What pitching in New York taught me

Trinity sent six startups to New York on a week-long international accelerator programme, called Tangent Pioneers. They went, they saw, they pitched – did they conquer?

Aisling Byrne, The Nu. Wardrobe
The Tangent Pioneers programme taught me a lot about myself as an individual.
I learned that there is just no use in paying attention to people who think it is acceptable to disregard my business because I speak about its environmental impact alongside its profitability. I find the thinking on the matter similar between both Ireland and the US – there is an understanding by many business people (often older white men) that it’s not a businesses’ responsibility to consider their impact until they are held accountable by some sort of third party. This damaging thinking is not reflected across Europe, where sustainability is far more progressive. I also learned that I have a responsibility to talk about gender inequality in entrepreneurship when I can. It’s not going away.
On a more personal note, I learned that I’m capable of meeting, pitching, or talking in front of any given audience. It doesn’t phase me anymore. I’ve grown up so much since I did the LaunchBox programme. Bringing my company, Nu. to the States was huge, and I was shocked at how far Nu. has come since then. 
“There seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland.”

Jack Dooley, Greener Globe
Based on my experiences working in NY as a Tangent Pioneer, I think the main difference between the US vs Ireland, aside from scale obviously, is that there seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland compared with the States.
There is an attitude in the U.S. where you are either a student or an entrepreneur. In Ireland, we seem to support students’ entrepreneurial dreams more. As an individual, this programme showed me

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/tangent-pioneers-trinity-pitching-startup-in-new-york/ on thinkbusiness

AgriNet – the software behind farming

In 1994, CEO Barry Lynch co-founded Irish Farm Computers Ltd (AgriNet) in Kells, Co. Meath. Since then he has helped transform it into one of Ireland’s leading agricultural software companies.

What does AgriNet do?
A typical Irish beef or dairy farmer focuses on three main areas. Firstly to grow grass efficiently, secondly to feed a cow or bullock efficiently and thirdly to get something out the other end, and returning cash to the bank account. Our software helps them do this. 
Our farmer clients require a comprehensive service, and because of that we deliberately focus on providing a complete range of software solutions across grass measurement, cash-flow and accounts – plus recording all the history of the animals in the herd.
“Farmers are expected to be a combination of a vet, a herdsman, a grassland expert and an accountant.”
Farmers must be multi-skilled
Farmers are expected to be a combination of a vet, a herdsman, a grassland expert and an accountant which often makes it a challenging environment to sell software services into. Essentially farmers are time poor, and if the scrapers are blocked in the shed, you have to go and fix them, which generally takes priority over data entry.
At what point did you know you had a viable business?
We launched the business in 1994, and like any other small business, at the start, it was really tough. In the first three years, it meant scrambling to get a piece of software that was good enough, then calling out and very quickly, getting feedback to try and learn what our clients wanted, followed by making sure to give it to them in the next version.
It was only in 1997 that everything began to click into place when a farmer Co-Op called, Progressive Genetics invested in us. By then we had a better understanding of what

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/agrinet-software-for-farms-agtech/ on

From farmer to award-winning food producer

John Commins started as a farmer and has since become an award-winning food producer. 
In 2005, artisan farmer and food producer, John Commins began farming Piedmontese cattle, a breed mainly snow-white in colour and native to Italy, from his 120-acre family farm, located near Thurles in Co. Tipperary. He now supplies this award-winning high-end beef into supermarkets, restaurants and online across Ireland. Here, John talks about the journey he has travelled and his plans to grow the business into the future.
“The beef contains fewer calories and less cholesterol than chicken.”

