Diary of a student entrepreneur, Vol. 2

Three student entrepreneurs on the LaunchBox programme at Trinity have agreed to chronicle their adventures, the highs and the lows, as they build their businesses. Here are their second diary entries. 

Lizzy Hayashida, Change Donations
In September 2018, I landed in Dublin to start my MBA at Trinity, and before I knew it, I was boarding a bus to Belmullet with the other 48 students in my cohort.
Day one was about meeting the class of 2018 and learning a bit about Irish history. On day two we were assigned the teams we would be working in for the remainder of the year. It was in this first team assignment that Willie, Amelia and I first met.
We’ve come a long way from the day we first met fresh off the bus in Belmullet. Since then we have gone from having a vision (to digitise the donation process), to creating our company, Change Donations. We have (almost) completed our MBAs and we have been working on the LaunchBox, Trinity’s student accelerator, since early June.
“The best advice we’ve received to date has been the importance of refining our story until we could quickly and easily explain our vision to anyone.”
LaunchBox has been an excellent way for us to really focus on building Change. Probably the most significant benefit from the programme and the best advice we’ve received to date has been the importance of refining our story until we could quickly and easily explain our vision to anyone who was interested (and some who weren’t). The plethora of speakers and mentors that we have had access to has been invaluable, helping us refine our story and ensuring that we stay focused on the core business first.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us, which we have broken down into two-week sprints. Over the

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/diary-of-a-student-entrepreneur-vol-2/ on thinkbusiness

A founder’s guide – how to start

Maryrose Simpson, the founder of MyLadyBug, which ships to 23 countries, talks about starting a business using the lean startup model. 
In 2012, Maryrose Simpson graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Limerick School of Art and Design, with an ambition to start something of her own. Three years later, from her hometown in Stradbally, Co. Laois she launched MyLadyBug, the first online subscription box model for feminine products.
MyLadyBug celebrates three years in business in July 2018 and is currently delivering to over 23 countries worldwide. Maryrose describes how research and prototyping her product offering, helped her on the path to launching a successful startup.
“I soon realised I had taken what I learnt in college for granted.”

Growing up I developed a strong love for technology from an early age, which probably started when my dad brought home, a Windows 95 computer. It wasn’t long before I began negotiating extra time with my siblings, for their allocated slot. I have always been a visual learner with a flair for art, design and problem-solving, and within my family and friends I’m ‘tech support’.
I get my motivation, determination and resilience in life from my Mum and Dad. In 2012, I graduated right when the recession was alive and kicking. I worked three days a week, for a design company that provided a one-stop shop for branding and product design. My time there gave me the knowledge and digital experience of working alongside creative individuals and clients.
I remember one particular client saying to me that, ‘If I had your skill set – I’d set up a business in the morning’. This stuck with me, and I soon realised I had taken what I learnt in college for granted and in a way always looked at it in a way that would get me a

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/myladybug-maryrose-simpson-founders-guide/ on thinkbusiness

Diary of a student entrepreneur

Three student entrepreneurs on the LaunchBox programme at Trinity have agreed to chronicle their adventures, the highs and the lows, as they build their businesses.

Cian Fogarty, founder of Greener Globe (Science)
I became an entrepreneur because I want to make the changes I want to see in the world. Too many people say they want something to change but then don’t do anything about it, don’t act. I wanted to be the person to lead that change. I could never see myself in a nine to five job, my goals for life are way too big.
My startup, Greener Globe, is a business that makes environmentally-friendly, innovative products. Our focus at present is tackling the issue of water wastage in the shower through our revolutionary LED timed shower head. We’re working in this market as we believe it’s a way we can help improve the world and still have a growing, profitable business.
“We’ve been in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ for a long time, and it’s definitely a tough time, having your product ready to go but not being able to get it out there.”
LaunchBox has been a fantastic programme for me because at Trinity I study Science, not Business. I wouldn’t change this, because I believe looking at a problem with a scientific mindset is advantageous, but it does mean I have to learn as I go on the business side of things. LaunchBox provides this education, with speakers and seminars, to determine the fundamentals of business which is invaluable for me.
One of the significant challenges we’ve faced so far is getting our product onto shelves. We’ve been in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ for a long time, and it’s definitely a tough time, having your product ready to go but not being able to get it out there. Since the beginning of

