Start Up’s


23
Apr 14

Fumbally Exchange to Open 13 Locations after Dublin Success

    Fumbally Exchange founder George Boyle with President Michael D Higgins at the official opening of the organisation’s new flagship building. Picture Jason Clarke Photography Fumbally Exchange, a not-for-profit organisation that offers a low-cost base and collaboration opportunities for creative businesses, has announced plans to open at as many as 13 new locations.

The organisation, which was founded by architect George Boyle in 2010 to provide working space for would-be entrepreneurs, said it had tripled its membership of small businesses, sole traders and start-ups to more than 150 in the past year. Collectively, these new businesses have a combined turnover of more than €6 million.

According to Ms Boyle, who was speaking at the official opening of the organisation’s flagship building in Dame Lane, Dublin 2 today, more than two-thirds of Fumbally-based businesses are planning to expand this year.

The Fumbally Exchange, which was originally based in Fumbally Square, Dublin 8, was inspired by the Metropolitan Exchange in New York, was originally envisioned as a response to the recession, but has since come to thrive as an effective model for creative business. It seeks to transform how people work by creating a collaborative environment.

The exchange currently hosts 158 member businesses working across a range of sectors including architecture, digital media, copywriting, engineering, interior design, event planning, publishing and photography.

In addition to the Dame Lane building, which was recently refurbished through the voluntary efforts of its members, the organisation also has locations in Balbriggan, Co Dublin and Waterford, as well as a sister Exchange in Ravenna, Italy.

Fumbally Exchange is opening what it calls a “hedge school for businesses” later this month, which will be known as the FEx Academy. The initiative, which will be based at Dame Lane, will offer training and education for small organisations.

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3
Jul 13

14 new Irish start-ups hit the ground running at Guinness centre in Dublin.

14 new Irish start-ups hit the ground running at Guinness centre in Dublin  Des Fahey, chair executive of Dublin BIC; Michelle Clarke: Dublin Launch48 ambassador; Councillor Oisín Quinn, newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin; and Mark O’Brien, Dublin Launch48 ambassador. Photo credit: John T Ohle Photography Last weekend, the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) in Dublin City was a hive of activity as 14 new Irish start-ups were officially launched at the incubation centre during a weekend brainstorming session.

The event, known as Dublin Launch48, saw mentors from Ireland’s digital sector help 14 start-up teams develop their business plans over 48 hours.

Siliconrepublic.com first reported on Launch48 earlier this year. Irish IT professional Michelle Clarke is the brain behind it (more on that below).

Taking a similar approach to the renowned Startup Weekend series around the globe, where teams converge over 54 hours to nurture ideas for new ventures, Dublin Launch48 is a new start-up initiative to get Ireland going again via digital entrepreneurship. Other events that have been held in Ireland in recent times to develop start-ups include Startup Dublin. In 2012 the not-for-profit Leancamp also came to Dublin.

So, what about Launch48 then? It is being supported by the aforementioned GEC and Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC).

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27
Jul 12

Sherlock welcomes job creation by seven start-up companies in Cork

Sean SherlockMinister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills with responsibility for Research & Innovation

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock has welcomed today’s announcement that 911 new jobs will be created over the next three years in 53 new high potential start up companies, 7 of which are located in Cork.

Today’s announcement relates to companies to which support has been provided in the first six months of 2012 under Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Ups Programme. Both the number of investments and the number of jobs to be created are significantly up on the same period last year (755 jobs/42 companies).
Minister Sherlock said “These high potential start-up companies, which are supported by Government through Enterprise Ireland, are extremely important to both the regional and national economy.

“Now more than ever we need ambitious and energetic entrepreneurs who can play a real part in driving this economy. Every one of these employers is playing their part in getting Ireland back on track, contributing in a significant way to our local communities.

“They clearly show that despite the many challenges of the current international environment there are significant opportunities for new business start ups in a wide range of sectors including the innovative sectors that the Government is targeting for growth such as financial services, ICT, digital games, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

“This announcement reflects the Government’s commitment to getting our people back to work by growing our indigenous sector, increasing our exports and creating much needed jobs for this economy”, Minister Sherlock concluded.

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26
Jul 12

Irish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three years

Irish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three yearsIrish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three years.  Up to 911 new jobs are set to be created by 53 new high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) that are supported by the Irish Government through Enterprise Ireland, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, has just announced.

