Robot enthusiasts get funding for novel business

Niall McCormick (right) and Colmán Munnelly from Castlebar won a grant for their innovative start-up company.

Niall McCormick (right) and Colmán Munnelly from Castlebar won a grant for their innovative start-up company.

A pair of science and technology students from Castlebar have turned their passion for Lego and robots into a unique start-up company and won themselves a grant to develop their business.

Niall McCormick and Colmán Munnelly, both 20, are balancing college, exams, and commerce since they founded their company, which aims to get children interested in science through robot summercamps.

Colmac Robotics Ltd was this week announced by Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, as one of 20 Irish SMEs to win the OPTIMISE fund from the IE Domain Registry, which looks after .ie websites. The grant is worth €7,500 and will help them attract more customers through their website.

Mr McCormick, a third-year engineering student, said they were very surprised but delighted to win the funding.

“We set up the company and applied for the funding but we didn’t expect to be selected because we looked at the calibre of the last year’s winners, and there are some fantastic start-ups there. We are at an early stage of our business so this is a great boost.”

McCormick and Munnelly are both former Lego robotics competitors and have also been judges at robotics competitions.

McCormick said: “We want to use robots to help children learn. Robots are cool and interesting and by designing them you learn several different skills including computer aided design, electronic and mechanical engineering, maths and physicis.”

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