The Empower Programme

The Empower Programme is a new entrepreneur programme run by the GMIT Innovation Hub. It is for female entrepreneurs in the West of Ireland.  

The Empower Programme has been set up to assist female-led businesses to “overcome challenges and fast track their business for success”.

The founder and CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS), Evelyn O’Toole (above), will speak at the Female Empower Programme’s launch on September 13 at the Connacht Hotel, Galway.

Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS) was set up by O’Toole in 1994 and has two facilities in Galway – CLS in Ros Muc, Connemara and CLS MedPharma on the Tuam Road. The business employs 140 staff. It is also the largest privately owned contract laboratory in Ireland.

“The Empower Programme is targeted at aspiring female entrepreneurs and women in business so [it’s great] to have Evelyn as one of our key speakers to share her entrepreneurial expertise,” says Maria Staunton, manager of the GMIT Innovation Hub. 

Other speakers will include Chanelle McCoy of Chanelle Pharmaceuticals and Dragon’s Den, and Breege O’Donoghue, former director of Primark and Chair of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

For more information and to register visit www.empowerher.ie.

DOWNLOAD: A brilliant business plan template to kick start your dream.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-empower-programme/ on
thinkbusiness

Five ways to be productive after a holiday

Are you returning from a holiday, back to a hectic schedule at work and at home? Here’s how to ‘land gently’ and get back to your productive best. 

The week before a holiday is often the busiest week of the year. We become super-productive as we crack through our to do list in an attempt to clear everything before we leave. We want to make sure that we have communicated with everyone and tied up any loose ends.

The post holiday blues 

In contrast, the first few days back from holiday can often be our least productive days. We can feel demotivated. We often don’t feel ready to resume our normal hectic pace. We can find it hard to get back into “work mode”. All the details that were so clear before we left can seem very blurred on our return. So, how can we take control and be productive after our holiday?

“Maintain some of your holiday buzz by doing something you enjoy like a cinema trip, a spa treatment or a meal out.”

1. Prepare the ground before you leave 

The trick is to spend time planning the first days back before you finish up. At this point, you are tuned into the finer details of every project or issue, so this is the best time to record as much detail as you can. Prepare notes for upcoming meetings, jot down key points for reports, make draft plans for things you need to tackle that first week back. Expect to (temporarily) forget most of the knowledge in your head, as that is the purpose of your holiday after all.

be productive moira dunne

2. Be strategic with your return schedule 

Some people like to ease back into things with a low-key schedule, but I find the opposite works best for me. I arrange a couple of key meetings so that I have to get back into a productive mode quickly. I don’t welcome this on my first morning back, but by the end of the day, I am glad.

Consider what works best for you, your role and your environment. But be prepared to challenge yourself if you need to.

3. Make the most of your relaxed mind

If you have successfully switched off during your holiday, your account will probably be free from all the usual stress and clutter. Some of the best ideas come to mind when you can see things more clearly and objectively. So use this rare state of mind to do some creative thinking and planning. But be careful; you can sometimes be too free-thinking and unrestrained that first day back. Make sure you don’t upset anyone by speaking too openly or honestly.

“If you usually exercise regularly try to resume this on your first day back.”

4. Resume your routines that work 

It can take some time to get back into productive habits when you first return. If you usually exercise regularly try to resume this on your first day back. Enable your healthy eating habits by building in time to visit the supermarket before you go back to work so you can set yourself up for a healthy week.

5. Be nice to yourself 

If you have the flexibility, reward yourself for being productive with an early finish time those first few days back. Maintain some of your holiday buzz by doing something you enjoy like a cinema trip, a spa treatment or a meal out.

So have a great holiday and let me know if any of these tips work for you. 

Article by Moira Dunne, BeProductive.ie. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/returning-to-work-after-holiday/ on
thinkbusiness

Firemole – a Cork invention that went viral

Corkman Sean O’Tuama’s invention Firemole can save lives by alerting people to electronic devices that are overheating. 

sean firemole

Describe your invention, what’s its USP?

