Enter the National Startup Awards 2018

The National Startup Awards, powered by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, is open for entries and has a €15,000 prize fund.
The call is going out to startups all over Ireland. The National Startup Awards is open for entries with new categories and a total prize fund of €15,000.
The overall winner will walk away with a prize of €10,000, and the best early-stage startup will receive €5,000 to develop their businesses.
The competition is open to businesses across all sectors which have been operational for up to five years.
There are three key stages to the competition with qualifying entries first shortlisted by region and then nationally.
To enter or nominate someone for a National Startup Award visit www.startupawards.ie and submit your application by Thursday, March 22.
“Entrepreneurship is fundamental to the national and regional economy and job creation, and I encourage ambitious startups to submit their applications in the coming weeks,” says Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
“As Ireland’s leading bank for business, we have worked with startups at all stages of growth, and we continue to be inspired by the women and men who are building, creating and innovating for the future. We look forward to supporting this year’s entries from young companies that are making a difference,” says David Tighe, head of Open Enterprise and Innovation at Bank of Ireland.
Entry is free and is open to sole traders, partnerships and companies that have been set up in Ireland and that are in business for five years or less. The judging committee will comprise of representatives from Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland with a mix of leading Irish entrepreneurs. The regional finals will take place during April with the national awards taking place in Dublin on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
The National Startup Awards 2018 categories
1. Emerging tech startup
2. Fintech startup

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/enter-the-national-startup-awards-2018/ on thinkbusiness

Good as Gold

Lauren Higgs, co-founder of Good as Gold, talks about starting, running and growing a business. 
My background is in digital media. I spent five years at DMG Media working in my later years as head of ad operations for MailOnline Ireland and Evoke.ie. Danielle (pictured right) worked for a variety of startups including Offset when it was established in 2010. Her background is in design for screen and user experience design. She worked as head of design in an app development house, as well as more recently teaching and lecturing Design for Screen in IADT for the last two and half years. When we started ‘Good as Gold’ back in 2015, it was beneficial for us to have both the corporate and startup experience.
We’ve been Good as Gold for the past two and a bit years – moving into a much broader range of digital services combining digital design with digital strategy.
The great thing about digital is that at any one time we can be working on a cross-section of projects, from beauty, tourism and food to software and tech. Right now, we’re working with some great established brands like Showtime Analytics, Fetch, CA Design, Crypto Coast and some exciting new businesses. Our projects entail anything and everything digital related including branding, website creation, content strategy and social media strategy.
“We collaborate a lot in the studio, coming together to formulate content strategies and wireframes.”
A typical day
A typical day for us begins at our studio in Killincarrig, Greystones. We have a dog flap as there are three canine visitors (Howard, Walter and Noel) who clock in when we arrive. We have a team catch up outlining goals and tasks for the day. Due to the nature of our business, a lot of client communication can be done online or over the phone,

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/good-as-gold-lauren-higgs-danielle/ on thinkbusiness

A Playful City helps communities thrive

A Playful City’s aim is to put people first and nurture communities, thus making Dublin a better place to live, work and grow a business. 
Ireland scores above the European average for rates of entrepreneurship and the ecosystem is considered healthy, but startup culture brings its own unique set of challenges and solutions. Here, two female entrepreneurs talk about social enterprise, the realities of female entrepreneurship in Ireland and how they have dealt with the rapid growth of their business.
“It has been difficult to define ourselves in terms of a business structure,” says Neasa Ní Bhriain, one of four co-founders of A Playful City, a social enterprise intent on making Dublin the most playful city in the world. “We want to continue growing and become more sustainable, but because we are not a charity, it can be difficult to get traditional sponsorship and grants.”
“With over a million users on Facebook and with an international conference under their belt, all in just over a year, it’s fair to say things have changed a lot for the founders.”
To combat this, A Playful City has restructured its organisation to offer services like A Playful Street, an initiative where communities partially close down their street for a day so all ages and abilities can come out to play together.
“Rather than constantly trying to get funding to put these on, we provide A Playful Street as a service for companies looking to meaningfully connect and engage with their local communities or for councils wanting to introduce more play and bring people in communities together,” continues Neasa.
A Playful City has further adapted by offering consultations on play with the community using their unique, mobile, pop up consultation device. The Pow Wow, designed with Sean Harrington Architects, gathers insights from the community which are then analysed and used

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-playful-city-helps-communities-thrive/ on

Is this the best costume store in Ireland?

Ronan O’Brien never wanted a job with a salary. At 14 he was making more money than his teachers. Now he runs a growing empire. 
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve never had a full-time job working for anyone else and I worked for myself since I was 14 usually earning more than my teachers. I did manage to keep up the education on the side. I don’t think people want to be entrepreneurs per se, that’s just a tag given to people who choose not to take a salary job. I think entrepreneurs want to change the world in their own little way and control their destiny.

