Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an aviation accelerator in Shannon

A SiliconRepublic.com Article by Gordon Hunt on 24th July 2017

A new start-up accelerator programme targeting the aviation and aerospace ecosystem in Ireland has been created in Shannon.

Propeller Shannon was launched today (24 July) as the world of niche, targeted accelerators hit new heights.

Solely aimed at the aviation and aerospace industry, 10 start-ups will be hosted at a dedicated innovation hub in the Shannon Free Zone adjacent to Shannon Airport.

The three-month programme will help entrepreneurs to “build and commercially validate their technologies”. This will be aided by partner companies such as Boeing and Datalex.

Partnering up

Alongside those two aviation giants, the Propeller Shannon start-up accelerator will see Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre, DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, and Enterprise Ireland get involved.

“A priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help entrepreneurs and companies to start and scale,” said Joe Healy, division manager of High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) at the state body.

“By introducing this accelerator programme [we are] leveraging our strong international reputation as an aviation hub and our world-class start-up ecosystem to allow businesses in this specialised and innovative sector to scale and succeed.”

Last year, Enterprise Ireland sent a team of delegates to crew a pavilion at Farnborough International Airshow, one of the biggest of its kind, to try and entice billions of euro of aerospace business to Ireland.

With Ireland already one of the global centres of the aircraft leasing industry – which contributed to Ireland’s GDP growth of 26pc in 2015 – it was now hoped that the sector, which is valued at €4.1bn and already supports 42,000 jobs, can continue to grow.

Mayday, Mayday!

By May this year, the gears were starting to turn.

Recruitment firm CAE Parc Aviation, for example, recently announced it is to create 80 jobs across the country in Shannon and its new, larger Dublin office.

So, accelerators such as Propeller Shannon make a fair bit of sense.

Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group, said: “Over the years, Shannon has been home to innovations such as the world’s first duty free and the first free zone, as well as GPA, who pioneered the aircraft leasing industry.

“I’m delighted that Shannon will now be home to a new generation of aviation entrepreneurs, and we are very grateful to Enterprise Ireland for recognising the importance of the aviation industry for Ireland and for its generous support.

“The accelerator programme will help drive the development of innovative Irish and international start-up aviation companies and participate in their success, with a goal of producing companies of global significance from Ireland.”

Applications are now open for potential teams or individuals, both in Ireland and from overseas, working in the aviation, aerospace and travel tech sectors.

Minister of State Pat Breen TD launches the "Propeller Shannon" Start-Up Accelerator at Shannon Airport

Accelerator programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland now open to applications from entrepreneurs and teams in the aviation sector

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD today Monday 24th July, 2017, launched the Propeller Shannon start-up accelerator programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland to further enhance the aviation and the aerospace start-up ecosystem within Ireland.

The Propeller Shannon start-up accelerator, a partnership between Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, Boeing, and Datalex, and supported by Enterprise Ireland, aims to drive the development of innovative Irish and international start-up companies in the aviation sector.

The Propeller Shannon accelerator is now open to applications from potential teams or individuals both in Ireland and from overseas working in the aviation, aerospace and travel tech sectors. There are 10 slots available within the programme which will be based at a dedicated innovation hub in the Shannon Free Zone adjacent to Shannon Airport.

Successful applicants to the Accelerator programme will receive a place within the programme for a period of three months where teams will be able to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing networks and mentors from global aviation companies like Boeing and Datalex.

The Accelerator programme is part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy to increase the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than 10 persons and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

Launching the Shannon Propeller Start-up Accelerator, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD said: “I am delighted to officially launch the Propeller Shannon start-up accelerator here in my own constituency today. Shannon has a great heritage of working in this sector and this programme will pave the way for a new generation of aviation entrepreneurs. This incubator programme, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland, will make a real contribution to supporting growth in the aviation and aerospace industry. It will nurture innovative Irish companies to build scale and expand their reach in global markets.”  

