When it came to choosing a programme to participate in, we spotted the opportunity to join Start Planet NI," he said. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity and believed that Belfast was a great location, ideally placed between US and Asian markets."
Each successful Start Planet team will receive between £15,000 and £40,000 seed funding. In return, they will be expected to release 8% equity.