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£100k proof of concept funding awarded to 10 NI Startups

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by Startacus Admin

catalyst co-founders winners

Ten of the most promising start-ups in Northern Ireland have each been awarded £10,000 proof of concept (POC) grants following their involvement in Catalyst’s early-stage entrepreneurship programme Co-Founders.

Co-Founders is an innovative programme which brings together ambitious people from diverse backgrounds who are interested in creating a start-up with high-growth potential in a safe, risk-free environment.

This year saw 18 teams graduate from the programme, with 10 teams each receiving £10,000 POC grants.catalyst co founders

Catalyst has partnered with Techstart Ventures, a leading investor of seed capital supporting early-stage businesses, to provide the £10,000 grants to the start-ups, which must be used to help validate their business and develop their inventive ideas.

This year’s Co-Founders programme had a new focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to reflect Catalyst’s commitment to sustainable innovation. The 17 SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Aligning with the SDG of ‘good health and wellbeing’, one team, Forgetmenot, is focusing on a platform to ease the pressures of dementia care, primarily aiming to support and help informal carers. Another team, Plugable, is looking at access to home chargers and new public infrastructure to support EV adoption, working towards the SDGs of ‘affordable and clean energy’ and ‘sustainable cities and communities’.

Companies across a range of sectors including Greentech, Fintech, Health & Wellbeing, and Education, were among the recipients of the funding.

The recipients of the £10,000 awards are:


MDD Systems Ltd





ElectrifyMe Ltd

Now Doctor Ltd



These teams will progress to Co-Founders+, Phase 2 of the programme, where ideas are further developed, and teams are given access to mentors and industry specialists to accelerate their concepts.

Since launching in 2017, 750 people have taken part in the programme with 196 teams formed; over a third of the teams formed are continuing to work on their start-up. This year saw a record number of applicants on the programme, plus a record number attending the in-person Hot House event, where participants network and form a start-up team.

The Co-Founders programme is funded by the Department for the Economy NI.


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Published on: 20th June 2023

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