What is Irish Piedmontese beef?
Over a decade and a half ago, I travelled to Italy to source our initial breeding stock. Piedmontese are impressive cattle but what impressed me most was the eating quality of the meat – and the surprising fact that it contains fewer calories and less cholesterol than that of chicken. It also has the lowest fat percentage in the meat of any description, with even less fat than salmon or venison. The reason for this is due to a natural change that developed in the breed about 200 years ago. It’s down to a myostatin gene that all cattle have but with which Piedmontese beef are doubly endowed – a trait which has been refined by Italian cattle breeders over the years.
“I leased a unit, buying all of the equipment we needed and employed our own butcher to work for us.”
Why did you go into the food business?
At the time there was a very lucrative trade from Ireland to Italy for ‘E’ and ‘U’ grade lean type weanlings. Initially, we considered supplying our weanlings back to the Italian market, and although the Italians were very interested in buying them, we were unable to supply at the volumes required. From tasting, I knew it was fabulous meat and that

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Book your place at ‘Food Series 2018’

Blas na hEireann celebrates the best of Irish food producers and more importantly, it has created a network of Irish producers that work together. Pat Carroll looks at the rise of the Irish food awards.
On Monday, November 12, Bank of Ireland will host the ‘Food Series 2018’ at its Limerick Workbench. Local Blas na hEireann 2018 finalists will attend and showcase samples of their produce while the Blas 2018 Buyer’s Directory will be also be launched.
It’s a free-to-attend event and all are welcome to register here. 
The start of Blas
When people hear the word ‘startup’ they often think of a tech firm, striving to be the next Stripe or Amazon. However, Ireland has a rich and diverse history of food startups, and more producers are emerging every week.
One person who came from this world and wanted to highlight our best food producers by raising their profiles both in Ireland and internationally is Artie Clifford. Eleven years ago, he established Blas na hEireann and the Irish Food Awards were born. In its debut year, there were 400 entries, this year over 2,500 applied to have their products judged. Initial judging takes place in UCC and is a month-long task which brings each category down to the top five in that category to move forward to the finalist round. The finalist judging brings the very best of food and drinks to a panel of 120 judges, judged over two days.
Big buyers
Over the years the event has become one of the year’s top highlights for Irish food producers, buyers and the hospitality industry. In fact, in addition to all the main Irish supermarket groups being present, buyers from Harrods, Selfridges as well as Fortnum & Mason all now attend, to identify the best of Irish producers so they can secure the best of Irish

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/food-series-bank-of-ireland-limerick-2018/ on

The Tangent Pioneers in New York

Six Irish startups went to New York to network and pitch for a week. This is what happened.
Six Irish startups that met at Trinity, went through LaunchBox, Tangent’s Student Accelerator, and received help and support from Bank of Ireland, travelled to New York in October for the inaugural Tangent Pioneers programme.
The Tangent Pioneers worked for one intensive week in the heart of the New York startup scene, basing themselves in the Bank of Ireland Innovation Lab in Midtown. During the week, in addition to setting up customer and investment meetings, they pitched to the Digital Irish; learned from Enterprise Ireland about taking their startups global; had office hours with Techstars and Blackstone VC; and got a sense of what it is to work, network, and lead a startup in the US.
From a mix of industries and backgrounds, the Tangent Pioneers represented Trinity, and Ireland on a global stage for the first time. Here they describe their experiences of the week’s work.
Sebastian Kuehn, co-founder & CTO, Work Smarter
For us, a successful trip would mean a positive reception of our concept here in New York and I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to achieve that so far. While we’re not ready to scale out to the US market but it’s valuable feedback to know that there is potential for us here. Meeting businesspeople in New York has definitely underscored what we already know – Ireland is a small market, but it’s an excellent testing ground and a great place to start. For the pitch events we’re participating in, we adjusted our numbers to reflect the US market. It’s a great feeling to have such massive numbers up on the screen.
“I can highly recommend grabbing a coffee and watching the city slowly wake up.”
New York surprised me in a very positive way. The city

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/trinity-startups-with-bank-of-ireland-in-new-york-tangent-pioneers/ on thinkbusiness

