Applications are being sought for the fourth Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Aquatech Innovation Studio programme – due to take place part-time in Kerry and Dublin, with a site visit to Bergen in Norway – later this year. The programme already boasts several successes to date and is looking to meet new innovators in Ireland.
The Innovation Studio, delivered by aquaculture accelerator Hatch*, and supported by the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, is an equity-free programme to develop commercial scalability, technological readiness and an industry fit for projects that aim to increase the sustainability of aquaculture – whether in Ireland or further afield.
The 37 start-ups that have been through the programmes in the last four years now employ over 1,600 people and have raised over €13 million to date. Participants have gone on to fund businesses in seaweed, genetics and specialist technology for meat and seafood processors.
Successful applicants this year will have the opportunity to connect with a global network of aquaculture industry experts to validate their ideas, understand key market insights, learn to pitch for investment and effectively interact with customers.
Aquatech can involve everything from AI sensors and satellites to aquaculture systems for species, but it also has ability to revolutionise small-scale production and safeguard food security.
Since the launch of the initiative, BIM, Ireland’s seafood development agency and Hatch, the company behind the world’s first aquaculture accelerator programme, have together helped to foster a notable rise in the number and revenues of the country’s aquaculture entrepreneurs.
This year’s in-person programme has a brand-new format, with participants spending two to three days a week over the course of July in Kerry and Dublin, and the programme also include a site visit to Bergen later in the year.
Richard Donnelly, BIM’s Innovation and Development Manager, said that Ireland is one of the global leaders in the aquatech development sector said:
“Contingents from other countries have made site trips here to see the work and innovation that is going on. But more importantly, Ireland is also exporting this expertise and knowledge, with several spin-out companies and outposts in other parts of the world.
This programme, which we run with Hatch, is a fantastic way for someone with an interest in the area – or an idea they want to test – to come onboard and learn a huge amount.”
Wayne Murphy, co-founder and managing partner at Hatch, said that participation in the 2022 Innovation Studio is a fantastic way to trial an aquatech business idea or see if it can be brought to fruition:
“As well as a chance to meet and learn from aquaculture industry experts, potential investors and business development gurus, participants will have the opportunity to travel to Bergen to visit other initiatives, expand their international networks and experience life in one of largest aquaculture ecosystems in the world.”
How to apply
There are up to 10 places available for the studio and applications are sought from start-ups, tech innovators and academics who are keen to commercialise their research. Applicants must be focused on developing their business in Ireland or targeting the Irish aquaculture market but do not need to be based in Ireland. The closing date is June 10th next.
*The Fish Site is part of Hatch's investment portfolio, but the site retains editorial independence.