StoryStock – the beginning of the story

Francis Fitzgibbon runs StoryStock, a high potential Irish startup with an ambition to create a video archive of stories from around the world. 
Having worked as a policy advisor to the European Commission, Francis Fitzgibbon left this well paid, secure job and returned home to Kerry to build something. 
In July 2016, he became founder and CEO of StoryStock, an Enterprise Ireland (HPSU) startup, with an ambition to become a ‘Getty Images for digital stories’.
What is StoryStock?
StoryStock is building one of the world’s largest communities of journalists and storytellers as well as creating a massive digital archive, featuring ordinary people, with extraordinary stories to tell. We are creating a stock model for the distribution of these stories, mainly video, for both local and international media outlets as well as brands, operating across the world.
“We are aligning with the likes of ITN, and the likes of Newstalk, providing a platform that gives them the ability to get a story in Mallow, Dungarvan or as far away as Michigan. ”
What was the spark that ignited the business? 
Love of storytelling has always been an integral part of my life; from listening to my father’s stories about the Dingle Railway; to hosting the Breakfast Show on Kerry Radio or as a Newstalk reporter on The Pat Kenny Show. I was coming across stories all the time, and I knew that there was a value in recording them. Even as a personal project, it was a fascinating thing to do. 
“When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in some of the biggest media outlets in the world.”
What problems do you solve for storytellers and media organisations?
When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in

This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

Not getting that job in Google was a good thing

Alan Coleman knows what it’s like to bootstrap and grow. He’s the founder and CEO of the multi-award winning digital agency Wolfgang, and his story began when Google rejected his job application. 

How did the company get its name?
Like a lot of online businesses in 2008, I called out what I did; I ranked number one on Google but, ironically, nobody could remember the company name. I knew I needed an unforgettable name. 
When I initially shared the new name ‘Wolfgang’ with people, it got a marmite reaction. But love it or hate it, nobody forgot it (which is precisely what I was aiming for). Besides, Wolfgang is a feckin’ cool name.
How long have you been in business?
I started in December 2007 having failed to get a job with Google. However, while going through the interview process, I fell in love with Google AdWords, so I quit what I was doing and taught myself AdWords. 
“I learned the power of the soundbite when I said ‘there’s no recession online’ when being interviewed by George Lee on radio.”
My two-year aim was to become among the best AdWords professional in Ireland. Once I was AdWords qualified, I started running a few campaigns for people (for free). I tripled my third client’s business inside a month, and things have been on the up ever since. 

What supports did your company receive when it first started?
I got €1,000 towards my website from the Local Enterprise Office. I was accepted onto the Create Enterprise platform in IADT. This meant I had a hot desk, monthly training and [most importantly] a network of a dozen other people who were starting digital media businesses.
I’m a firm believer that you should shape your business based on what your instincts tell you the market wants, rather than paying attention to a semi state’s criteria. If I’d allowed

This post was originally published here - on

Don’t just dream about the globe, go for it

If you want to grow, you need to think globally. Now you can do it online with WebPort Global.
If you export products, especially food or drink products, to the UK, you will be keenly aware of the threat Brexit poses.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but you should be looking for new markets. 
WebPort Global is an online platform designed to connect SMEs around the world. It connects businesses with other firms in over 60 countries worldwide. 

“Our job is to build leads for Irish businesses that want to find customers in large, new markets, not just the UK,” says Maureen Pace (left), president of WebPort Global.
“Small and medium Irish businesses may have thought about the US market and thought they didn’t have the time and money to research the market, find new customers and start exporting. WebPort Global makes all this possible for SMEs,” says Pace. 

One business owner who is enjoying success using WebPort Global is Jason Coyle, CEO of award winning food brand Mr. Crumb (see video above). 
The portal’s concierge service helped Coyle connect with influential retail buyers in the US. 

“The concierge service helped me connect with a North American grocery industry expert which lead to a series of face-to-face and telephone meetings with US buyers,” says Coyle.
Mr. Crumb’s products are now listed in Wal-Mart. 
“Another key part of WebPort Global’s service is our Global Trade Export Network,” says Pace. 
“Business owners can see trade reports and case studies relating to their activities. They can also take part in discussion forums and profile their offering to the other users of the platform.”
Start connecting. To find out more, go to Web Port Global. 
A MUST READ: You should prepare for a hard Brexit. Here’s a guide.

