NDRC-based youth accelerator ‘Patch’ gets new funding and new managing director

The accelerator is also expanding its reach into Northern Ireland.

Jack O'Regan Kenny, new MD of Patch

Adrian Weckler

An ‘accelerator’ aimed at helping young people to get into tech, science and business has announced new financial support from the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) and a new managing director.

The amount of the financial support for the accelerator, Patch, is in “the hundreds of thousands” according to the organisation.

Patch is also supported by Stripe, the payments company set up by Patrick and John Collison, and Dogpatch Labs.

It is currently seeking applications among people aged between 16 and 21 for its 2023 Patch programme.

The organisation has appointed Jack O’Regan Kenny, a young founder best known for seeing his startup, VC-Hunt, acquired by Toronto-based Startup Fuel in 2022, as its new managing director.

Alumni of Patch include four BT Young Scientist overall winners and Micheál McLaughlin, co-founder of the Northern Irish agtech startup Cropsafe, which recently raised $3m in venture capital funding.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Patch as managing director,” said Mr O’Regan Kenny.

“Taking part in Patch was a key event in my life and through Patch, I met amazing people, who gave me the direction and confidence to pursue my ambitions. This year, we will run our largest programme yet, with 36 participants, and bring the cohort to Belfast and London, immersing them in inspiring new environments. We are also developing grants programmes for young and alumni, supports that build on what alumni gain from the summer accelerator.”

Patch has a growing number of ecosystem partners, including the new Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme at the University of Limerick. Patch also works with the BT Young Scientists, CoderDojo and Scifest.

Applications for the 2023 Patch programme are currently open to those aged between 16 and 21 in Ireland and Northern Ireland until Friday, March 24th. Workshops, hands-on experience and mentorship from entrepreneurs including Des Traynor, Iseult Ward and Celine Haliloua will be included for those who make it through.