Tuesday, September 25 14:40:48
Connemara-based Advance Science has received E300,000 in new funding to develop its natural product solution to prevent the destruction of worldwide honey bee colonies.
The Western Business and Innovation Centre (WESTBIC) delivers the Halo Business Angel Partnership programme in the western region, and working with Dublin BIC, it matched Advance Science with private business angel investors for the funding.
The angel investment was supplemented by finance from Udaras na Gaeltachta and the company's founders.
Advance Science will use the funding to further develop and trial its product in new export markets and also to create 12 new jobs in the areas of research and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
Advance Science is part of a small cluster of research and development companies based in the Inagh Valley Trust in Connemara. It has developed HiveAlive a unique blend of extracts, both land and marine, which when combined have been shown, by the National University of Ireland Galway, to fight the Nosema ceranae fungus, one of the key reasons for the decline in the honey bee colonies. The extracts are also known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to further protect the hives.
Honey bee colonies are under threat around the world. On average one in every three hives are dying each year, with up to 90pc losses being experienced by some apiaries. Termed as Colony Collapse Disorder, this is having a significant negative impact on the natural pollination of several crop and plant sources of global food, with a potential knock-on effect for commercial catastrophe.
HiveAlive is already enabling beekeepers from Ireland, the UK, Spain, Hungary and Denmark reduce hive losses by up to 80pc and increase honey production by more than 30pc. It is also boosting pollination revenue due to stronger colonies. Advance Science is targeting further export markets in the next twelve months including the US and additional European countries.
Dara Scott, managing director, Advance Science said, "The honey bee produces nearly 1.5 million tonnes of honey worldwide each year and pollinates up to one third of the food we eat. As an avid beekeeper myself, I could see first hand that the risks to the honey bee colonies are increasing and a real solution was needed."
"HiveAlive is already making significant strides to strengthen colonies all around the world and this investment will help us to continue developing and testing our product in new markets. The support of West BIC and Dublin BIC through the Halo Business Angel Partnership was integral to our ability to secure this funding."