Five of Ireland’s best yoga centres

Have you ever dreamt of opening a yoga business? Here are the main things to consider and five yoga studios that may inspire you. 
Yoga is a spiritual science of self-realisation. It originated in India over five thousand of years ago. 
If you are interested in setting up a yoga business, the five yoga centres below are worth checking out for inspiration and ideas.
If you are running a business and are beginning to feel the pressure and burn, it may be a good idea to start practising yoga. Yoga can have a profound effect on the circulation and the functioning of the inner organs, glands and nerves. It will keep your systems healthy, leading to greater energy, better concentration, happiness and the power to drive on in business and succeed. 

Oslo Beauty
Run by serial entrepreneur Bob Haugh, (with investors including Irish rugby player Rob Kearney and actress Amy Huberman), Oslo Beauty offers yoga classes in several Dublin locations including Mespil Road and Ranelagh. Like some yoga studios, Oslo Beauty provides a range of services such as Pilates, strength and conditioning programs. There are ’drop in’ prices and annual memberships available. 
Yoga Yoga
With six different teachers offering a variety classes, Yoga Yoga is located in two areas of Galway – NRG Fitness in the Clybaun Hotel and Active Fitness Renmore Connaught Hotel – as well as NRG Fitness in Cork. 
Himalaya Yoga Valley
Founded by Indian native Lalit Kumar Himalaya, Yoga Valley is based in the heart of Cork city. Lalit has a vast amount of experience in yoga, having practised for over fifteen years in India, Thailand and Ireland. Himalaya Yoga Valley has built up a large following of yoga practitioners and features classes for beginners to training sessions for yoga teachers. The centre also offers laughter yoga. 
Conlea Yoga Studio
Located in Blackrock, Co. Dublin

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Google’s ‘Adopt a startup’ opens for applications

Google has opened its Autumn 2017 ‘Adopt a startup’ programme for applications.
What’s in it for startups? They will receive, “hands on mentoring from experienced Google employees over a twelve week period and attend a programme of lectures and workshops at the company’s Dublin HQ, learning strategies to position their company for new growth opportunities,” says Google.
The prizes
At the end of the twelve weeks, participating firms will pitch to a panel of Google executives and industry experts. The winning company will pocket €10,000 of AdWords credit and be eligible for the ‘Google Cloud platform for startups’ programme which comes with $100,000 of Google Cloud credit.
Seven runners-up will also be eligible for the programme, along with  $20,000 of Google Cloud credits while one company will also win six months free hot desking in Dogpatch Labs, Dublin. 
There are 30 places up for grabs. Startups are asked to get their applications in early, before the closing date of August the 9th, 2017.  
What’s Google looking for?
“The types of startups we’re looking for, and the ones who will benefit the most from this programme, are those that are in business for more than one year, currently generating revenue and with a strategy in place for acquiring new customers,” says Paddy Flynn, a director with Google.
Interested startups can apply online here.
Pictured are Paddy Flynn, Google Ireland with Wes Roddy, Collette Doyle, and Luca Boschin, all from LogoGrab, a previous ‘Adopt a startup’ winner.
DOWNLOAD: The ThinkBusiness ‘Business Model Canvas’ – the resource for startups.

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Kinsale Food Tours – an adventure in business

Suzanne Burns’  journey to self-employment and entrepreneurship is an interesting one. From New Zealand to Canada to the Wild Atlantic Way, her adventure is only starting.

When did you start your business, what was your first tour?
I started my coastal guiding business MOPTOG (My Own Private Tour Guide) in April 2016. My first official tour was to Sheep’s Head with a group of seven, hiking around the peninsula on a gorgeous sunny day. We even saw two lizards.
What were the first few tours like, how did you get traction?
The first tours were walking tours around the West Cork region. I used Meetup, Facebook and my network to attract people. I also ran free tours for a few months to generate interest in what I was doing and become a ‘known entity’.
These are real ‘tours of nature’. What can your guests expect?
I started my career as a zoologist and progressed to wildlife guiding over my ten-year stint living in New Zealand. This knowledge has carried through here. I showcase local flora and fauna, archaeology, history and myths and legends. Alongside the walking tours, I link in with whale watching and night kayaking operators.

You say the food tours have taken off. What can guests expect on these?
The Kinsale Food Tours run like a walking meal. We go to four venues for food. The first two stops incorporate lighter fare, followed by a main and sweet stop to round off the tour. As we go from place to place, the group learns about the food culture and fascinating stories and the people in Kinsale. I also do slighter longer tours which involve going to the coast foraging for wild shellfish, seaweed and plants. We go to the coast half way through the tour and have a picnic after foraging if weather permits. We then

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The ISAX Smart Ageing Awards 2017

Has your business designed and developed a product or a service that enhances the lives of people over the age of 50? 
The Smart Ageing Awards aim to recognise and celebrate businesses that create products, services or technologies that can enhance the lives of people over 50.
For full details, and to enter, simply visit the ISAX website.
“There are so many business opportunities to target people aged over 50 and many startups in the smart ageing space,” said Bobby Kerr at the launch of the awards. “It is great to see an awards platform designed to reward those in the smart ageing economy and to ensure quality businesses are recognised.”
Rewarding talent 
“We are looking forward to seeing entries from a broad range of firms and to showcase the talent in this growing sector,” says Anne Connolly, CEO, ISAX.
Pictured are Bobby Kerr; Anne Connolly, CEO, ISAX; Michael Murphy, founder, ProU; and David Tighe, head of innovation at Bank of Ireland, sponsor of the 2017 ISAX Smart Ageing Innovation Awards 2017.
READ MORE: ProU is the first product of its kind in Britain and Ireland to combine high levels of calcium, protein and vitamin D. It mitigates against the impact of osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Here is the full story.