Where did it all begin for Zatori?
We started with TheCostumeShop.ie. At the time I was a professional DJ and there was a huge Halloween event I was playing at. I had been talking with a friend about trying to find a company to partner with to encourage the punters to buy costumes from – but there wasn’t anywhere in Ireland. So jokingly, I said I should start my own. Within four weeks, I had a basic e-commerce shop up and running and we were making sales. After Halloween I was relieved the rush was over, only to get a call from the National Concert Hall a week later asking if we were going to be advertising Christmas costumes, with an attached list of the items they needed. So then I realised it had potential.
Zatori, your holding company, has a number of business brands. How do you divide your time between each different brand?
A lot of my work is project based. If we are launching a new brand or targeting a new area, there is a lot of time required to build that company. We try to build a great team around us, then

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-costume-shop-ronan-obrien-zatori/ on thinkbusiness

Understanding the secret life of bees

This is the story of an Irish entrepreneur on a mission to save the planet’s bees.
Ireland has long valued the hive and the honey bee – as evidenced in the Bechbretha or ‘Bee Judgements’ texts, recorded under Brehon law, dating back to circa the 6th Century. Today, an Irish startup seeks to write a new page in beekeeping history.
ApisProtect, a business co-founded by Fiona Edwards Murphy is focused on the growing global problem of the stressed honey bee population. Here, Murphy talks about her idea and her journey of discovery into the secret lives of bees.

Light bulb moment
From my studies, I had gained some insight into the world of beekeeping. Annual hive losses run up to a startling 50%, for some of the 81 million hives. Around that time, I had won an international IEEE/IBM award and was invited to speak on Morning Ireland about the award and the sensor possibilities that could benefit beekeeping. Post interview, I was inundated with phone calls from beekeepers, at home and abroad, saying, ‘I would love to have these sensors in my beehive’.
“Worldwide there are 91 million beehives and roughly 45 million beekeepers.”
The sting in the tail
There is a tremendous amount of beekeeping research taking place all over the world; unfortunately, it’s failing to translate into solutions to save the bees.
I set out to design a technological solution with a commercial application for beekeepers. Since then, we have developed a sophisticated platform with temperature, humidity, (Co2) and accelerometer sensors within it. The information produced is collected, and machine learning is then used to interpret the data.
“Your hives are too hot or too cold.”
What are beekeepers’ main concerns?
Beekeepers are not concerned about the data or the technology but are interested in solving their beehive problems. Such as, ‘Are my bees healthy – am I

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/apis-wants-to-save-the-bees/ on

Startup Weekend is coming to Gorey

An action-packed Startup Weekend will take place in Gorey, Co. Wexford from February 23rd to 25th. 
Entrepreneurs and creative minds will take over The Hatch Lab in Gorey for a Techstars Startup Weekend. The weekend is all about giving startups the resources they need to build and launch a scalable company.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Book now. 
Why Gorey?
Following the opening of The Hatch Lab, a new tech incubation space in Gorey, this Startup Weekend will further cement the town as a great place for budding entrepreneurs to build their dreams. The goal of the weekend is to create an environment where passionate people can come together to get things done; to learn, network, bridge the gap between trades, expose potential weaknesses in their business models and see actual results. 
What is Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, where attendees pitch ideas, form teams and start companies. The weekend is community focused and provides a place for entrepreneurs to find co-founders, mentors and the momentum needed for their ideas.
Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event that brings all sorts of people together including aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, developers, designers, non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal), students, and professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills. Book now. 
The event is supported by Bank of Ireland and Wexford County Council. Further information and a list of judges and mentors can be found here. 
Article by Sandra Wycech.

Related Resource

Startup Weekend in Achill. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/startup-weekend-is-coming-to-gorey/ on thinkbusiness

The Entrepreneur Experience 2018

One of the best events for would-be entrepreneurs takes place in Ballymaloe, Co. Cork in March this year. 
The CorkBIC Entrepreneur Experience takes place for 24 hours from 2 pm on Friday, March 2 until 2 pm Saturday, March 3 in Ballymaloe, Co. Cork.
What makes this event unique?
The Entrepreneur Experience® is an unrivalled chance for 24 emerging entrepreneurs to gain access and advice from 24 of Ireland’s most successful business leaders over 24 hours.
The Entrepreneur Experience® isn’t like other events; this is real. 24 of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs giving of their time to help the next generation of entrepreneurs.
This experience is a unique opportunity for three distinct groups of entrepreneurs:

Early stage startups – entrepreneurs with a new idea, business plan and strategy roadmap but not yet ready for investment.
Entrepreneurs with an investor ready proposition.
Entrepreneurs with an established business that are looking to scale (ideally a company with ten plus employees and €1m+ turnover a year with the potential to grow rapidly in the coming years).

