Our team is led by Peter Finnegan, Director, and Patricia Gibbons, Manager.
Peter is the Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC. A UCC Graduate (B.A. 1997, MBS 2001), Peter has been involved in the enterprise development and enterprise support arena since the late 1990s. Peter’s career has encompassed both the public and private sector in Ireland and overseas. Prior to joining Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC Peter worked with CORKBIC, NovaUCD, International Development Ireland, the Irish Exporters Association and CIT’s Rubicon Centre as Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme. Between 2005 and 2010 he worked in the investment promotion and corporate services arena in Bahrain as part of an Irish consultancy team that managed and marketed the country’s largest international investment park. He has worked with promoters developing enterprises across the business spectrum. He is a member of the Cork Innovates Steering Group and an active member of Cork Chamber of Commerce. During his student days Peter was the first ever Postgraduate Representative to preside on the Governing Body of UCC.
Patricia is the Programme Manager of Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC. Blackstone Launchpad works as a team to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path option by supporting and mentoring student ventures with new ideas. She loves the work that they do in Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC and she wants to hear from and meet with students who have an idea they are passionate about, and see how they can help you flush out initial concepts and understand the roadmap to execute on it. Her background is in the finance sector where she worked as a Credit Manager working with SME’s in various industry sectors. She is a graduate of UCC where she studied Economics and Computer Studies, and is also certified with the Institute of Project Management Ireland.
Patrica is currently on maternity leave.
Alexis Amaye is a Programme Manager of Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC. She brings her passion for entrepreneurship and mentoring to the team as they work to support student and staff venture creation. She enjoys working at the Blackstone LaunchPad and looks forward to meeting people interested in taking their business ideas to the next level. Alexis was a student entrepreneur at the age of 19 while finishing her final year at Xavier University of Louisiana, so she is well aware of the challenge of balancing a busy school schedule with a business. Her management background is in the public and private sectors, and she brings a background in natural product development and consultancy from other businesses she started. Alexis is a PhD student at UCC where she studies Business Information Systems. She is always happy to help encourage and support, or just chat about being from New York City.
Joanne O’Leary, Student Intern
Joanne is the newest member of the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC team, and hails from Ballygarvan, Co.Cork. She is currently completing an M.Sc. in Management and Marketing at UCC and is on a Student Internship with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC, as part of her Masers Programme. Joanne holds a B.A. in Irish and Geography from UCC.
Our Student Ambassadors
Our Student Ambassadors are an integral part of the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC team. They are drawn from across the UCC campus. These are students who have already proven that they have an entrepreneurial mindset, through their involvement in initiatives, organisations and businesses. They provide an example to their peers of the possibilities of a life full of enterprise and innovation.
Lam Hoang is a second-year business information systems undergraduate student. He is the co-founder of Avid Modelling and has been involved with many entrepreneurship events on campus. He hopes to promote entrepreneurship and creativity through out UCC while working In conjunction with Blackstone Launchpad.
I have been affiliated with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC for quite some time now being a participant and a student ambassador. My passion for entrepreneurship and problem solving has been accommodated for since I have been with Blackstone LaunchPad by being mentored by Peter and Alexis and also partaking in the events that have been held such as the start-up lab and Be Your Own Boss workshops. In terms of my education I am completing a degree in Business Information Systems and continue to build and develop my venture ideas.
Molly Twomey is studying a Masters of Creative Writing, she has been published in The Times, The Examiner, Headstuff, The Mighty and has been shortlisted for a Hennessy Award. She creates blogs, edits The Quarryman, established her own Hatha Yoga business and volunteers as a National Panel Member for SpunOut.ie (Ireland’s Youth Information Site). She hopes to use her communication and creative skills to inform students, staff and alumni of the opportunities available through Blackstone Launchpad.
Katie Buckley is in her final year of Digital Humanities and Information Technology and has been elected Chairperson of the Social Democrats in UCC for 2018/19. Katie is passionate about innovative technology and encouraging entrepreneurship in UCC.
Fionn Roche is a third year student of Process and Chemical Engineering. Fionn represented UCC in ESB’s Inter-Colleges Challenge where his team secured second place, as well as being the overall winners in the ERI’s Climathon. He is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship as a viable career path among STEM students.
Kerri Dowling is a final year Commerce student majoring in Marketing with an interest in food business, sustainability and rural promotion. In recent years, Kerri decided to follow her passion for entrepreneurship and established a cosmetic business in Caherciveen. She has since won the title of “One to Watch” in Beauty Business in Connect Kerry Countywide Hair and Beauty Awards. Kerri hopes to encourage more student engagement in entrepreneurship and innovation through promoting Blackstone Launchpad.
John Cotter is a final year student of International Economics (through Transformational Learning). He encourages confidence, self-belief and adaptability in his fellow students. John wants to support entrepreneurs by representing Blackstone Launchpad for students, alumni and staff in UCC.
Jack Murphy is a third year Commerce student who has experience working for corporations such as Deloitte and Maersk. He is actively engaged in entrepreneurship, marketing, and music production. Jack participated in the first Entrepreneurship in the Rockies programme run by Blackstone Launchpad in Missoula, Montana. He also contributed to the Idea Generation Day hosted by Blackstone Launchpad in UCC in 2017.
Past Student Ambassadors
Paul O’Shea is a final year Computer Science student in UCC and hails from Turners Cross in Cork City. Paul is very interested in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Business, Cryptocurrency, AI and Automation. He was part of the winning team at the first Irish Blackstone LaunchPads’ IoTathon eventin July 2017, competing against undergraduates and postgraduates from UCC, NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. He also won Best Business Idea in the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC/IGNITE Start-up Programme in 2017.
Maebh O’ Malley is studying for a M.Sc. in Food Business Masters from UCC and is from Achill Island, Co. Mayo. She is involved in her family food business, Achill Island Sea Salt. From this she has developed a passion for entrepreneurship and start-up business. Maebh participated in the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC and IGNITE Start-up Programme in 2017 and has been involved in many entrepreneurial events on campus.
Ciara Judge is a 2nd Year Genetics student and is a UCC Quercus Scholar. Ciara is both a scientist and an entrepreneur. She has won the BT Young Scientist, the EU Young Scientist and the Google Science Fair with her teammates Emer Hickey and Sophie Sophie Healy-Thow for their scientific research, and in 2014 TIME Magazine named her as being one of the 25 most influential teens worldwide. She has co-founded two start-ups, Germinaid and PurchaseMate, and is on the board of directors of the UN YouthCorp. Ciara is also coauthor of the Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers, issued under the Slovak EU Presidency. Last November Ciara was named by JCI as being among the ten most Outstanding Young People in the World.
Emer is a 2nd Year Science student from Kinsale, Co. Cork. She is a UCC Quercus Scholar. She has won the BT Young Scientist, the EU Young Scientist and the Google Science Fair with her teammates Ciara Judge and Sophie Healy-Thow for their scientific research. She was listed by TIME magazine as one of the 25 most Influential Teenagers in the world. Currently Emer is codirector of Germinaid along with Ciara Judge. She is a keen supporter of getting more young people involved in STEM. Emer is also a staff member at the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).
Marie is a 2nd Year Commerce student. During transition year in secondary school Marie founded her own business, MPM Safety Equipment Ltd, and was selected as UCC Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016. Marie represented Ireland at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Frankfurt, Germany, in April 2017.