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT is probably the most popular analysis tool in business. It’s easy to create and helps to write a business plan. 
If there was a competition to find the most popular analysis tool in business, chances are that a SWOT would be the winner by a big margin.  It’s used by training consultants, facilitators and consultants as well as the people involved in startups, family businesses and major corporations.
Users love its simplicity and how it can be used to inform the content of a business plan, the creation of a new product or service or a decision on whether or not to enter into a new market.
So what is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT is short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
Strengths and weaknesses tend to focus on internal factors such as products or services, brands, prices, costs, profits, performance, people, skills and infrastructure.
Opportunities and threats should be externally focused and centre on markets, customers, sectors, audience, trends, competitors, economic and social factors, among a host of other factors.
Strengths need to be better than a competitor’s. Weaknesses need also to use competitors as a point of comparison but also a business’s ability to pursue a particular opportunity. It is often helpful to analyse strengths and weaknesses from a number of perspectives – those involved in the business (owners, staff), customers and competitors.
Opportunities should offer a business a chance to grow, become more profitable and/or otherwise enhance its market position. They should be realistic and not too aspirational. Threats are scenarios that could be damaging to a business through decreased sales, higher costs, loss of competitiveness or a host of other factors.
How is a SWOT created?
Very simply. Gather a group or a team together. Nominate one member of the group to facilitate and use a flipchart and markers. Brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and

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What makes a great leader?

What does it take to be a great leader in a massive organisation? Phuong Tran, deputy CEO  of THP Beverage Group, gives us her thoughts. 

Global business woman Phuong Tran travelled to Ireland in October to launch Talent Garden, Dublin’s Innovation School.

She is the deputy CEO of THP Beverage Group and in 2012 she was offered $2.6 billion by Coca-Cola to sell her family-run company, but Tran and her father declined their offer and have since grown the business in more than 16 counties including China, Australia and Canada.

Phoung Tran spoke with ThinkBusiness about what it takes to be a great leader in a successful organisation.

“True leadership means taking responsibility for failure as well as success. The two go hand in hand. Only when someone accepts there is no one else to blame, then and only then can he or she develop a plan to succeed.”

“Instead of asking, ‘Who did this to me?’ the question should be reframed as, ‘What did I do wrong?’ This becomes the far more constructive self-help. As the saying goes, “It never gets easier, you get better. It is a difficult truth”, says Ms Tran.”

“But taking ownership means accepting that you are the source of the problem. You are the only thing you can change or control. So, if there is a difficulty, own it. Never blame anyone else. Have confidence that by changing yourself, you can change the environment, too. Leaders who do this are far more likely to inspire the kind of loyalty and trust that makes companies succeed.”

Phuong Tran’s father is also an advocate for John Maxwell’s five levels of leadership. “He is a big believer in level three: people not only follow someone because they want to, but also because of their track record. This is when companies really start to produce results,” says Ms Tran.

“At THP, we try to empower all team members to act as if they are the owners of the enterprise, as well: to take responsibility for their successes and mistakes; to stay authentic and retain their integrity. If they stay true to what they believe and are open about what is working or not working, then they can successfully address problems, drive results, and improve performance,” added Ms Tran.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-makes-a-great-leader-phuong-tran-thp/ on