Apply now
For more information and to apply go to entrepreneurexperience.ie. Applications are open until January 19, 2018.
To get a real feel for this event check out the video from last year.


This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-entrepreneur-experience-2018/ on thinkbusiness

Letterkenny saves its local economy

Letterkenny Chamber created the ShopLK initiative in 2004 to keep people shopping in the town. It has been so successful, other towns should take note. 
ShopLK, ‘Love Shopping Letterkenny’, an initiative to promote local shopping by using gift cards brought €1.5m in sales into the town in just three months. 
“Christmas 2017 sales increased by 16% with over 9,300 cards sold between November and January which led to €1,553,574 going into the local economy.”
ShopLK gift cards are now accepted in over 190 outlets across Letterkenny with more to follow. 

Letterkenny as a retail destination
The ShopLK idea came about to promote Letterkenny as a retail destination, rather than just the commercial hub of the county. The initiative has been able to grow thanks to financial support from Donegal County Council.
Letterkenny Chamber says it makes no money from the sale or redemption of gift cards so every cent brought in through ShopLK is invested back into the promotion of the service. 
“This is by far the most successful town scheme in the country and we are also outstripping shopping centres with similar gift cards,” says Leonard Watson, president of the Letterkenny Chamber. “We are always thankful all the outlets that support us. We know from our customers that they love the variety. The can get grocery shopping, petrol for the family car or spend the money on a treat, the choice is endless.”
“One-third of customers using the card almost always spend more than the value of the card itself.”
“The cards can only be spent in Letterkenny and we know that at least one-third of customers using the card almost always spend more than the value of the card itself. This is a huge amount of money to be circulating in Letterkenny. It not only puts money directly into the hands of local businesses but in turn plays

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/letterkenny-saves-its-local-economy/ on

The end of online scams may be near

The year was 2016. Conor Lyden, a student, went to buy tickets for a Premier League match. What happened next was the reason he set up his award-winning business. 
Why was the company set up?
I set up the company back in the summer of 2016 when I was accepted into the Ignite Graduate Business Innovation Program in UCC. I always had an entrepreneurial side and this business stemmed from my frustration at the lack of options available to me when I wanted to buy tickets to watch Liverpool games in the UK. I had been scammed a couple of times and I felt there were no suitable solutions for people when they’re buying or selling anything online with people they don’t know, not just tickets.
“Payment apps lack buyer and seller protection.”
What need is the Trustap meeting?
Trustap is a transaction platform that acts as a safety net for customers when they want to buy or sell online with strangers. Trustap works like a personal escrow account. In each transaction, the funds are held during the delivery process, and then once the item has been delivered and the buyer is satisfied or the 24-hour complaints period has elapsed, the funds are released to the seller. This process provides value to customers by eliminating the trust aspect that is currently needed for online transactions with strangers and thus eliminates the chances of the users being scammed and suffering any financial losses.
What is the company’s USP?
Current person-to-person payment systems are meant to be personal, which means that you use the apps exclusively to transfer money back and forth with people you know and trust, such as your friends and family members. It isn’t meant to be used to conduct business with people you don’t know, even if you’re just selling your old bike or extra

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/buy-safely-online-with-trustap/ on thinkbusiness

A new age of cattle monitoring

This AgTech firm aims to save farmers money and time. 

AgVis, based in Oranmore, Co. Galway is developing and commercialising a smart connected cattle monitoring solution, for total herd insights, to bring value to the farm on a 24/7 basis. It’s a significant advance in precision livestock monitoring, using diagnostic sensors in an IoT device, allied with embedded artificial intelligence. AgVis founder and engineer, Denis Healy provides some background behind this exciting Agtech startup.
Innovation experience
I have over 15 years of innovation and problem-solving experience with my existing company OSTC. Most of our work is within the medical devices sector, working with some of the leading global brands. We offer a full-service engineering approach with product design, 3D printing, production, quality control equipment and services.
“A typical Irish dairy farm with 100 cows, is incurring associated opportunity losses, in the region of €30,000 per year.”
Why transition from Medtech to Agtech?
As a team we have powerful, hands-on experience and background in livestock farming – as well as real understanding and expertise of the myriad of technologies available today. We also believe that our track-record and domain knowledge will allow us to overcome any challenges that we may face along the way.
What problem are you solving on the farm?
Our focus is to assist livestock farmers within the calf, beef and dairy sub-sectors. The problem to be solved is opportunity loss, which is currently being absorbed by all farms today. In an Irish context, a typical Irish dairy farm with 100 cows, is incurring associated opportunity losses, in the region of €30,000 per year. The improvements we offer enhance animal welfare, food quality, sector sustainability, operational efficiency and profitability for all stakeholders, within the farm to fork value-chain.
The principal behind AgVis is the provision of a miniature multifunctional sensor in one piece, which is unique in

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-new-age-of-cattle-monitoring-herd-insights-agvis/ on