This post was originally published here - on

€750,000 for female-led startups in Ireland

€750,000 will be made available in startup funding for female entrepreneurs.
Enterprise Ireland’s competitive start fund (CSF) will open for applications on May 3, 2017. If selected, 15 female applicants will each receive up to €50,000 in equity funding. 
Female fund
Applicants must be female and own startups that have high potential. Successful applicants will have to show that they have the ability to employ more than ten people and achieve €1 million in exports sales within three years.
More female-led businesses
“We have seen a significant leap in female-led early stage companies since the commencement of our initiatives in 2012 – from seven percent of high potential startup companies to 20 per cent in 2016,” says Sarita Johnston, female entrepreneurship manager with Enterprise Ireland.
What you need to know
Before applying, be aware of the criteria for entering. For example, you can’t already have received “equity funding of more than €100,000 before the competition closing date”.
Also, your business can’t have revenues of over €60,000 in the current financial year to date, or any previous fiscal years. You must be a startup. 

Related Resource

Why not take our startup test, see if you’re ready to rock? Open it up.

This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

Mayo Day to highlight Mayo as a business destination

Mayo Day in on April 29, 2017. A little bit of Mayo Day is coming to Dublin the day before, on April 28. Register now for the free event.
Mayo Day is happening on April 29. It’s an initiative aimed at highlighting all things Mayo and showcasing Mayo as a location for businesses.
A little bit of Mayo Day is coming to Dublin the day before, on April 28, at the Trinity Workbench.  
There will be complimentary refreshments and a panel discussion on why people should live, work and play in Mayo. The new Leeson Enterprise Centre, in Westport, will also be profiled. You can register here for the (pre) Mayo Day event. It’s free to attend, and will start at 6 pm in the Trinity Workbench.
FUN FACTS: 15 things you’ll find out about Mayo. 
Why locate to Mayo? 
With high-quality infrastructure, an international airport, a skilled workforce and an excellent quality of life, there are many reasons why County Mayo makes a great business location, says
Imagine, no traffic delays and the Wild Atlantic Way as your back garden. 
The Leeson Enterprise Centre in Westport is now open as a hub for innovation and business designed to help entrepreneurs and startups succeed. Find out more here.
And don’t forget about the world famous Ballina Salmon Festival, which will take place in July.

This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

Calculate your holiday entitlements

This handy calculator, for employers and employees, is a guide for annual leave entitlements, including part-time workers.


Annual leave

All employees, both contracted by your business or by an employment agency, are entitled to annual leave. An employee is entitled to:

  • Four normal working weeks of annual leave in a leave year. A leave year runs from April 1st to March 31st.
  • One-third of a working week per month in which at least 117 hours was worked; or
  • 3.8% of the total hours worked in a leave year, subject to a maximum cap of four normal working weeks (the method generally used for calculating part-time or casual employee entitlements).

An employee who has worked with your business for at least eight months is entitled to two weeks’ annual leave, uninterrupted.

Annual leave should be taken during the leave year in which the leave was accumulated, or within six months of that leave year. Carrying over leave is a matter for agreement between you and your employee.

start a part time business

Generally, it is best for employees to take leave within the same leave year, but in practice many employers tend to be more flexible. As an employer, you need to avoid ad hoc arrangements that may impact on the smooth running of your business.

Annual leave is not affected by other leave provided for by law. Time spent on maternity leave, parental leave, adoptive leave, and the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave is treated as though employees have been working.

Payment for annual leave is at the normal weekly rate of remuneration. The onus is on you, as the employer, to ensure employees receive their annual leave entitlement. Remember that all employees are entitled to get public holidays off. They are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • St Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May, June and August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day

Remember that Good Friday is not a public holiday. If an employee wants to take it off, it should come out of their annual leave. However, some employers give employees this day off as a gesture.

Find out more about annual leave.

New parent

Maternity leave

If an employee becomes pregnant while in employment, she is entitled to maternity leave. This right extends to all female employees (including casual workers), regardless of hours worked per week or the amount of time she has been an employee.