Firemole is a patent pending, first of its kind, safety-tech gadget that can be attached to various electrical and electronic devices such as chargers, phones and plug tops. Once the Firemole detects a temperature of 54ºC, it sounds an in-built alarm, alerting users to the high temperatures. Firemole will sound the alarm way before a fire breaks out, making it a very valuable product to the user.

“I began by contacting Genesis Circuits in Cork. Frank and Tom were a tremendous help in streamlining the design and the electronics.”

How did you come up with the idea?

I worked as an electrician for years and came across numerous fires caused by faulty, ageing or counterfeit electrical devices. It was only after a close call in my own home, that got me thinking about developing the Firemole device. It makes sense to try and detect rising temperatures before a fire starts.

“Firemole went completely viral on Twitter with nearly two million impressions over a 24-hour period.”

How did you get it made, what was that process like?

Like any startup, it has been an uphill battle, but we have made significant progress over the last year. I began by contacting Genesis Circuits in Cork. Frank and Tom were a tremendous help in streamlining the design and the electronics. Once we were happy with that, I went to MAAS Engineering (also in Cork), and they made the tool for the plastic housing and metal base. By keeping everything local, it taught me an enormous amount about the manufacturing industry as I was able to call out to both Genesis and MAAS to see what was going on. 

We were then accepted onto Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Phase Two program in the Rubicon Centre, and that gave some much-needed funding along with a feasibility study grant which the Cork City Local Enterprise Office gave me. 

We are now market ready and plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

“With Firemole being a brand new type of product, it will take a lot of education and testing to figure out what are the best channels to market.”

The press picked up on the story and you were flooded with orders. How did that happen?

Firemole won the ‘Most Innovative Product’ award from the New Frontiers Phase Two program so I decided to send out a press release thinking that maybe my local newspaper might pick up on it. Well, they didn’t, but nearly every other major news outlet in the country did including The Journal, The Independent, The Daily Mail and various radio stations. Firemole went completely viral on Twitter with nearly two million impressions over a 24-hour period. All of this attention gave the company some great validation as pre-orders started rolling in on the Firemole.com website (which luckily I had set up the night before).

“We’ve already been contacted by distributors, so it looks like international expansion will occur quickly.”

What’s your marketing strategy for the future?

With Firemole being a brand new type of product, it will take a lot of education and testing to figure out what are the best channels to market. We are not just trying to sell people a product; we want to build a community around Firemole who want to come on the start-up journey with us and be part of this new age of safety-tech. We will be doing weekly vlogs (video blogs), so people can see what is going on in the background of the company and plan to push out as much content as possible through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.

What are your international expansion plans?

With our crowdfunding campaign, we will be selling to Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We have already been contacted by major distributors who want to carry the Firemole device, so it looks like international expansion will occur quickly. Dealing with scaling the company efficiently will be the biggest challenge for this year.

“There has been a lot of Googling and awkward meetings when I was way over my head, but I think that is why I have learnt so much.”

Describe setting up your business, what curve balls and lessons have you encountered?

Getting involved in product development and manufacturing has been a very steep but enjoyable learning curve. The last year has been filled with very ‘high highs’ and crushing lows, but I suppose that is an integral part of a start-up. There has been a lot of Googling and awkward meetings when I was way over my head, but I think that is why I have learnt so much. I believe that it is essential to throw yourself in at the deep end because that way, you have to learn quickly.

If there is one thing I wish I could tell myself this time last year, it would be to ensure you have a plan B and C lined up for when A fails, as plan A will fail more times than you like. 

Relying on specific sources of finance was another big mistake I made. Never believe a word until the contracts are signed, and the money is in the bank.

What supports have you received?

To date I have received €15,000 from the New Frontiers Program, €15,000 in feasibility funding from the Cork City Local Enterprise Offices and a €5,000 innovation voucher from Enterprise Ireland.

“Many companies expect to get every ounce of work they can get out of their employees, and it leads to burn out and depression very quickly.”