Bruton made the announcement at the online start-up Connectedtrips, a HPSU that currently employs five people. The Enterprise Ireland-supported start-up has today committed to creating an additional 17 jobs by the end of 2014.

The company is located at Dogpatch Labs on Barrow Street as part of Dublin’s digital hub. Connectedtrips is a global travel website and online community aimed at anyone who is interested in holidays, retreats and courses in the area of personal growth, ie yoga, healing and self help.

The company was founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Alan Wyley, the co-founder of eWare and former CEO of EuroCommerce. It set up shop in Dublin with five employees last year.

Creating jobs around Ireland

As for the remaining 52 Enterprise Ireland supported start-ups that will be aiming to create up to 900 jobs within the next two years, they are based all around the country. They include EasyDry, a company that is pioneering biodegradable paper towels. It is based in Dundalk, Co Louth. The UCD spin-out Wattics, which has developed a smart metering solution and is based at NovaUCD, is another company that will be on a mission to create new jobs, as will Akari Saoftware, which is based in Little Island in Co Cork.

Dogpatch companies also plan to scale up and create jobs

And Dogpatch Labs also said today said that each of the 21 companies that are based there have hiring plans similar to Connectedtrips. Apparently, they will be looking to scale their teams aggressively in the coming months and quarters.

Dogpatch Labs located in Ireland last September following an investment by the National Pensions Reserve Fund under Innovation Fund Ireland.

Creating our own Google’s and Microsoft’s …

Bruton said today that developing a strong engine of indigenous business is central to the Government’s plan for jobs and growth.

He spoke about how Ireland has a base of multinationals that have located in the country, making it the envy of other countries.

However, he said the aim is not only to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but to make it possible for the next Google or Microsoft to start up in Ireland.

“We have established a new potential exporters division in Enterprise Ireland to provide new supports for exporters. We have delivered new mentoring and management support programmes to help companies improve their performance. We are delivering new funding mechanisms, such as the credit guarantee scheme and the microfinance fund, that will provide more than €800m of new funds for Irish businesses,” added Bruton.

Scaling start-ups

Enterprise Ireland also announced today that the number of jobs is up 20pc and companies up 26pc compared to the same period last year in its HPSU programme.

Greg Treston, head of HPSUs and scaling at Enterprise Ireland, said this morning that the agency is constantly reviewing and broadening the range of supports it can provide to the early-stage companies it supports.

“Initiatives are in place with specialist support at critical points along the start-up development path, and the overall seed capital and VC funding environment for new business has never been stronger,” he said.

Treston also spoke about Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund that provides early stage financing to entrepreneurs, the Accelerated Growth Programme for companies that offers the potential to scale faster to achieve rapid international growth, and the €10m International Start-Up Fund for overseas entrepreneurs to locate start-up businesses in Ireland.

“Enterprise Ireland’s funding and development supports, along with our network of overseas offices, are all at the disposal of innovative start-up companies to help them grow thriving international businesses,” he added.

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23
Jul 12

Irish Start-Up Schemes for Business Vastly Underused

WASTED INCENTIVES: A stack of euro coins sits on top of a 50 euro note in this stock photo. Irish start-up enterprises are foregoing substantial government incentives due to a lack of awareness of what support is available (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Governments don’t create jobs; successful businesses do.

But Government can help …

- Richard Bruton TD

WASTED INCENTIVES: Irish start-up enterprises are foregoing substantial government incentives due to a lack of awareness of what support is available.

At the 9th Action Plan for Jobs 2012 Forum last Tuesday in Galway, the Minster for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton TD, presented a new leaflet detailing the schemes that start-up companies can apply to for government help.

According to a press release from his department, only a marginal number of those qualified to benefit from start-up schemes actually avail of them. The Revenue Job Assist Scheme, for example, which allows a double write-off (for 3 years) of both wages and PRSI when hiring someone who has been on the live register for 12 months, was only used in 650 cases in 2010. However 200,000 people could benefit from it, according to the press release. 2010 is the last year that figures are available for.

Minister Bruton said the problem for Irish start-ups is not a lack of government support, but rather a lack of awareness on their part about the support available. The new leaflet is part of a drive to change that.

