After graduation do you want a job or to start a business?

The exams are finished, assignments are handed in, you’ve completed your degree, but what next? Hannah Kelly, from, looks at your career options.
A degree in most disciplines leaves a lot of doors open to you in a variety of different sectors. No matter what area of employment you’re interested in, there is a lot of scope on your horizon, but, deciding what to do once you can be overwhelming. Knowing what your options are and what will suit you best is vital, including the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. 

Starting your own business
Entrepreneurship is a very rewarding, if challenging, road for any graduate. If you have a well thought out idea for a business, and a great business plan, you can draw on skills you have from your business and marketing degree to build a presence online with potential customers. 
Networking is also essential when you’re planning to get your idea off the ground. Think back to any people you have met during your time in university that may be able to help you. 
“Successful home-grown startups are crucial for Ireland’s sustained economic growth, and increasingly they are seen as a viable career path for business and marketing graduates, many of whom have gone on to successfully create and manage their companies,” says Dr Michael Gannon, senior lecturer in marketing at DCU.
●    You’ll learn a lot fast, and you will likely be doing something you like.
●    You can draw on resources and supports and use your network to help you grow the business.
•    Long hours, lots of pressure and inconsistent pay are regular challenges for anyone starting a business. 
•    Financing is the biggest challenge for businesses at the start-up stage in particular. Do you have what it takes?
TAKE THE TEST: Do you have what it takes to

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Sprucing up an old business sector

Conor Wilson and Pat McKenna aim to transform the laundry business. Sproose connects dry cleaning and laundry businesses to new customers and takes a cut of each transaction. It’s laundry on-demand. 
There is an assumption that when starting a new business or coming up with a fresh idea, it must be unique to the market, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Sometimes, taking on a traditional sector and adding a modern twist can be a solution. It’s what Conor Wilson (above) and Pat McKenna did when they came up with the idea for Sproose.
Launched in May 2015, Sproose is an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service. “We were solving the pain of laundry-day, a nightmare experienced by almost every human on Earth,” says Wilson. 
“Sproose is funded by Enterprise Ireland and is currently in the High Potential Startup Program.”
Conor and Pat originally pitched the idea for their laundry app on RTÉ’s Dragons Den. When the show aired, Sproose received enormous attention from both the public and businesses within the dry cleaning and laundry industry.
“We had so many hits on the site that it crashed and we spent the next two days getting it back up and running. Interestingly, in that time we were contacted by some traditional laundry and dry cleaners. These local businesses faced a problem – they were unable to adapt to the changing consumer demands,” says Wilson. “This changed our thinking about what we could offer.”
Sproose connects dry cleaning and laundry businesses to new customers and takes a cut of each transaction. It’s laundry on-demand. 
Sproose is funded by Enterprise Ireland and is currently in the High Potential Startup Program (HPSU). “This makes us eligible for match funding on our planned investment round later this year and [with this funding] we plan to expand our reach across Ireland, the

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Moving to Ireland to start a business – the pros and cons?

What’s it like to move to Ireland, from another country, and set up a business? ThinkBusiness talked to three entrepreneurs who moved here to build their dreams. 
Andy Chen, Chopped (pictured above, right with business partner Brian Lee)
I moved from China to Ireland in July 2000. I’m a co-founder of Chopped, Ireland’s leading healthy fast food retailer.
How did I start this business? My business partner Brian Lee and I were both going to the gym a lot at the time but were frustrated at the lack of convenient and good value nutrition available to us. We talked about this, and the seeds of Chopped were sown.
Ireland is my second home, and I find the business environment to be excellent. I didn’t consider establishing my business anywhere else.
My first venture was selling imported goods from China to Irish market stalls around Dublin, with Brian, about six months after I came to Ireland. 
Soon after, I opened Ireland’s biggest internet café, ‘Five Star Internet Café’, on Talbot Street. I also opened the ‘Xtreme Internet And Gaming Centre’ on Lower Liffey Street. 
Around this time, Brian was running a property management company, and we were both eager to work together again, so we opened a convenience store near Connolly Station. It was at this time that the idea for Chopped came to us. 
We were both into fitness, and we wanted an option to eat healthy on the go. We established the healthy food company, Freshly Chopped, to meet this need and a few months after our first Chopped opened on Baggot St, we opened FIT Studios in Fairview. 
“Non-Irish nationals may struggle to reconcile Irish humour with the professional environment. It’s also not unusual to conduct business meetings outside of the office.”
Did you receive any supports regarding funding or advice when you started your business in Ireland? 