What do you need now?

I am currently looking to raise €400k. There needs to be a significant marketing budget for Firemole as it is not a product people will be specifically looking for. I also need to build a team. I have a few guys who do some work on the side, and it would be great to get a full-time team in place.

If you were ‘ruler for the day’. What would you do to change Ireland’s business culture?

I think Ireland’s business culture is beginning to change, but there is still a lot that can be done. I hear stories from friends that it is frowned upon to leave their office before 7 pm, even though they are not being paid for it. Many companies expect to get every ounce of work they can get out of their employees, and it leads to burn out and depression very quickly. I think if I were ruler for the day, I would try to shift the working culture for these companies from quantity to quality, as this would lead to a happier workplace.

DOWNLOAD: A brilliant business plan template.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/firemole-overheating-plugs-prevention/ on
thinkbusiness

Thinking business with Tom Keogh

Tom Keogh, founder of Keogh’s crisps talks to ThinkBusiness about spuds, social media and storytelling.

 Why did you start this business?

We literally re-invented the potato. In-depth market research led to a number of consumer insights which resulted in fundamental changes to our business. We recreated our brand. We were living the brand we just needed to tell our story. 

 

How long have you been in business?

Our family has been growing Irish potatoes in this area for over 200 years. My dad, Peter and Uncle Tony, own PKS Farms, a potato growing business I’ve grown up with and worked in from a young age.

 

How did the company go about getting funding when it first started?

We were lucky in that we had founder savings, family BES, and support from the Local Enterprise board when launching Keogh’s Crisps back in 2011. 

 

How did the company get its big break?

Between 2002 and 2011 the consumption of potatoes had almost halved in Ireland, so we knew we had to start innovating. We decided to launched Keogh’s Crisps, the only hand cooked crisps in Ireland. Now five years on we have eight flavours on the market and no signs of stopping. 

 

What sets your brand and products apart; in an incredibly competitive market?

It’s our religious attention to quality combined with the rich fertile soils of Fingal which result in great tasting quality products that our consumers can trust and enjoy. 

 

If you had unlimited funds what areas of the business would you hire for?

I’m proud of everything this business has achieved from selling our first box of crisps to now seeing our product on the shelves of stores in China, Dubai, Germany … the list goes on. We started with one employee and we now have 33 working for Keogh’s Crisps. 

 

Do you do use social media? What do you find works best?

Social media is a great way for us to tell our story. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a fun way of getting involved with our customers. 

 

What was your first job? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in that job?

I’ve always worked in the family business. What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned? Work somewhere else first. 

 

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Steak and spuds of course. 

 

For more information, check out Keogh’s.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/thinking-business-with-tom-keogh/ on
thinkbusiness

Thinking business with Tom Keogh

Tom Keogh, founder of Keogh’s crisps talks to ThinkBusiness about spuds, social media and storytelling.

How did you start your business?

We literally re-invented the potato. We had to. In-depth market research led to a number of consumer insights that resulted in fundamental changes to our business. We recreated our brand. We moved from selling spuds to crisps. At the start we were living the brand we just needed to tell our story. 

How long have you been in business?

Our family has been growing Irish potatoes in this area for over 200 years. My dad, Peter, and Uncle Tony, own PKS Farms, a potato growing business I’ve worked in from a young age.

Did you raise funds to start?

We were lucky in that we had founder savings, family BES, and support from the Local Enterprise Board when launching Keogh’s Crisps back in 2011. 

How did the company get its big break?

Between 2002 and 2011 the consumption of potatoes had almost halved in Ireland, so we knew we had to start innovating. We decided to launched Keogh’s Crisps, the only hand-cooked crisps in Ireland. Now five years on we have eight flavours on the market and no signs of stopping. 

What sets your brand and products apart in an incredibly competitive market?

It’s our religious attention to quality combined with the rich fertile soils of Fingal which result in great tasting quality products that our consumers can trust and enjoy. 