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/diary-of-a-student-entrepreneur-launchbox-trinity/ on thinkbusiness

Starting a business while still in a job

The ‘side hustle’ is becoming increasingly popular. Are you thinking of starting a business while still in your day job?
Working a nine to five comes with benefits, and the security of having a steady income can be a ‘deterrent’ to starting a business.
If you decide to leap into entrepreneurship, however, the first thing you must do is to explore if your idea can be turned into a viable business.
First – is your idea viable?
Instead of a long-winded business plan, it is best to start with a Business Model Canvas. You can download one here for free. This will help you validate many of the assumptions you have about your business idea. For example:

What problem does your product solve?
What is your product?
Who are your target customers?
What is unique about it?
How are you planning to distribute your product to customers?
How much revenue can you make?
What are your significant costs?

Next – review your employment contract
Back when you signed your employment contract, was there a clause that prohibits you from setting up a business related to your current role?
You need to review your contract and speak to your employer.
The easiest way to avoid trouble is to make sure you are working on an idea that is unrelated to that of your employer, and to work on your own time and with your computer and phone.
Now – test your idea
To reduce the risk of ‘startup failure,’ you will need to test your concept rigorously. For example, do you have a prototype? Do you know what your customers think?
Customer interview and surveys are now easy to do with tools like SurveyMonkey and the reach given by the social web (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
To put your assumptions to the test, ask potential customers how they would use your service or product to solve their problem. Ask if they

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/starting-a-business-while-still-in-a-job/ on thinkbusiness

New world-class security accelerator in Cork

Are you in Cork or do you want to move to Cork to build a global business?
CorkBIC has announced a new security accelerator for startups working in cybersecurity and related fields.
The startups who are accepted onto the security accelerator will receive €50,000 each in investment, free office space, access to an exclusive network of industry leaders, mentors and investors, as well as hands-on business development expertise.
This accelerator is now open for entries and is looking to invest in early-stage firms in the security industry including, cybersecurity, internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, AI, health and bioinformatics, defence, critical infrastructure, financial services, and logistics.
How many will be accepted?
Up to seven companies will be accepted. Apply here.
What are the selection criteria?

The business model and the market opportunity
Stage of development – early traction?
A commitment to relocate to Cork and build a global business

Applications are now open until July 2018. All Interviews will take in August 2018. The accelerator will begin in October 2018.
Apply here.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/cork-bic-security-accelerator/ on thinkbusiness

Smart Storage goes for international growth

Prompted by the growing ‘shoe crisis’ in their own home, husband and wife team and qualified engineers, Paul and Clodagh Jacob developed Smart Storage, a range of under stairs storage solutions.


What is Smart Storage?
Smart Storage was established in Ireland in 2011 and specialises in discrete home storage solutions. Designed to fit under the main stairwell or attic space, the goal was to maximise storage by installing slide-out drawers. The units fold into the wall without having drawer handles obstructing the hallway or room. Headquartered in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, we expanded into the UK market shortly after establishing.
Our storage units are made in our manufacturing facility in Carrick-On-Suir, Co Tipperary, ensuring we control the quality of the units from start to finish. We currently install under stairs and loft storage units in both private homes and residential developments throughout the UK and Ireland.
“70% of people say a lack of storage space is a key factor in their decisions to move home.”
Unique selling point
The unique selling point for Smart Storage is that we allow homeowners to maximise space without increasing the footprint of their properties. Interestingly, new home buyers are more interested in storage space than they are with kitchen fittings. 70% of people say a lack of storage space is a key factor in their decisions to move home.
We also work with leading developers across the UK and Ireland to install our under stairs storage units as standard in new residential developments. This helps to differentiate new developments and provides them with a unique selling point.
“We allow people to maximise space without increasing the footprint of their homes.”
Big break
Smart Storage took off when Paul appeared on the 2012 season of Dragon’s Den’ and received an investment from entrepreneur magnate Norah Casey.
Our storage units have since been showcased on popular television shows

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/smart-storage-goes-for-international-growth/ on thinkbusiness

Can Blockchain help the dairy industry?

A valuable application of the Blockchain is its ability to tell the ‘farm to fork’ story in great detail. Here’s how it can help the Irish dairy sector on the global stage. 