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Eight starters to grow a food business

Here are eight good places to start if you are interested in making it in the food business. 
Food is a huge part of the Irish economy. It accounts for over 12.3% of total exports. The industry has ambitions to be worth €19 billion by 2025. Here’s how to start and grow a food business.
1: Go to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website
This should be your first port of call. It has handy guides on food law, starting a food business at home, and detailed information on how to set up a food stall at a local market.
DOWNLOAD: A brilliant business plan template to get started.
2: Investigate the Food Works programme.
If you have “an innovative food product that satisfies a genuine market need, and an ambition for global success”, you should meet with the Food Works team. See video below.

3: Go back to college
There are many University course specialising in food production. One of the best is UCC’s Diploma in Specialty Food Production. The Diploma is for those who want to produce and sell speciality foods or as a way of adding value to their farm’s produce. See the video below. 

4: Organic food
If organic farming and organic food are more to your tastes, your first port of call should be the Organic Trust. 
5: Bord Bia’s Food Academy
Whether you are starting a food business or are in the early stages and looking to grow, the Food Academy is worth contacting.

6: Franchising
This is an option for people with cash who want to invest in a recognisable food/retail/restaurant brand. There are pros and cons to franchising, so make sure to do your research. The Irish Franchise Association’s site is a good place to start. 
7: The Teagasc Factsheets
Whether you want to launch a goat farm or set up a honey production company, this website is for you.

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StoryStock – the beginning of the story

Francis Fitzgibbon runs StoryStock, a high potential Irish startup with an ambition to create a video archive of stories from around the world. 
Having worked as a policy advisor to the European Commission, Francis Fitzgibbon left this well paid, secure job and returned home to Kerry to build something. 
In July 2016, he became founder and CEO of StoryStock, an Enterprise Ireland (HPSU) startup, with an ambition to become a ‘Getty Images for digital stories’.
What is StoryStock?
StoryStock is building one of the world’s largest communities of journalists and storytellers as well as creating a massive digital archive, featuring ordinary people, with extraordinary stories to tell. We are creating a stock model for the distribution of these stories, mainly video, for both local and international media outlets as well as brands, operating across the world.
“We are aligning with the likes of ITN, and the likes of Newstalk, providing a platform that gives them the ability to get a story in Mallow, Dungarvan or as far away as Michigan. ”
What was the spark that ignited the business? 
Love of storytelling has always been an integral part of my life; from listening to my father’s stories about the Dingle Railway; to hosting the Breakfast Show on Kerry Radio or as a Newstalk reporter on The Pat Kenny Show. I was coming across stories all the time, and I knew that there was a value in recording them. Even as a personal project, it was a fascinating thing to do. 
“When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in some of the biggest media outlets in the world.”
What problems do you solve for storytellers and media organisations?
When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in

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€750,000 for female-led startups in Ireland

€750,000 will be made available in startup funding for female entrepreneurs.
Enterprise Ireland’s competitive start fund (CSF) will open for applications on May 3, 2017. If selected, 15 female applicants will each receive up to €50,000 in equity funding. 
Female fund
Applicants must be female and own startups that have high potential. Successful applicants will have to show that they have the ability to employ more than ten people and achieve €1 million in exports sales within three years.
More female-led businesses
“We have seen a significant leap in female-led early stage companies since the commencement of our initiatives in 2012 – from seven percent of high potential startup companies to 20 per cent in 2016,” says Sarita Johnston, female entrepreneurship manager with Enterprise Ireland.
What you need to know
Before applying, be aware of the criteria for entering. For example, you can’t already have received “equity funding of more than €100,000 before the competition closing date”.
Also, your business can’t have revenues of over €60,000 in the current financial year to date, or any previous fiscal years. You must be a startup. 

Related Resource

Why not take our startup test, see if you’re ready to rock? Open it up.