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of everything this business has achieved from selling our first box of crisps to now seeing our product on the shelves of stores in China, Dubai, Germany … the list goes on. We started with one employee and we now have 33 working for Keogh’s Crisps. 

Do you do use social media to promote your products? What works best?

Social media is a great way for us to tell our story. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a fun way of getting involved with our customers. 

What was your first job? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in that job?

I’ve always worked in the family business. What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned? Work somewhere else first. 

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Steak and spuds of course. 

A MUST READ: Inside the mind of Pat McDonagh, the founder of Supermac’s.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/tom-keogh-founder-of-keoghs-crisps/ on
thinkbusiness

Give yourself the best chance of survival

Do you check the financial health of your business? If not, you should do so regularly. Here’s how.

 

As a business owner, it’s crucial that you are fully up-to-date with the overall financial health and wellbeing of your company.

To achieve this, ratio analysis is a great way to do it. Ratio analysis is one of, if not, the most powerful tool for keeping track of your finances.

It is calculated by comparing a number of different aspects of your company, including:

•Profitability

•Liquidity

•Efficiency

•Leverage

•Activity

•Investor returns

The ratios are calculated by taking current year figures and then comparing them to past years, other companies, or the sector you are in. They can also be used to benchmark your business against leaders in your sector.

Ratio analysis can act as an early warning system.

Download the template now, see above left. Also, we have a handy guide to ratios.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/ratio-analysis-template/ on
thinkbusiness

Supper Club – a new network for female entrepreneurs

Dell EMC and GirlCrew have joined forces to launch a new network for female entrepreneurs called ‘Supper Club’.

The Supper Club idea is simple –  to build a network of female entrepreneurs.

At Supper Club, female entrepreneurs can meet to exchange advice and share ideas and strategies for success. 

Dell EMC also runs the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), an annual gathering of entrepreneurs to address the challenges faced by women when starting and growing a business. 

“We have received feedback from women entrepreneurs around the world – consistently they highlight the value of fostering a network of female entrepreneurs,” says Aisling Keegan, vice president and general manager for Dell EMC Ireland.

Supper Club’s first meeting will take in Dublin on June 21, and more information about the initiative can be found via Dell EMC’s social media channels as well as through GirlCrew. 

Founded by Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Aine Mulloy, GirlCrew has more than 80,000 members across 46 cities worldwide.
Pictured above are: Aisling Keegan, vice president and general manager for Dell EMC Ireland; Louisamay Hanrahan, co-founder of dating app Luvguru; Louise Dunne, co-founder of beauty app Glissed; and Pamela Newenham, co-founder of GirlCrew.

MORE INFO: Inspirational Irish business women.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/dell-girlcrew-supper-club/ on
thinkbusiness

Nine of Ireland’s best-kept tourism ‘secrets’

The Guinness Storehouse and the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s top two tourist destinations. However, our island has many hidden gems. What’s your favourite? Here are nine of ours. 

The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 220,000 people and generates an estimated €5.7 billion in revenue a year. 

Following the release of Fáilte Ireland’s annual list of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, ThinkBusiness looks briefly at some of the lesser-known, but magical tourist spots the Emerald Isle has to offer. What’s your favourite? Let us know on our Facebook page.

torc waterfall

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

Located five miles from the centre of Killarney, this 60 ft. tall waterfall is a must-see for anyone touring the south-east coast of Ireland. The water falls from the Torc Mountains via a river known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The site also offers a two-hour walk for visitors, which includes a 220 step climb looping around the waterfall and back towards the car park.

The Rock of Dunamase, Co. Laois (main image)

Standing at over 45 metres in height, this ancient bedrock overshadows the surrounding countryside. Part of the reason why this site goes unmentioned in the official high-profile tourism reports is that there is no visitor’s centre. Nor does it offer any tours. The area is also a popular place for film crews when shooting in Ireland. The age of the rock remains disputed, but it’s believed to date back to 845 AD.

