Meet our team
Our team is led by
Peter Finnegan, Director, Patricia Gibbons, Manager, Joanne O’Leary, Marketing and Events Coordinator
and our Student Ambassadors.
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 privateector 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 a graduate of UCC where she studied Economics and Computer Studies, and is also certified with the Institute of Project Management Ireland. Her background is in the finance sector where she worked as a Credit Manager working with SME’s in various industry sectors.
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.
Patricia is currently on maternity leave.
former programme manager
Alexis 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.
MARKETING AND EVENTS COORDINATOR
Joanne is a Marketing and Events Coordinator at Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC. She has been part of the team since March 2018. She holds a M.S.c in Management and Marketing as well as a BA (hons) in Geography and Irish. Joanne’s passions lie within event creation, marketing and branding.
student enterprise intern
Gillian is studying a MSc in Food Business and Innovation with Cork University Business School. She holds a BA (Hons) in Economics and Geography.
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 as to the possibilities that the domains of entrepreneurship and innovation present.
Current and former Student Ambassadors
Lam Hoang is a final year Business Information Systems student in UCC. 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 throughout UCC while working with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC.
Molly Twomey is studying for a M.A. in Creative Writing. Her work has previously 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 at UCC.
Sam has been affiliated with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC for some time, both as a participant and a Student Ambassador. His passion for entrepreneurship and problem solving has been accommodated for since he first interacted with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC by being mentored by Peter and Alexis and also partaking in the events that have been held such as Start Up Lab at UCC and the Be Your Own Boss Series. In terms of his studies he is a final year Business Information Systems student in UCC and continues to build and develop his venture ideas.
Katie Buckley is in the Final Year of her Digital Humanities and Information Technology Degree Programme 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 3rd Year Process and Chemical Engineering student in UCC. Fionn represented UCC in the 2017 ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge where his team secured second place, as well as being the overall winners in the ERI’s 2017 Climathon Challenge. 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, Co. Kerry. 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 across the UCC campus.
John Cotter is a Final Year student in International Economics (through Transformational Learning) in UCC. He encourages confidence, self-belief and adaptability in his fellow students. John wants to support entrepreneurs through his work with Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC.
Jack Murphy is a 3rd Year Commerce student in UCC and has previously worked 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 rorganised by Blackstone LaunchPad at UCC in Missoula, Montana, in summer 2018. He also participated in a Blackstone LaunchPad Business Idea Generation Challenge during the 2017-18 academic year.