The event, held in Dublin on 6 December, to an audience of Irish and international investors, marked the final day of the first accelerator programme for aquaculture held in Ireland, and only the second such progamme in the world.
The intensive three-month programme, run by Hatch and supported by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, was based in Cork city. Start-ups from the UK, US, Canada, Chile and India benefited from mentorship from experts in the fields of aquaculture, technology, finance and marketing.
Jim O’Toole, CEO of BIM, said: “This programme represents a new phase of innovation for the Irish seafood sector. Three of six Hatch start-ups look likely to continue to operate their global aquaculture business from Ireland. This shows we’re making progress in our ambition to lead in aquaculture innovation. The demand for seafood and moreover for high quality seafood is growing. This places Ireland in prime position. Almost 15,000 adults work in the sector in Ireland. It’s at the heart of many of Ireland’s coastal communities and the focus on innovation will benefit the entire sector.”
Alune, an aquaculture investment business that allows access to high liquidity investment opportunities in aquaculture, incorporated its business in Ireland days before starting the Hatch Accelerator for Aquaculture. A further two of the six start-ups that took part in the Hatch Accelerator, are currently at advanced stages of trying to establish their global aquaculture business HQs in Ireland.
Wayne Murphy, COO of Hatch, said: "Taking Hatch to Ireland has been a hugely positive experience. All of the start-ups have gained from the expertise and support they received during the last three months as has been made clear at today's Demo Day."
Aquaculture is the fastest growing form of animal protein production in the world. 2017 saw the value of aquaculture in Ireland increase by 24 percent to €208 billion according to the BIM Business of Seafood.