Remember, however, that employers are not obliged to pay employees on maternity leave. Payment is based on qualification for maternity benefit, which is available with sufficient PRSI contributions. If the employee qualifies, the Department of Social Protection pays the benefit. Depending on the employee’s contract, she may receive a top-up from the employer to make up her full rate of pay.

Female employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ paid maternity leave, along with an additional 16 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave, which begins directly after the end of maternity leave. Entitlement for public holidays still applies to employees on maternity leave, while annual leave can be accumulated while the employee is on maternity leave.

The employee is entitled to return to work with the same contract of employment after maternity leave. If it is not reasonably practicable for you to allow the employee to return to her job, you must provide her with suitable alternative work. This new position should not be less favourable than the terms of her previous job.

Remember that paternity leave is not recognised in Irish employment law, and is at your discretion.

Please see this online resource for more information on maternity leave.

anxiety at work

Sick leave

There is no obligation for you to pay an employee who takes sick leave. It is purely at your own discretion, as outlined in the employee’s contract. An employee may avail of illness benefit if they have enough PRSI contributions, however.

If an employee is absent from work through sickness for more than two consecutive days, you can ask for a GP’s letter. You can also seek weekly medical reports if the employee is out for a longer period of time.

An employee’s entitlement to public holidays or annual leave is not affected by sick leave, provided a doctor’s note is provided.

Carer’s leave

Such leave allows employees to leave employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of it. The person the employee will care for does not need to be a family member, but could be a colleague or friend. Employees are entitled to carer’s leave of at least 13 weeks up to a maximum of 104 weeks.

Carer’s leave is unpaid, and employees can take leave as one block or in shorter periods adding up to 104 weeks. If the leave is broken up, the employee will not be entitled to commence another period of leave for the same cared-for person until at least six weeks after the previous period of leave ended.

Remember that to qualify for carer’s leave, an employee must have at least one year’s continuous service with you, the employer. Read more about carer’s leave online.

starting a business ireland

Parental leave

Such leave allows parents to take leave from employment in respect of certain children for up to 18 weeks per child. Leave can be taken for a child up to eight years years of age. If the child was adopted between the age of six and eight, leave can be taken up to two years after the adoption.

If a child has a disability or long-term illness, leave may be taken up until he or she is 16 years old. Employees are not entitled to any pay while on parental leave. See this online resource on parental leave  for more information.

Adoptive leave

Only an adoptive mother is entitled to take leave from employment after adopting a child, unless a male is the sole adopter. An employee is entitled to 24 weeks’ adoptive leave. The employee may be paid adoptive benefit by the Department of Social Protection during this time. The employee is also entitled to an additional unpaid 16 weeks’ leave after the adoptive leave ends.

The employee has the same rights to return to work as with maternity leave, and must also give four weeks’ notice of the intention to return. More information can be found with this online resource on adoptive leave.

wellness at work

And remember

Document leave entitlements. Ensure that all leave entitlements, statutory or otherwise, that your business offers are included in letters of employment and in a company handbook.

Track annual leave against entitlements. Avoid disruption to your business by having formal processes in place for employees to request leave and log days taken versus entitlements.


This post was originally published here - on

Six magical Irish tourist spots

Here are six inspirational tourist spots that are ‘off the beaten track’ and involve a little action.

2016 was the best year ever for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records. 10.5 million people visited the island of Ireland. For 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by 4.5% in 2017 to bring in €5.7 billion to the north and south of the island.

While the major attractions will always draw the big numbers, smaller, inventive tourism entrepreneurs are emerging. Below are six that are leading the way.

Winterfell Tours

Where? Newcastle, Co Down.

Game of Thrones fans can walk in the footsteps of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow. Just a 40 minute drive from Belfast, Winterfell Tours offers twenty of the most prominent Game of Thrones film location spots including Winterfell Castle, Robb’s Camp and Walder Frey’s Twins. A must visit for all ‘Thrones’ fans.