“It has become clear to me that there is a serious gap in business awareness of the actual supports that already exist. That is what this leaflet is about—setting out in short order what is available to help you to start or run your business successfully,” he said.

According to Mr Bruton: “Governments don’t create jobs; successful businesses do. But Government can help, and this leaflet explains some of the more immediate and direct sources of support which I hope businesses can take advantage of in the coming months and years.”

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11
Jul 12

New €250k fund to support women entrepreneurs

New €250k fund to support women entrepreneurs

New €250k fund to support women entrepreneurs

Sarah Doyle, CEO, Kinesense, Lulu O’Sullivan, CEO, GiftsDirect.com, Julie Sinnamon, executive director, Enterprise Ireland and Noreen Hynes, managing director, Polymer Recovery

Enterprise Ireland has set up a €250,000 fund aimed at supporting women to set up export-led high potential business start-ups.

The Female Entrepreneurship Competitive Feasibility Fund will be open for applications from 17 July until 4 September.

It is designed to assist female entrepreneurs to investigate the viability of a new growth orientated business that can succeed in global markets.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said Ireland currently has a relatively low level of female entrepreneurs.

“Australia is often cited as an example of international best practice in this area – if we had the same level of female entrepreneurship in Ireland as in Australia, we would have over 34,000 extra entrepreneurs running businesses which they started in Ireland.  They could potentially create a lot of extra jobs.”

Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland director for global business development, said the fund was directed at supporting an important group of female entrepreneurs to expand their business horizons.  “It is about giving them a vital injection of funding and support when they most need it.”

Further Enterprise Ireland initiatives and supports for emerging female-led enterprises will be announced via a national awareness campaign over the coming months.

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7
Jul 12

Enterprise Ireland: New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme

Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Phase 2 Participation

Absolutely delighted to be able to say that I was awarded – with my tech start-up company www.COMPLYfile.com – a place on the much covetted Enterprise Ireland (‘EI’) New Frontiers programme.

What’s the Big Deal about getting on an EI New Frontiers programme anyhow?

This is what the EI New Frontiers programme is looking for:

The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme is targeted at entrepreneurs and early stage start-up companies located across Ireland. The programme is open to applications from a diversity of sectors including; food & consumer products, information & communication technology, engineering & electronics, medical devices, biotechnology, pharma, digital media, cleantech/renewable energy and eligible internationally traded services.

And they were looking for people and ideas that:

  • intend establishing a manufacturing or internationally traded services business OR a new domestically traded service business with the potential to trade internationally;
  • ambitious and have the capability and commitment needed to develop a sustainable business;
  • growth orientated – planning to achieve turnover greater than €500,000 and create more than five jobs in three to five years time;
  • develop a business that is built upon on a strong foundation of innovation and/or technology.show evidence of a commercial market for your proposed product or service

Yes, but still I don’t get what you’re so excited about

Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme is the successor to the EI Hothouse programme – both being basically company accelerators/incubators – i.e. structured new company programmes lead by experienced entrepreneurs intent on the development of high potential start-up businesses.

So, to get on the programme initially you have to show that you have a strong business proposition along with the potential for growth and job creation. Phase 2 allows for regular reviews, ongoing mentoring, and access to EI’s extensive ‘Rolodex’ of contacts, targeted at creating a business plan that at the end of the 6 month programme has a clear:

  1. business proposition
  2. customer pipeline
  3. route-to-market/sales channel and
  4. funding plan.

Wow. Sounds cool. So you just apply and get a place?

Well, almost, but not quite.

Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme is split into 3 phases and across something like 13 Institutes of Technology across the great island of Ireland.

Phase 1: evening workshops over an 8-10 week period, basically taking you through the A-Z of getting a start-up company off the ground with all the relevant building blocks. Coming from the background of being a litigation solicitor I knew a lot of the legals, funding side of things: what was of particular use to me was the modules and work around market research (not being something I’d have had that much experience of). I was particularly struck by realising that whatever I felt about my own particular skills-sets, there was a seriously impressive collection of skills from the 20-25 people who participated on Phase 1 (including someone who’d worked for one of the world’s leading market research companies in an earlier life). Judging from what I’ve read and heard on the grapevine there’s something like 70-100 applications to the Phase 1 part of the programme, with slight regional variations depending on the location/demand for a particular Institute of Technology. Of that 70-100, about 20-25 are accepted on to Phase 1.