Speaking at the launch in Shannon Airport, Joe Healy, Division Manager High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland said: “A priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help entrepreneurs and companies to start and scale. By introducing this accelerator programme in co-ordination with Shannon Group and DCU Ryan Academy, Enterprise Ireland is leveraging our strong international reputation as an aviation hub and our world class start-up eco-system to allow businesses in this specialised and innovative sector to scale and succeed. We welcome and look forward to receiving applications from the sector within Ireland and from overseas.”

Welcoming the support of Enterprise Ireland, Matthew Thomas, CEO, Shannon Group said: “Over the years, Shannon has been home to innovations such as the world’s first Duty Free and the first Free Zone, as well as GPA, who pioneered the aircraft leasing industry. I’m delighted that Shannon will now be home to a new generation of aviation entrepreneurs, and we are very grateful to Enterprise Ireland for recognising the importance of the aviation industry for Ireland and for its generous support. The accelerator programme will help drive the development of innovative Irish and international start-up aviation companies and participate in their success, with a goal of producing companies of global significance from Ireland.”

Patrick Edmond, MD of Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) said: “IASC’s mission is to grow Shannon’s aviation industry cluster and Ireland’s aviation capability, and we are delighted to join with visionary partners Enterprise Ireland, Boeing, and Datalex, to jointly unearth and support the next generation of aviation and travel technology entrepreneurs and to write the next chapter in Shannon’s long history of innovation."

Innovative drone company chooses Shannon for R&D and manufacturing base, plans 25 jobs by 2019

A-techSYN Ltd, an innovative R&D company with over four years of experience in fixed-wing Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) development, has today announced that it has signed Heads of Terms with Shannon Group plc’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) for a premises in the Shannon Free Zone business park in County Clare.

The company will not only transfer the development and production of its leading-edge ‘PilotUS’ autopilot hardware and software to the Shannon facility, but also plans to start providing drone flight services.

Welcoming A-techSYN to the Shannon Aviation Cluster, Patrick Edmond, IASC’s Managing Director, said that UAV technology was a very significant growth area in the aviation Industry.

“UAVs are a real growth area and the technology is evolving rapidly. We’re delighted to welcome an innovative company such as A-techSYN as part of our aviation cluster, and this further confirms Shannon as a leader in this industry sector. Our flexibility is a big part of our success: in this case, Shannon Group’s property arm Shannon Commercial Properties was able to offer A-techSYN a flexible property solution that matches their future growth strategy.”

Adnan Cetinkaya, Head of Sales and Operations of A-techSYN commented: “We are very pleased to join Shannon’s Aviation Cluster.  It is part of the A-techSYN strategy to position our business operations at a location that welcomes innovation and growth. Our core products are the PilotUS Autopilot Hardware and Software and the Ground Control Software.  We own the IP of several critical software and hardware systems. The same PilotUS autopilot can control any drone, be it a fixed wing, multi-copter or even helicopter. This gives end-users the ability to invest only once and use a family of several UAV’s designed for different purposes. This makes A-techSYN a very competitive player.”

Gokhan Celik, the CEO and founder of the company commented: “It is a pleasure for us to be part of a cluster that we believe will contribute greatly to UAV development.  This is a highly specialised industry sector and we are starting with five employees this year and plan to build this to 25 employees by the end of 2019.”

He continued, “A-techSYN will support the cluster by transferring all technology developed in recent years to Ireland. We hope to live up to our name and produce SYNERGY together with all the cluster stakeholders. We believe that our experience in control and flight services will be a great contribution. “

Highlighting the significance of the announcement, John Drysdale, IASC’s Business Development Manager, said: “Technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced communications and telemetry mean that advanced UAV operations will increasingly be part of day-to-day life in the very near future. A-techSYN will be a very welcome addition to Shannon’s existing cluster of over 50 aviation companies which between them employ over 2,400 people.”

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