Smart Wall Paint wins the 2013 Docklands Innovation Park Awards

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Above: Ronan Clarke, founder of Smart Wall Paint receiving €10,000 for Best Investment Proposal at the Awards ceremony held at the PwC headquarters, Docklands (L-R: Ronan Murphy, Senior Partner, PWC; Dr Pat McCormack, Chairman of the Bolton Trust; Ronan Clarke, Smart Wall Paint; Lucinda Creighton T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs)

Three companies, each seeking expansion funding, battled it out at the 2013 Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise Awards. The winner, Ronan Clarke, Smart Wall Paint, secured the title of best investment proposal for 2013 and a prize of €10,000. PwC, Ireland’s largest professional services organisation, again co-sponsored the Awards . The finalists, all of whom are participants on the Dublin Institute of Technology New Frontiers Programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, pitched their investment proposals and were questioned by an experienced panel of judges on their business plans.

About the winning company

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Ronan Clarke, Smart Wall Paint – a developer and distributer of a range of products with unique applications. The original product is a smart paint that turns any flat surface into a reusable whiteboard.

Announcing the winner, Lucinda Creighton, T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs, said:

"I would like to commend the work of everyone involved in the Docklands Innovation Park Awards, including the Bolton Trust, DIT and Enterprise Ireland. Ireland more than ever needs the development of indigenous companies capable of scaling and competing on the European and world stage and growing to become global companies headquartered in Ireland. Many of these entrepreneurs will be our future business leaders and their new ideas and businesses will no doubt contribute to job creation and Ireland’s recovery. It is essential that we help to foster an environment which supports these entrepreneurs to develop the necessary entrepreneurial skills, to extend their practical business knowledge and thus enable them to start and grow sustainable companies."

The Chairperson of the judging panel was Shay Garvey, Frontline Ventures and other members of the judging panel were Noel Crawford, IBM Innovation Centre, Kevin Neary, Entrepreneur and Jean O’Sullivan, Enterprise Ireland. Announcing the winner Shay Garvey commented:

“The Judges were delighted to see investor ready projects. We have seen three scalable businesses with global potential. Our winner Ronan Clarke, Smart Wall Paint, bears testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and to the effectiveness of the support these start-ups are receiving.”

Now in its eleventh year, the Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise Awards is the initiative of the Bolton Trust and DIT Hothouse and is aimed at showcasing the innovative companies emerging from Docklands Innovation Park to investors and those with an interest in start-ups. Last year’s winner, Ultan Technologies, raised investment following these Awards and has achieved Enterprise Ireland High Potential StartUp status.

The Bolton Trust was established in 1987 at the height of Ireland’s ‘brain drain’ to promote an enterprise culture and to offer young entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business ideas in Ireland. There are some 350 people currently employed by the 60 companies based at the Docklands Innovation Park on Dublin’s East Wall Road. The Trust is committed to helping the growth of indigenous Irish enterprises and fostering entrepreneurship. Chairman, Pat McCormack, commented: “At this time it is more important than ever for strategic investment in young innovative companies who represent growth opportunities for our economy. This winner and finalists represent real opportunities with global potential.”

Speaking at the event, Ronan Murphy, Senior Partner, PwC, said: "Innovation is a cornerstone for Ireland's emerging recovery and it is important that business supports our entrepreneurs,many of whom will be tomorrow's business leaders. Innovation is not only about new ideas and products, it is also about having an entrepreneurial culture that can transform all aspects of business from developing the right skills and technologies to how we deal with customers to efficiencies in process and operations. Making smart investments in innovation will ultimately help create new job opportunities and return our economy to growth. We are delighted to support these Awards. All of the candidates this evening displayed superb innovation and a particular congratulations to the winner. We wish them every success as they grow and develop their businesses further."

Cairin O'Connor, Development Director of the Bolton Trust also commented: "Winning the DIP Enterprise Award 2013 is great news for Ronan Clarke and the Smart Wall Paint team and great news for the Bolton Trust and DIT Hothouse. Ronan was based in the Bolton Trust incubator before going onto the DIT New Frontiers Programme. He had the innovative idea, availed of the advice and supports and now has a scalable business."

The runners-up were:

Mark Burke, OptiWi-fi – an Irish software company that produces highly innovative software for the telecommunications industry to help optimise bandwidth usage on wifi networks to improve download speeds for end users.

Andrew Considine, Willstream – which has developed a unique cloud based web and mobile payments platform enabling individuals and organisations to manage the funds they send for the benefit of a third party. This application is specifically designed for locations where the local banking system is not fully developed and where take up of bank accounts is low.

Two of the three finalists, OptiWi-fi and winner Smart Wall Paint, are DIT spin-out companies whose technologies were developed through research in DIT. Click here to learn more about DIT technologies currently available to license.

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