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Izzy Wheels – Bringing confidence to wheelchair users

 The Irish startup became the first Irish company to feature on Instagram’s live news feed. ThinkBusiness spoke with founder Ailbhe Keane about her journey in business.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
I named the brand Izzy Wheels after my inspiration, my little sister Izzy. We chose the tagline ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out.’ We believe our tagline perfectly represents what we do.
What is Izzy Wheel’s biggest achievement to date?
We were approached by INSIDER art a few weeks ago and they made a video about us. The video received two million views in the first 24 hours and 11 million views in one week. As a result, most of our sales are now coming from the USA.
What’s the most important thing you have learnt so far in business?
How to balance your time wisely has been the biggest lesson for me so far. As a founder you are constantly on the go. It’s so important to take a step back from everything and make some time for yourself.
Izzy Wheels was developed out of a college project, how did this help you when you developed the company?
I came up with Izzy Wheels when I was in my final year of visual communications in the National College of Art and Design. I was inspired by a brief which asked you to empower the lives of people living with a long term lifestyle related health condition. Immediately, I thought of my sister Izzy. Izzy was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from her waist down. I had always wanted to create something that allowed my sister to personalise her wheelchair, so that it could reflect her personality.
I spent a full year exploring, brainstorming, prototyping and coming up with different creative solutions to transform my sister’s

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Startups in Ireland continue to grow

 Ireland’s startup industry has continually grown each year, and that trend remains the same first the first half of 2017.
Almost 1900 new startups were established every month for the first six months of 2017, indicating a 6% increase on figures for the same period in 2016.
With the exception of June, company startups were up every month compared to 2016 – including by nearly 20% in January, according to the research carried out by business and credit risk analyst
The professional services sector proved to be the most popular sector for company startups, with almost one in five new companies operating in this area.
This was followed by finance, which saw an 18% rise in startups and social and personal services, which was up by 50%. Other sectors that performed well during this period include construction, real estate and agriculture.
Dublin also retained its status are Ireland’s economic hub with almost half of all new startups in this period being established in the capital. Cork, Galway and Limerick also performed well, whereas Cavan was the only county not to record a single startup in the first half of 2017.
Commenting on the findings, managing director, Christine Cullen, said: “It is very encouraging to see continued growth in company startups over a sustained six-month period and, importantly, in a diverse number of industries including finance and construction. This indicates that Ireland’s economic growth is continuing at a steady pace.”
“We cannot discount the effects of Brexit. Many Irish industries rely heavily, often exclusively, on the UK for trade. As British businesses and consumers feel the pinch of higher living costs and a weaker sterling, many Irish businesses will find their revenue streams disrupted, whether they are food and drink exporters in Dublin or hoteliers in Kerry. If this continues, the consequences for our economy will be

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Competitor analysis template

This Competitor Analysis Template gives you the opportunity to conduct a detailed analysis of your business competitors. 
All instructions in brackets and italics – [like this] – are intended to assist you in completing the plan. To help you complete your template, you should refer to the accompanying Marketing Plan Guide for additional information.
The main objectives of a competitor analysis are to understand who your competitors are, what strategies they are using and have planned, how competitors might react to your company’s actions, and how to influence competitor behavior to your advantage.
Every business faces some sort of competition. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, as it is critical to making sure your business survives and grows. Analysing potential competition is also vital because when new businesses enter the marketplace, it leaves existing small businesses at risk.
Using your analysis, learn from your competitor’s strengths and try adopting them to your own strategy, while also taking advantage of their weaknesses.
This template comprises of two main sections:

Competitor profile: This is a detailed overview of who your competitor is, taking into account areas of interest such as:

Summary profile, which includes their social media channels used, the location of the business, the company background, the number of employees, market share, customers and financial information
Pricing, including refund policy, discounts, terms and conditions, and distribution, if relevant
What marketing and communications strategies they use, including key messages, tagline and advertising
What their strengths and weaknesses are


Competitor analysis: This gives you the opportunity to compare your business with that of your competitor in terms of critical success factors (CSFs). You can identify CSFs for the market in which you operate, and then compare your business with that of your competitor in terms of these CSFs, using a scoring system.

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Get the best out of social media

New to social media, or want to make better use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites for your business?  Here are some tools and online resources that you will find useful.  
First things first, the good news is that they’re all free. For some of the tools, you need to upgrade to paid accounts to get the most value out of them. The majority of these tools have apps which are worth downloading to your smartphone. The tools and resources are listed in A-Z style, not in order of priority. 

1. Buffer
Buffer allows you to manage and share content across several social media accounts and to stagger your posts throughout the day. Buffer’s scheduling  features are sophisticated, allowing you to target the right audience with the right content.

2. Hootsuite
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools on the market. It can help you track conversations and measure campaign results. Hootsuite has a number of key features such as managing several social media accounts, as well as getting some decent analytics. 

Klout is one of the best known tools for measuring influence on Twitter and other social media channels.  It currently tracks over 500 million social media accounts worldwide. It also makes suggestions for content that is of interest to your audience. It’s free and also has premium accounts for businesses.

4. LikeAlyzer
LikeAlyzer analyses Facebook pages and in return gives suggestions as to how they can be improved. It’s particularly popular among businesses that are new to social media. It allows them to check how they compare with other similar businesses and by industry standards.

5. Mashable
Mashable is one of the best resources on the Web for digital marketing. It’s how many marketers and other professionals keep up to date with the fast-paced world of social media. It publishes starter guides, tips, resources, news and much more on its dedicated social media section.


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