Friday 22 June 2018

Ireland – The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2018

22, June 2018 – Winning product empowers parents to track children’s speech development

Kids Speech Labs wins €10,000 in the annual Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition, run in partnership with NDRC

Kids Speech Labs, led by co-founders Shona D’Arcy and Celine de Looze, has won €10,000 in the annual Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition final which took place at the University of Limerick this week.

The team is currently developing a suite of products, enabling parents to track their children’s speech development, through Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled speech and language games.

The €10,000 prize fund will allow Kids Speech Labs to attract new staff and to scale their business idea.

‘Winning The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition has given us the validation that we needed’, said Sharon D’Arcy. ‘We are now in a position to develop this product further and to bring it to the next level. This competition was hugely beneficial and the invaluable advice and guidance that we received from The Ireland Funds and the NDRC has given us both the courage and confidence to keep going’, she said.

The second runner up, RecEasy, led by Maynooth University graduate, David Duignan, helps finance teams in large companies show every figure in their accounts are correct, reviewed and reconciled, using robotics and machine learning. This enables companies to save time and money and ensure they are compliant by having accurate accounts.

The third runner up was Cian O’Flaherty for his cloud based compliance platform, Safecility, which provides building owners with legally required compliance in a digital format, saving them €10,000 per building, per year.

Machine Eye was also awarded an Innovation Prize for their machine safety product.

‘Ireland boasts a thriving start up scene, with initiatives popping up across the country,’ said Bill McKiernan, Founder of The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition. ‘The competition aims to hone entrepreneurial skills amongst budding young entrepreneurs, who play a crucial role in developing local industries, attracting investors and creating jobs in Ireland’, he said.

Now in its seventh year, the Business Plan Competition seeks to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills among Irish-based pre-seed entrepreneurs. Over the past six weeks, ten teams on the Island of Ireland have had an opportunity to validate their business ideas, explore market opportunity and determine a business model. Along the way they have been mentored by industry domain leaders, worked closely with other entrepreneurs and the expert team at the NDRC.

Competition winners available for interview on request.

About The Ireland Funds: The Ireland Funds is a global philanthropic network established in 1976 to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland, and Irish-related causes around the world. With chapters in 12 countries, The Ireland Funds has raised over $600 million for deserving causes in Ireland and beyond, benefiting more than 3,200 different organisations.

About NDRC: NDRC sources and builds digital companies to invest in. NDRC has a mandate from the State (Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment) to make commercial investments in early stage startups, ensuring digital entrepreneurship is a vibrant and growing part of the economy. Visit:

Photos: Aengus McMahon


Hannah Brogan

Communications Manager

The Ireland Funds Ireland

Denshaw House, 121-122 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland

T - +353-1-662-7878

E -

Email me