The winner of the Propel Company of the Year Award was Okotech. Janette O’Hagan of Okotech is pictured with Invest NI Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton at the Propel awards.
Co. Antrim entrepreneur Janette O’Hagan has emerged as the winner of the Propel Company of the Year at Invest Northern Ireland’s Propel programme awards ceremony.
Janette O’Hagan is the co-founder and CEO of Okotech Ltd, which developed an innovative, wireless heating controls system called heatboss®.
Propel is Invest NI’s business support programme targeted at individuals with innovative, knowledge based ideas with export potential.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, Janette O'Hagan said: “We are very honoured to have won this coveted award, particularly at such an important stage of development for our company. It is recognition of how far Okotech has come and our future potential.
“The Propel programme has been informative, nurturing, challenging and supportive from the outset. It has guided us through the process of building a successful commercial business around our great product,” she continued.
Janette outlined how the constant support of the delivery team, mentors, and other entrepreneurs on the Propel programme encouraged them to develop a stronger, more ambitious and successful new business.
“Propel has helped us to focus on the continued refinement of our product, and the validation and verification of the market potential. It has also allowed us to develop an accelerated and detailed business plan for future growth,” says Janette.
“Okotech currently has two commercial customers within the care home sector, an industry that needs to regulate its central heating 24x7x365. Once successfully established within that sector, we plan to expand into adjacent market sectors such as hospitality, education and eventually the domestic home heating market.
“Winning the Propel Company of the Year award will help us to gain much-needed initial brand awareness and will help us to establish quickly within our current market and push on into new markets both at home and in export markets such as Ireland, the rest of the UK, and Northern Europe.”
Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, who presented the Award said: “The Propel programme has been developed to fast track high potential start up businesses that have the ability to grow and helps to turn them into high growth, export focused businesses. In Okotech we have found such a company and I’d like to congratulate the management team.”
Mr. Hamilton continued: “They have developed an innovative solution that has the ability to change an industry and have made rapid progress in the last year despite a number of setbacks. This shows a level of perseverance and courage which I hope will lead to further success.”
The Propel programme has supported 33 high potential start-up businesses over the last two years.