Order from your favourite restaurants online

The Delivery Guys was founded by Eric and Mike Gargiulo after the Irish economic downturn, and allows customers to order from their favourite restaurants online.
What is The Delivery Guys?
The Delivery Guys (TDG) is a full-service online restaurant ordering platform and delivery service with a unique approach that will be irresistible to restaurant owners everywhere. We currently handle in excess of 30,000 orders per annum and growing that number month on month.
When was the business started?
The business was founded originally in 2013. However, the original concept was flawed in its business plan for expansion and was abandoned in July of 2017. It was replaced later that year when QSRS Ltd was formed. Since launching, we have re-invented how we conduct our business including our pricing structure, driver relationship and roll out strategy. We have made changes to our software that will allow us to expand and scale quickly, and have plans for further development that will not only make our application more user friendly but will also increase productivity and driver delivery ratio. We have investigated, beta tested and secured estimates on creating a ‘White Label’ version of our software platform that could be sold to large international chains such as Domino’s to better manage their delivery fleet.                                                
How does the business work?
Simplicity and ease of use is at the core of the entire technology solution. Many may suggest it’s like Uber crossed with JustEat and Deliveroo, with a few unique differences. It works in three steps.
“Many may suggest it’s like Uber crossed with JustEat and Deliveroo, with a few unique differences”
Orders are placed online at www.thedeliveryguys.ie or using The Delivery Guys App on Google Play Store or Apple store by the public to a restaurant of their choice for collection, delivery by TDG, or delivery by the restaurant staff itself.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/order-from-your-favourite-restaurants-online/ on thinkbusiness

This is why you need a Power of Attorney

Most people are very familiar with the concept of a Will – a legal document which sets out your wishes as to how your assets are dealt with following your death.
But what if you would like someone to carry our your wishes, or act on your behalf while you are still alive? This is the concept of the Power of Attorney.
In Ireland, there are two types
In Ireland, there are two types of Power of Attorney. The first is a simple “Power of Attorney” and the second is an “Enduring Power of Attorney”.
“In its simplest terms, an Enduring Power of Attorney is where you appoint one or two persons to look after your affairs.”
What do they mean?
In certain transactions (for example property transactions), you may be asked to execute a “Power of Attorney”. This is a legal document where you give another person the power to act on your behalf (your “Attorney”) in all or certain elements of a particular transaction. Usually, these permissions are limited in scope or time – such as the power to execute a document on your behalf in a certain transaction only or, alternatively, to execute documents for you for a defined period. These Powers of Attorney either expire or come to an end if you become mentally incapacitated.
“An Enduring Power of Attorney is that it can only be put in place while you have the mental capacity to do so.”
On the other hand, in its simplest terms, an Enduring Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint one or two persons to look after your affairs, in the event that you are medically diagnosed as incapable of doing so, at some point in the future.
The important thing to note about an Enduring Power of Attorney is that it can only be put in place

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‘We want to end the use of email for work’

Slack, a workplace collaboration tool used by millions of people worldwide, is one of the fastest growing tech firms in history. Stephen Conmy met with Cal Henderson, Slack’s co-founder and CTO to discuss how Slack was born and his ambition to end the role of emails in work projects.
If your ambition is to overtake email as the preferred communications ‘weapon of choice’ for teams in the work-place, people tend to listen. Investors tend to listen.
Who doesn’t hate email? Who doesn’t hate office managers who rule by email even more? Email is clumsy, it’s one-way, it can lead to ‘bad boss’ behaviour, it has no collaborative nuances. In essence, it is out-dated and outmoded.
Slack, however, is a collaboration tool that is astoundingly appealing. Since its launch a few years ago it has amassed eight million daily active users. As a tool for large organisations, it also has over 70,000 teams paying to use the service from over 65% of the top 100 Fortune companies. Not bad for a piece of technology that was created out of necessity and then became the world’s most famous accidental business.
In typical tech parlance, Slack describes itself as “a place where teams connect”. In practice, it’s an operating system that connects teams and people with real-time messaging, tools and services.
In this video, co-founder Cal Henderson describes how Slack was ‘born’.

As a business, Slack has big ambitions. Its new ‘Shared Channels’ service allows different companies to work and collaborate with each other. “By 2025, Slack believes that Channels will replace email as the primary way that people communicate and collaborate at work,” is the company’s official line.
The enemies of email wait with bated breath.
A substantial arsenal to expand 
Slack employs close to 800 people in seven different cities worldwide, one of them being Dublin. The firm opened its Dublin

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/slack-co-founder-cal-henderson-talks-to-stephen-conmy/ on