Ardgillan castle

Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

Situated along North Dublin’s elevated coastline, Ardgillan Castle is one of the most breathtaking landmarks on this island. The park consists of almost 200 acres of woodland and gardens which overlook the Mourne Mountains to the north, and Lambay Island to the south. The castle grounds are a sanctuary for many species of animals, mammals and birds.

St Michan’s Church, Co. Dublin

Located in the heart of Dublin city centre, this church holds claims to nearly 1,000 years of Christian history. The church is known for its famous vaults which contain many mummified remains. The walls in the vaults contain limestone, which has kept the air dry, creating ideal conditions for preservation. It’s a very spooky place, and one of the hidden gems of Dublin. 

blacksod lighthouse

Blacksod Lighthouse, Belmullet, Co. Mayo

This historic lighthouse played a key role at the end of World War II when in 1944, a weather forecast from the lighthouse keeper was received by General Dwight Eisenhower. It led to one of the biggest military operations in world history. D-Day was scheduled to take place, but when Eisenhower heard about the bad weather forecast from Blacksod lighthouse, he decided to delay the invasion by one day and saved it from ultimate failure. Blacksod is one of the most western points along the Wild Atlantic Way. 

marble arch caves fermanagh

The Marble Arch Caves, Co. Fermanagh

The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves, formed thousands of years ago by a cave river, eroding and dissolving millions of tonnes of limestone, to carve and shape the majestic passages. Visitors can experience a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers.

Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

There is a campaign to make Valentia Island – and the station where, in 1866, the first trans-Atlantic communications took place – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read more here. 

corlea bog road longford

The Corlea Trackway, Co. Longford

The Corlea Trackway is an Iron Age bog road dated to the year 148 BC which crosses the bog lands close to the Shannon, near the village of Kenagh in Co. Longford. According to the experts who excavated the ancient road, it would have been built to allow the movement of wheeled vehicles. An exhibition centre exploring the unique nature of the Corlea Bog area was opened in 1994. It’s a must visit when exploring the midlands. Read more – there’s also a fascinating mythology behind the road.

martello tower

The James Joyce Martello Tower, Sandycove, Co. Dublin

Located eight miles from Dublin city centre, The James Joyce Tower – like many other Martello Towers – was built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon. It now holds a museum dedicated to the life and works of James Joyce, who made the tower the setting for the first chapter of his classic, Ulysses. Sandycove is also home to the famous 40-foot swimming area and close to the beautiful tourism hotspots of Dalkey and Vico Road. 

The ‘official’ top 20s

Here’s the list of the top attractions in Ireland for 2016, as compiled by data from Fáilte Ireland.  

TOP 20 FEE-PAYING VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

  •    Guinness Storehouse; Dublin; 1,647,408
  •    Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Clare; 1,427,166
  •    Dublin Zoo; 1,143,908
  •    National Aquatic Centre, Dublin; 1,037,992
  •    Book of Kells, Dublin; 890,781
  •    Tayto Park, Meath; 762,000
  •    St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; 563,000
  •    Castletown House & Parklands, Kildare; 547,324
  •    Powerscourt House & Gardens, Wicklow; 467,507
  •    Fota Wildlife Park, Cork; 465,281
  •    Kylemore Abbey & Garden, Galway; 458,000
  •    Blarney Castle, Cork; 420,000
  •    Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin; 390,970
  •    Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny; 384,918
  •    Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Clare; 352,286
  •    Rock of Cashel, Tipperary; 338,830
  •    Emo Court  House & Gardens, Laois; 293,056
  •    Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin; 269,000
  •    Dublin Castle, Dublin; 253,786
  •    Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; 229,085

