Meet Our Team

Our team is led by Peter Finnegan, Director, and Patricia Gibbons, Manager. 

Peter Finnegan

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 Gibbons

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

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, Intern.  

Joanne is the newest member of the Blackstone Launch Pad team, from Ballygarvan, Co.Cork. She is currently completing an MSc in Management and Marketing, UCC and is undertaking placement with us. She also has a BA in Irish and Geography.








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.


Paul O’Shea

My name is Paul O’Shea, I’m in my final year of Computer Science from Turners Cross, Cork City. I’m very interested in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Business, Cryptocurrency, AI and Automation. I was part of the winning team at Blackstone Launchpads IoTathon in July 2017, competing against undergraduates and postgraduates from UCC, NUIG and Trinity. I won Best Business Idea in the IGNITE/Blackstone Launchpad’s Startup workshop in 2018.



Maebh O’Malley

Maebh O’ Malley is a Food Business Masters student from Co. Mayo. She is involved in her family food business, Achill Island Sea Salt and from which developed a passion for entrepreneurship and start-up business development. Maebh participated in the UCC Blackstone LaunchPad and IGNITE Start-up programme and has been involved in many entrepreneurial events on campus.  She hopes to promote enterprise and innovation throughout the UCC campus and encourage students to bring their ideas to life.


Lam Hoang

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.




Past Ambassadors

Ciara Judge

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 Hickey

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 Martin

Marie is a 2nd Year Commerce student. During transition year in secondary school Marie founded her own business, MPM Safety Equipment Ltd, for which She was selected as UCC Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016. Marie represented Ireland at the Global Student Entreporeneur Awards in Frankfurt, Germany, in April 2017.