Pure Magic tours

Pure Magic

Where? Dollymount, Dublin

A charismatic water sports company in Dollymount, Pure Magic, has a team of instructors dedicated to all things kite surfing and SUP (stand up paddleboard). It’s known for exceptional customer service. There’s also a Pure Magic Lodge on Achill Island for action-packed getaways.

mor active

Mór Active

Where? Killarney

If you’re searching for a deep insight into Ireland’s natural beauty, culture, and traditions, Mór Active is a good call. It offers tailored activity, culture and eco tours. You can see the wonders of Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, and the Wild Atlantic Way through the eyes of an expert. Founded in 2007, Mór Active’s glowing TripAdvisor presence sets an example for other Irish tour operators to follow.

Bike park

Bike Park Ireland

Where? Roscrea, Co Tipperary

With the first trail constructed in 2012, Bike Park Ireland soon became the first official mountain bike park in Ireland to offer a day out for cyclists of all skill sets. There are six downhill trails and the uplift service – an ex-army truck with 30 bus seats and a bike trailer – turns uphill transportation into a real adventure.


Shane’s Howth Hikes

Where? Howth, Dublin

Just half an hour from Dublin city centre by car, Howth village provides a welcome escape from city life. Shane’s Howth Hikes tours are as popular with locals as they are with visitors. Customers can book ‘The Howth Heritage Free Walk’ as a starting point, and if they’re keen to explore more, the ‘Howth Safari’ is an inspiring hike.

Boyne boats 1

Boyne Boats Adventure

Where? Drogheda, Co Louth

One in five tourists visit a destination because they have seen it on a TV show. Boyne Boats’ currachs were used in the filming of Game of Thrones. The Boyne Boats adventures include ‘Paddle like an Iron Islander’ and ‘The King’s Tour’. The tour is an hour of rich local heritage as customers learn to paddle like a true warrior. This is one of Ireland’s real hidden gems.

Do you want to start a tourism business?

Interested in setting up a tour or activity company, or finding tips for your existing one? Here are five tips for finding the right price for your tours and activities.

Related Resource

WANT TO START YOUR OWN TOURISM BUSINESS? Make sure you have your business plan right and get the money you need.


Article by Lucy Fuggle of TrekkSoft. Images from TrekkSoft, HBO and Shutterstock.

This post was originally published here - on

Brexit guide – test the impact of price changes

The winds of change are blowing. Brexit will have an impact on Irish business. This free sales forecast template can help you forecast your sales. It allows you to vary your pricing and see the impact it will have on your profits.

This useful template has three inter-related resources, each of which is on separate tabs within the document. The tabs are as follows:

  1. Unit sales price template. This allows you to vary your pricing and see the impact. The figures you input into this tab will be reflected in the second tab, which is a sales forecast.
  2. Forecast of sales. This allows you to forecast your sales on a month by month basis over a period of 12 months. Figures you input into that spreadsheet will be picked up in the next spreadsheet, which is the P&L.
  3. P&L template. This will show you a net profit or loss for your business.

“You can easily create a sales forecast but you can test out different scenarios based on the data you input.”

This template should be used in conjunction with our free and Business Plan Template to give an overall view of your business and its performance.

Remember, prepare for change, don’t wait to react to it.

YOU MAY ALSO FIND INTERESTING: Help is at hand for Irish companies who want to export to markets other than the UK. Find out more.

This post was originally published here - on

How to manage an overdraft

An overdraft is a very useful thing to have. Here’s how to manage one.

Used correctly, an overdraft is a very useful tool for businesses of all sizes. Here’s how to manage one.

An overdraft is a credit arrangement with a bank allowing a customer to write cheques or make payments from the current account up to an agreed limit. It is a form of working capital finance.

An overdraft facility fee is often charged, along with interest on the amount of the (debit) balance on the current account, at an agreed rate.