TOP 20 ‘FREE’ VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

  •    The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; 755,577
  •    Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; 584,856
  •    National Botanic Gardens, Dublin; 583,539
  •    Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork; 480,000
  •    National Museum of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin; 479,261
  •    Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin; 413,900
  •    National Museum, Collins’ Barracks, Dublin; 411,391
  •    Farmleigh, Dublin; 383,335
  •    Newbridge Silverware Museum, Kildare; 350,000
  •    National Museum – Natural History, Dublin; 317,269
  •    Galway City Museum; Galway; 213,390
  •    Connemara National Park, Galway; 210,812
  •    The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; 193,229
  •    Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; 178,302
  •    Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Donegal; 177,333
  •    Malin Head Viewing Point, Donegal; 162,468
  •    Kilmacurragh Gardens, Wicklow; 156,045
  •    National Museum of Country Life, Mayo; 107,855
  •    Grianan of Aileach, Donegal; 104,398
  •    Gallery of Photography, Dublin; 80,000

READ MORE: Here’s how to export your products and services to the world.

Article by Stephen Larkin.

Images from ShutterStock and Ancient Ireland.
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/irish-tourism-secrets/ on
thinkbusiness

Plynk raises €25 million to make it easier to share money

ThinkBusiness talks to Charles Dowd, co-founder of Plynk about bootstrapping and belief.

Plynk co-founders

Speaking to ThinkBusiness, Charles Dowd (left), a former product manager at Facebook, and now co-founder of Plynk is in a good mood.

His new business Plynk has just announced a €25m Series A investment led by private investment trust, Swiss Privée Ltd.

Headquartered in Dublin, Plynk, the money-messaging app was co-founded by Dowd and Clive Foley (right). The solution was clear – to remove the complexities of money transfers, making it simple, fast and free for young people to send money phone-to-phone. 

“The idea was simple, and our ambition was evident from the start,” says Dowd. “We wanted to be a pan-European money messaging app, but more than that we want to be a social network based on money. We make money more shareable, just like content is shared between friends across mobile. We had belief in our idea and we needed to validate it in Dublin, so we launched it in Trinity (TCD).”

Having spent over four years working on the product side of things at Facebook, Dowd says the idea for Plynk came from observations he made while working for the world’s largest social network.

“People tend to take money very seriously. Recent research suggests that 42% of people in Europe have lost a friend over a small personal debt. The problem is mainly felt by millennials,” says Dowd.

“Young people want immediate solutions. They are not going to invoice someone if they are owed money.”

Linked to users’ social networks, Plynk users can send money as a message to a single contact or in-group chats instantly and with no fees. Once an account is created, users receive a payment account with a dedicated IBAN and virtual Mastercard for online payments.

Dublin is where it’s at

Plynk started in Dublin in 2015.

“We bootstrapped this from the get go,” says Dowd. “We just walked into the Bank of Ireland Workbench in Grand Canal Square and got to work. When the Innovation team at the bank saw what we were doing, they rolled in behind us and supported us. I think they could see we were serious and had a product that had significant potential.”

The next markets for Plynk are Spain and Portugal. 

“I worked in Portugal, and we know Spain and both are very mobile and social markets with large, young populations that are quick to adapt to new, useful technologies. Our target market is 18-24-year-olds, and our strategy is to launch Plynk in University campuses.”

Will Plynk stay headquartered in Dublin? 

“Yes, no doubt,” says Dowd. “Dublin is where it’s at regarding finding the right talent to expand. The people are here. The business culture is real. It’s the perfect launchpad to Europe. We will open up other offices in Europe but our HQ will stay in Ireland.”

Plynk is available on Android and iOS

READ MORE: What’s it like to start a business in Ireland?

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/plynk-25-million-reasons-why/ on
thinkbusiness

Nine creative and quirky summer camps in Ireland

Here are nine creative and quirky camps operating in Ireland and a short guide on how to start your own summer camp business. 

Are you a business owner with children? Do you need to keep them busy over the summer holidays? Perhaps you want to start a summer camp?

As carefree as summer camps aim to be for young people, behind every good camp is a serious business. Here we look at some of the quirkier, less run-of-the-mill Irish summer camps, and how you might go about setting up your own. If you know of other really cool summer camps, let us know on our Facebook page.

Summer camp

Whizzkids 

With programmes on campuses right across Ireland, Whizzkids has established itself as the number one camp for kids and teenagers interested in tech. The week-long camps teach young people about coding, web design and much more.