Phase 2: This is the 6 month stretch of the programme, and for which places are awarded on a competitive basis i.e. completion of a detailed application form (covering what you’d expect in terms of a new business proposition programme) and a half hour interview with a panel of EI staff.

Something like 10-15 of Phase 1 participants get an interview, of whom something in the region of 10 get a place on the Phase 2 programme.

Phase 2 is also funded to the tune of €15K, which in the current economic environment could be the difference between getting a good business proposition off the ground – and not.

Bear in mind that – wherever your closest Institute of Technology is based – there are about a dozen such programmes being run across the country. Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme is therefore Ireland’s most extensive, best-funded entrepreneur development programme (€4.25M being allocated nationwide).

So, something like 700-1,000 people apply for the 250 places nationwide on Phase 1, and something like 100-150 people/companies earn Phase 2 participation status.

Importantly, to be accepted on Phase 2, you have to have demonstrated – at a number of different stages – that your idea – and you as a person – have the basic DNA of what it takes to bring what is currently just a concept to objective commercial execution. The reason why you’re on the programme? Because you’ve recognised weakenesses in your skills-set or business value proposition and need help bolstering those skills-sets, building a team about you, and turning potential weaknesses into business strengths.

Phase 3: essentially ongoing support / direction in terms of accessing the most appropriate grant sources, and potentially making preferential company incubation facilities available.

Cool. So what’s your idea then?

COMPLYfile.com is developing a web-based risk management system for clubs and voluntary organisations to allow them to achieve compliance with current and impending child protection legislation around the recruitment and ongoing mentoring of volunteers where those volunteers are interacting with children or vulnerable adults. We’re investing heavily into market research (we don’t want to build something people don’t want; or want but won’t pay for) and I’m currently building a team of UX (user experience), coding and other experiences/skills. I’m participating in the Institute of Technology at Blanchardstown’s LINC programme (Learning and Innovation Centre).

Not coming from a programming background myself I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll ever be describing myself as a ‘techie’ programmer/coder. But I’m learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript in an effort to ensure that I fully grasp the technical build of the COMPLYfile.com platform. I’m fortunate to have been introduced to a developer experienced in agile software development (more in another post but basically=iterative and incremental software development rather than trying to build the finished product without customer validation along the way), and with him we’re building the concept map at the moment.

Eric Ries: The Lean Start-Up | Ash Maurya: Running Lean

Speaking of ‘more in another post’, if anyone who’s thinking of – or is currently engaged in – a tech start-up and hasn’t bought, read, and highlighted, annotated and generally digested what Eric Ries talks about in The Lean Start-Up: go and buy it now. Then have a look at Ash Maurya’s Running Lean, which builds on the Lean Start-Up philosophy. It’s helped me enormously so far, and saved me a shed load of money on stuff that I might have otherwise precipitously outlaid capital upon.

Man, I’d love to apply for one of those programmes. Do you think I should?

“Go for it”. That was the best advice I was given. Start backing yourself, your idea, and your ability to execute. If not you, who? Nobody else is going to do it on your behalf. If you’re entrepreneurial you know you’re just going to have do it yourself, so do it now, and help create jobs, growth, profitability and innovation in the start-up economy.

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6
Jul 12

ALR Innovations wins top prize at Limerick business awards

ALR Innovations wins top prize at LIT Business AwardsALR Innovations wins top prize at LIT Business Awards

A Limerick start-up company that has designed the world’s first automated recycling technology for flat-screen TVs has been awarded seed funding and consultancy supports to the value of €75,000 after claiming first prize in Limerick Institute of Technology’s (LIT) LEAP Business Awards for 2011/2012.

ALR Innovations, founded by Limerick engineer Dr Lisa O’Donoghue, expects to commence manufacturing in 2013 and is already at an advanced stage of discussions with potential customers for the technology in Ireland, Europe and the Far East.

The awards were for companies on LIT’s Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Platform (LEAP) and were presented by Minister at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Jan O’Sullivan at the Millennium Theatre, LIT. The total €100,000 awards fund is the largest administered by any of the 16 enterprise programmes for start-up businesses at institutes of technology in Ireland.