Claru is a Cork-based company using Blockchain technology to bring transparency to the food supply chain, specifically within the Irish dairy sector.
Consumers appear more discerning, more willing to pay a premium for healthy, environmentally-friendly and ethically produced food. Transparency is predicted to become the largest differentiator for food brands in the near future.
Claru’s CEO John O’Reilly explains how the Blockchain can benefit the Irish dairy sector.
What’s your value proposition? 
We’re providing transparency to the food supply chain using Blockchain technology. Food and dairy producers can share an end-to-end view of the product’s journey from farm to fork; all in great detail. 
At its simplest what is the Blockchain?
The Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger; it is particularly useful in tracking value as a product moves between independent parties in a supply chain. The data it holds is public and immutable.
“Consumers no longer trust product claims or labelling. ”
Are you fixing a problem? Is the problem urgent?
Yes. Today’s consumer is much more discerning. It’s no longer just about cost or brand; there are factors such as dietary considerations, sustainability, ethical production approach and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Traditionally the producer would address these concerns with new product labelling, but research shows that consumers no longer trust product claims or labelling. People want access to the product’s data – what field it came from, the name of the farmer. 
In parallel, the food production sector is becoming much more regulated and similar to the pharmaceutical sector regarding tracking and traceability. 
“They are guaranteeing future business and avoiding price wars with lower cost brands.”
Why is using the Blockchain better than existing solutions?
The Blockchain can generate a holistic view of

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/blockchain-food-traceability-irish-dairy/ on thinkbusiness

Foróige entrepreneurship programme in Cork

A network for teaching entrepreneurship programme (NFTE) has been launched for the young people of Cork.
The Foróige NFTE programme in Cork is a youth entrepreneurship programme, which aims to improve the business, academic and life skills of young people.
The programme is currently in operation in ten other counties in Ireland.
“They receive a seed grant to start their business, and engage with entrepreneurs and community leaders.”
“This programme has multiple positive impacts on the young people who take part in it. From business acumen to leadership skills, confidence and better communication, it encourages young people to think big, aim high and most of all believe in their ability to achieve great things,” says Declan O’Leary, Foróige area manager, Cork.

“NFTE is special because it provides the young people involved with so many opportunities. They receive a seed grant to start their business; visit wholesalers; engage with entrepreneurs and community leaders; work with corporate business mentors; sell their products at trade fairs; prepare a business plan and present it to judges at competitions,” says Sandara Kelso-Robb, executive director at basis.point, who provide the funds for the programme.
The Foróige NFTE programme is made possible through the support of basis.point – an initiative of the Irish Funds Industry.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/foroige-entrepreneurship-programme-for-cork/ on thinkbusiness

The official launch of Hatch Lab in Wexford

Eight months after opening its doors to some of the South-East’s brightest entrepreneurs, Hatch Lab officially launches. 
The Hatch Lab is a tech incubator space located in Gorey, Co. Wexford where people can set up their own businesses, experimenting at an early stage whether their concept is viable or not. It’s also designed for IT companies that may be growing who can use the space to continue their growth.
Over 150 people have used Hatch Lab since opening last September with 20 full-time residents and 60 people using hot-desks at the moment. The building has also hosted more than 40 events including the popular Founder Friday evenings where successful entrepreneurs come in and chat with the residents about the trials and tribulations they faced.
Partnered with Bank of Ireland, Hatch Lab came about largely thanks to Tom Enright, CEO on Wexford County Council, who was instrumental in its establishment. He conducted research with Maynooth University which showed that over one thousand people were leaving Gorey every day to work in Dublin in the ICT sector.
“From an entrepreneur’s point of view, setting up a business can be a very lonely road.”
“With Tom’s research, the obvious thing to do was to build an ICT hub for those people commuting up to Dublin,” says John O’Connor, manager of Hatch Lab.
“The Redmonds, who own Amber Springs Hotel next door were looking to build a commercial space and the council backed them with the build and the idea of having it as an incubation space made it attractive as it could pull investors into the area,” adds O’Connor.
MC for the day of the official launch was Noel Davidson from the Entrepreneurs Academy. “From an entrepreneur’s point of view, setting up a business can be a very lonely road. An incubation space like the Hatch Lab is

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/hatch-lab-gorey-startups-incubation-space/ on thinkbusiness


What does County Wexford have to offer startups and what supports are available to entrepreneurs in the Model County? 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/think-wexford-business-supports-grants-in-wexford/ on thinkbusiness