More info here.

Wizard Academy 

If tech isn’t your child’s thing, perhaps witchcraft and wizardry could be more down their street? Modeling itself as Ireland’s answer to Hogwarts, this County Meath-based camp offers kids classes in potions, magical creatures, spells and more. 

More info here.

creative summer camps

Kids Army Bootcamp

Is it time your child learned some survival skills? Based in the wilds of Enniskerry, Basecamp East’s summer camp offers children a range of survival-style training, from air rifling to bushcraft. 

More info here.

Starcamp

For those looking for something more creative, Starcamp promises to boosts kids’ confidence through singing, acting, hip-hop and other performance activities. The camp caters for both boys and girls from the ages of four to fourteen with venues right across Dublin.  

More info here.

Fight Factory Pro Wrestling 

Time to trade in the football kit for spandex? Based in Bray, FFPW is Ireland’s number one pro wrestling school, with former trainees having gone on to superstardom in the WWE. Trainees must be at least 14 years of age. 

More info here.

Punch Lion

Specialising in family friendly comedy shows for children, Punch Lion Comedy Clubs also run comedy workshops for kids, teaching everything from improvisation and stand-up comedy. Different classes cater for ages ranging from 5-12, with workshops for teenagers also on offer.

More info here.

Run Away With the Circus

Juggling, unicycling, pyramid building, diablo, hat manipulation – these are just some of the skills being taught by Circus professionals during this week long summer camp in Cloughjordan this July. Suitable for over eights, with separate groups for teenagers. 

More info here.

summer camps4

Dig it Kids 

Dig it Kids works with teachers and early school practitioners to bring archaeology and history to life in the classroom (and out of it). The camp is tailored to meet the Aistear Programme and the School Curriculum.

“Our mission is to provide fun, hands-on learning for young archaeologists and historians, supporting the Irish curriculum,” says Stephen Mandal, co-founder. 

More info here.

creative summer camps ireland

Irish School of Archaeology

For more fun digging, the Irish School of Archaeology runs week-long camps over the summer in its Harold’s Cross and Malahide locations. The camps are aimed at youngsters aged between 7-12 and activities include a Viking house excavation, weaponry and combat, treasure hunts, and a real life archaeology dig. 

More info here.

Running a summer camp as a business 

Got an idea for an Irish summer camp? Here are a few things to consider before you get started. 

  1.    Scope

A summer camp is a business like any other, so before you get started you need to decide the scale of your operation and who you need to cater for. How many kids can you facilitate at a time, and for what age groups? Can you accommodate children with special needs? What kinds of activities will you offer, and what kind of facilities will you require? 

  1.    Business plan 

Once you know exactly what your camp will look like, it’s time to draft a business plan. A good business plan will help you secure investment, and will be a guide for developing your business. Download a great business plan template here.

  1.    Book the venue

Deciding on the venue requirements for your camp is an vital first step. Will you require playing fields, a computer room, or a theatre space? Figuring this out early is crucial, as community centres can get booked up quickly for the Summer months. 

  1.    Vetting

If you’re responsible for looking after kids, you’ll need to go through the Garda vetting process; as will the staff you employ at your camp. Hiring people who already have Garda clearance, like a teacher or Montessori employee on summer holidays, could save time. 

  1.    Health and safety and insurance

Meeting the appropriate health and safety requirements is a must, as well as getting public liability insurance. Make sure to shop around for the best quote. 

  1.    Marketing 

It’s time to fill those places. You need to decide on a budget and the strategy for your marketing. How are you going to differentiate yourself from other camps in the market? Will you place ads in local press or online? Do you have a social media strategy? Can your budget stretch to ads for the national newspapers, radio or TV? Sometimes it can be effective to contact local schools to ask about putting up posters or handing out fliers. Start planning, download a free marketing plan template here.  

Article by Peter Flanagan.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/creative-summer-camps-in-ireland/ on
thinkbusiness