ALR claimed a first prize of equity investment from AIB Seed Capital, which is managed by Enterprise Equity, to the tune of €50,000.  It also received a cheque from LIT of €5,000, plus €25,000 worth of consultancy/supports, including legal advice from Limerick’s and one of Ireland’s best known firms Holmes O’Malley Sexton and mentoring from the Discovery Partnership.  The winner will also receive free membership of Limerick Chamber.  ALR also received an award for best Intellectual Property, sponsored by the HDS Partnership.

ALR’s technology is driven by international regulatory directives on the mandatory removal of hazardous materials from LCD screens. Materials contained within LCD screens hold significant financial value and recycling organisations actively tender for the opportunity to recycle screens. ALR’s technology will be capable of recycling up to 80 units per hour, compared to the current manual rate of three to four units per hour by recycling companies.

Speaking after the announcement of the awards, O’Donoghue said:  ”I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed mentoring and support on a range of areas of the business, including developing a business plan ready for market, through the LEAP programme over the past 12 months.  But this award is a huge boost for my company and at a critical time.

“Securing funding is extremely difficult in the current environment for start-ups, but the package available now, including the equity offer from AIB Seed Capital Fund, gives the business great security at what is a really exciting and a very important stage of its development.”

The award is the latest accolade for the emerging young company and its CEO O’Donoghue, including the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, the JCI Young Person of the Year Award 2011 and the Molex Frederick A. Krehbiel II Medal for frontier research with this recycling technology.

Second place in the awards went to Co Clare company Lavida Food Ltd, which specialises in the sourcing and supply of high-quality, gluten-free foods for the wholesale and retail market in the UK and Ireland. They receive a package worth €15,000, including €5,000 in cash from LIT, plus legal and mentoring supports and Limerick Chamber membership.  The third placed company, games design and development company NeverMind Games, from Thurles, Co Tipperary, received €1,500 in cash plus similar supports.  Fourth prize went to Eventmaster, an online event registration and ticketing company.

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22
May 12

Springboard offers 6,000 new education opportunities

Springboard offers 6,000 new education opportunitiesSpringboard offers 6,000 new education opportunities.

The Irish Government has announced 6,000 new part-time higher education places for job seekers via the Springboard programme, focused on areas with skills shortages.

The Springboard courses will focus on developing expertise in sectors that have been identified by Forfás as having the greatest future skills needs and job opportunities, such as ICT, medical devices, the green economy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and international financial services.

“Our indigenous technology start-ups and SMEs need people with high-level ICT, business and international sales and marketing skills,” said Frank Ryan, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. “The Springboard students who graduate over the coming years will have the skills to allow them to take up the opportunities that indigenous companies can offer and they will provide those companies with the types of skills that can drive new business and export growth.”

For the first time, these higher education places include opportunities for people who were formerly self-employed, giving them the option to upskill or reskill and then, perhaps, create new start-ups.

Tailoring education to fulfil business needs

Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, has welcomed the development, saying, “It is vital that job seekers focus on areas where there are current and future job opportunities. Programmes like Springboard and the ICT Conversion Programme have provided companies with the opportunity to engage with higher education providers to tailor programmes specifically to the needs of their businesses.”

The first 3,500 graduates from Springboard 2011 will be available for employment at the end of this month and O’Leary is confident they will be in significant demand.

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17
May 12

Investor Demo Day features four Irish start-ups

Investor Demo Day features four Irish start-upsInvestor Demo Day features four Irish start-ups.

Four Irish entrepreneurs are pitching their ideas to angel investors, business mentors and start-up communities at an Investor Demo Day at Startupbootcamp Dublin headquarters in Dublin today.

Ten teams from Israel, US, Poland, Lithuania, China, Brazil, Romania and Ireland were selected from over 150 applications.

Themes for the inaugural accelerator programme included visualising and aggregating data; consumerising workplace IT and digitising transport.

Others involved ensuring developing technology is relevant for practical everyday usage including: smart medical technology for doctors on the go; an app to enhance road safety and technology to track traceability of perishable produce across the entire agricultural distribution chain.

Speaking at Investor Demo Day, Martin Kelly, IBM Venture Capital Group partner and main event sponsor said: “Startupbootcamp Dublin has developed some of the very best Irish and International entrepreneurial talent.  In addition to the international dimension, I’m really excited to find start-ups who are solving real problems.  Every team is addressing big markets and major challenges including car safety, food traceability, healthcare, and travel –the types of problems that our customers are interested in.”

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