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Mayo Day to highlight Mayo as a business destination

Mayo Day in on April 29, 2017. A little bit of Mayo Day is coming to Dublin the day before, on April 28. Register now for the free event.
Mayo Day is happening on April 29. It’s an initiative aimed at highlighting all things Mayo and showcasing Mayo as a location for businesses.
A little bit of Mayo Day is coming to Dublin the day before, on April 28, at the Trinity Workbench.  
There will be complimentary refreshments and a panel discussion on why people should live, work and play in Mayo. The new Leeson Enterprise Centre, in Westport, will also be profiled. You can register here for the (pre) Mayo Day event. It’s free to attend, and will start at 6 pm in the Trinity Workbench.
FUN FACTS: 15 things you’ll find out about Mayo. 
Why locate to Mayo? 
With high-quality infrastructure, an international airport, a skilled workforce and an excellent quality of life, there are many reasons why County Mayo makes a great business location, says
Imagine, no traffic delays and the Wild Atlantic Way as your back garden. 
The Leeson Enterprise Centre in Westport is now open as a hub for innovation and business designed to help entrepreneurs and startups succeed. Find out more here.
And don’t forget about the world famous Ballina Salmon Festival, which will take place in July.

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Do you have what it takes to be in business?

Do you have what it takes to be in business? Whether you are starting, running or growing, take this and test your fitness.

Local Enterprise Office
First, contact your Local Enterprise Office and check out all the resources on the website. You can also register your business with the CRO.

TOP DOWNLOAD: A brilliant business plan template.

Business finance
If you need money to start and grow your business be prepared. Have a business plan before you approach a lender. You may also qualify for a grant.
Here’s a great guide to raising finance.

First steps – start your business plan
Before you start, flesh out your idea using the lean startup Business Model Canvas.
For investment you need a solid business plan. Writing a business plan can seem daunting so here’s a brilliant, easy-to-use, free business plan template for the Irish market.
Your marketing plan
Your marketing plan is an important part of your business plan. It shows potential investors that you know how important sales are to the survival of your business. Download it here. 

Your cashflow planner
Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business. This free template will help you through the tough times as well as the good times.
Don’t forget, financiers and investors will want to see cashflow plans. A cashflow plan can be the difference between getting an overdraft, or a term loan, and not getting one.
Read more: Raising money – a definitive guide.

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Five Young Scientists who took on the world

Ireland’s ‘Young Scientist’ competition has had many brilliant winners since its start in 1965. Here we look at five previous winners who have set the world on fire.
Patrick Collison
Limerick native Patrick Collison won the competition in 2005 at the tender age of 16. With success under his belt and ambition in his heart, he moved to the US and, at the age of 19, sold his first software company, Auctomatic (which he founded with his younger brother John) for €3 million. Not bad for someone who [legally] couldn’t buy a beer in the States at the time. Not content with being two of the youngest self-made Irish millionaires ever, the Collison brothers (main image) then founded Stripe, an online payment company valued at over $9 billion. The brothers are on course not only to change the way people pay for things online but to help more SMEs sell online and usher in the era of global mobile eCommerce.
READ MORE: The winners of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2016.

John Monaghan
The first ever Young Scientist winner hasn’t done too badly for himself either. After winning the inaugural trophy way back in 1965, by building a working model of the human stomach, Kildare native John Monaghan ended up moving to California when the biotech industry was still in its infancy. Here, he founded Avigen Inc. As CEO of his firm, he raised nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in financing, and the NASDAQ-listed company is now a global leader in the US pharmaceutical industry.

Adnan Osmani
Mullingar-born and reared, Adnan Osmani claimed the 2003 title with his project, the XWebs browser, which he subsequently patented. Addy, as he is known to his 120,000 Twitter followers and friends, is a YouTube star with his show Totally Tooling Tips. As well as being a key

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170 small business grants and supports

Does your business qualify for grant money? There are over 170 different Government supports for startups and SMEs in Ireland.
Did you know there are over 170 different Irish Government supports for small businesses, including grant money?  
There’s a Government website set up to tell you, the business owner, what supports are available. You can find out what you may be entitled to by answering eight simple questions.
The site is called Supporting SMEs.
READ MORE: If you are starting a business, test your idea and start with our free lean Business Model Canvas.

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