Key steps

  1. Managing your overdraft properly puts you in control. This means that you need up-to-date information. Ensure that you have registered your current account online with your bank. This way, you will be able to easily track the money going into, and out, of your account.
  2. Understand the charges and fees which may be applied to your overdraft. There are typical fees, such as:
    Facility fee – This is a once-off fee for setting up your overdraft.
    Renewal fee – This is only charged if you renew your overdraft at the end of the agreed term. 
    Referral fee – This is a fee the bank charges for each transaction made on your current account, when you are over your agreed overdraft limit.
    Surcharge interest – This is extra interest that the bank will charge on top of the standard interest for the overdraft, if you exceed your agreed overdraft limit.
  3. Avoid paying by cheque as much as possible. Where possible, use online payments facilities instead. In most cases, it’s a lot cheaper to use online facilities,
  4. Ask your customers to pay you electronically instead of paying you by cheque. This will save you money and ensures you gain quicker access to your funds and potentially avoid the need for an overdraft (or at the least reduce the level of overdraft facility required).
  5. Never use an overdraft as a long-term borrowing facility. The interest rate for an overdraft is generally higher than for term lending, for example, so you should consider, carefully, the alternative ways of funding your business. Alternatives to an overdraft could include:
  • Injecting more cash into the business
  • Improved management of your debtor book
  • Seeking increased terms from suppliers
  • Other bank finance, including invoice discounting, asset finance and a term loan


Plan ahead: Keep your cashflow projections up-to-date and understand how your business’s financial needs may change in the period ahead. Stress-test your cashflow. For example, if your debtors take an extra 30 days to pay or if your creditors want payment up front, how will this affect your cashflow

Be cautious: Be realistic about how quickly you expect your customers to pay you. It’s better to expect slow payment and receive the cash more quickly. If you think that you will probably need access to more funding than your current overdraft limit, talk to your bank immediately.

Be proactive: If you do not have an overdraft, or if your existing overdraft limit is too low, contact your bank to discuss a suitable limit, on a temporary or permanent basis, based on the working capital needs of your business. Early contact will help you to avoid any potential embarrassment later, not to mention any additional charges, should an overdraft limit be breached.


YOU MAY ALSO FIND THIS INTERESTING: What you need when applying for a bank loan.

This post was originally published here - on

Six of the best cinemas in Ireland

The International Union of Cinemas says that Ireland has the most cinema goers of any country in the EU. Below are six of the best cinemas in the land.


Lighthouse Cinema

Located in the Market Square in Smithfield, the Lighthouse cinema is regarded as one of the coolest places to catch a movie in Dublin. The Lighthouse distinguishes itself from its competitors by offering punters a mixture of Hollywood blockbusters, old classics and art-house films. A stone’s throw from the achingly cool Stoneybatter, the cinema is surrounded by a wealth of hip pubs and restaurants.

eye cinema galway

Eye Cinema

Galway’s locally-owned Eye bills itself as “the cinema that Galway deserves but has never had”. It sets itself apart from the big cinema chains by giving customers a choice of both mainstream film as well as more arthouse offerings. Visitors get the full multiplex experience with multiple screens, cafés, bars and an ice cream parlour. However, its Eye’s commitment to culture (as well as independent cinema it also host live events with musicians, poets, and comedians) that makes Eye the best in the West.

Phoenix Cinema Dingle

This family-run cinema is just another reason to love Dingle; an adult ticket to its nightly evening showing is only €8 while a matinee ticket will set you back €5.50. The 150 seat cinema also has its ‘Art Film’ night on Tuesdays, with tea and biscuits thrown in for good measure. A good option following a day exploring the Wild Atlantic Way or one of the town’s other attractions.

Century Cinemas

Another family run business, Century has been bringing cinema to Letterkenny for over 75 years. It has all the trappings of a multiplex with eight screens, stadium seating, and 3D movies. However, it also broadcasts live theatre and dance productions. In 2013 it opened its very own ice skating rink, Century Ice, so there’s no shortage of things to do in this enterprising venue.

best cinemas in ireland


Home of the Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar’s IFI is the go-to cinema for Dublin film buffs who want to get their fix of the latest in cutting-edge movie making. Its Georgian building gives visitors a cosy cinema-going experience, while its bar and café give people a place to hang out before sampling what’s on offer on the big screen.

Movie Junction

Cork’s Movie Junction is Ireland’s only dedicated drive in cinema, open seven nights a week. Visitors pick up snacks at the drive-thru kiosk, pull up in the parking bay, tune into the Movie Junction FM frequency on the car radio, then sit back and enjoy the latest blockbuster. Pizzas and chips can be ordered and delivered to your car door, and canopies keep your windscreen clear when it rains. A little slice of American culture in County Cork.

What’s your favourite cinema? Let us know on our Facebook page.

READ: The film sector is big business. If you want to open a cinema find the right finance.

This post was originally published here - on