Having started out as a journalist with The Irish Times, Paula Newenham created GirlCrew, a support and advice platform for women all over the world.
I studied law in Ireland and the United States, before completing a master’s degree in journalism. I began my career as a general news reporter with The Irish Times mostly covering the courts but it got depressing after a while as there were never really any positive stories. When I made the move to business reporting, I wanted to write about more positive things, so I focussed on technology, startups, innovation and entrepreneurship. Interviewing entrepreneurs every day made me realise I wanted to start my own business. GirlCrew was the perfect opportunity to do so.
“We are not truly global yet, but we plan to be.”
We’re all about supporting women. Our principle guideline as a company is one of respect, and that feeds into our community and the support we offer each other. This can be something small like people just chatting through problems online. Or something bigger like helping each other find suitable housing, find a job that’s good for them, or helping them to settle into a new city. We’d like to build on this principle and become a community for women all over the world. We want no woman to ever feel alone. No matter where they are, they can join us and chat to other women for support. Even if we haven’t launched in their city, they can do this.
“Interviewing entrepreneurs every day made me realise I wanted to get back to that.”
Unlike other social networking sites, GirlCrew immediately connects women with others in their city for nights out, hikes, brunches, holidays and more. It also has in-built careers, entrepreneurship, and personal interest groups, where women can share knowledge and advice on everything from getting
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The ShowerGem might just be the perfect present this Christmas. We caught up with the company founder Sean McGarry to discuss the product.
I believe you had trouble naming the company?
Choosing the name ShowerGem was a pretty laboursome task. Originally, the product was to be called The ShowerBoss Shower Caddy but when we applied for a trademark we ran into difficulty from Hugo Boss, who in their cease and desist letters stated that they “are a company with a turnover of four billion dollars annuall”, not exactly someone a startup wants to be messing with. After seven months arguing with their German legal team, an agreement was reached where we could use ShowerBoss, but it left some red tape over the company which was less than ideal if we were to begin selling internationally in the future. So we parked ShowerBoss and began looking for something different. I met with Graham Clarke from Bank of Ireland and after a few cups of coffee I found myself staring at a bag of ‘GEM’ sugar. I looked up the domain www.ShowerGem.com, it was available so hey presto, The ShowerGem Shower Caddy was born.
Why was the company started?
ShowerGem was created pretty much by accident back in 2015. I have two teenage sisters which meant razors were left on the shower floor, soaps thrown everywhere and bottles were balanced on top of the Mira shower unit. I tried using the metal caddies but the suction always failed leading to everything crashing to the ground. My dad thought there must be a better way so he went out to his workshop and created the ShowerGem. He made it just for our own shower but when I saw it I thought it was genius so I began turning it into a proper business.
What need is your
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-product-solving-the-shower-crisis/ on
Trinity sent six startups to New York on a week-long international accelerator programme, called Tangent Pioneers. They went, they saw, they pitched – did they conquer?
Aisling Byrne, The Nu. Wardrobe
The Tangent Pioneers programme taught me a lot about myself as an individual.
I learned that there is just no use in paying attention to people who think it is acceptable to disregard my business because I speak about its environmental impact alongside its profitability. I find the thinking on the matter similar between both Ireland and the US – there is an understanding by many business people (often older white men) that it’s not a businesses’ responsibility to consider their impact until they are held accountable by some sort of third party. This damaging thinking is not reflected across Europe, where sustainability is far more progressive. I also learned that I have a responsibility to talk about gender inequality in entrepreneurship when I can. It’s not going away.
On a more personal note, I learned that I’m capable of meeting, pitching, or talking in front of any given audience. It doesn’t phase me anymore. I’ve grown up so much since I did the LaunchBox programme. Bringing my company, Nu. to the States was huge, and I was shocked at how far Nu. has come since then.
“There seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland.”
Jack Dooley, Greener Globe
Based on my experiences working in NY as a Tangent Pioneer, I think the main difference between the US vs Ireland, aside from scale obviously, is that there seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland compared with the States.
There is an attitude in the U.S. where you are either a student or an entrepreneur. In Ireland, we seem to support students’ entrepreneurial dreams more. As an individual, this programme showed me
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Six Irish startups went to New York to network and pitch for a week. This is what happened.
Six Irish startups that met at Trinity, went through LaunchBox, Tangent’s Student Accelerator, and received help and support from Bank of Ireland, travelled to New York in October for the inaugural Tangent Pioneers programme.
The Tangent Pioneers worked for one intensive week in the heart of the New York startup scene, basing themselves in the Bank of Ireland Innovation Lab in Midtown. During the week, in addition to setting up customer and investment meetings, they pitched to the Digital Irish; learned from Enterprise Ireland about taking their startups global; had office hours with Techstars and Blackstone VC; and got a sense of what it is to work, network, and lead a startup in the US.
From a mix of industries and backgrounds, the Tangent Pioneers represented Trinity, and Ireland on a global stage for the first time. Here they describe their experiences of the week’s work.
Sebastian Kuehn, co-founder & CTO, Work Smarter
For us, a successful trip would mean a positive reception of our concept here in New York and I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to achieve that so far. While we’re not ready to scale out to the US market but it’s valuable feedback to know that there is potential for us here. Meeting businesspeople in New York has definitely underscored what we already know – Ireland is a small market, but it’s an excellent testing ground and a great place to start. For the pitch events we’re participating in, we adjusted our numbers to reflect the US market. It’s a great feeling to have such massive numbers up on the screen.
“I can highly recommend grabbing a coffee and watching the city slowly wake up.”
New York surprised me in a very positive way. The city
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The Delivery Guys was founded by Eric and Mike Gargiulo after the Irish economic downturn, and allows customers to order from their favourite restaurants online.
What is The Delivery Guys?
The Delivery Guys (TDG) is a full-service online restaurant ordering platform and delivery service with a unique approach that will be irresistible to restaurant owners everywhere. We currently handle in excess of 30,000 orders per annum and growing that number month on month.
When was the business started?
The business was founded originally in 2013. However, the original concept was flawed in its business plan for expansion and was abandoned in July of 2017. It was replaced later that year when QSRS Ltd was formed. Since launching, we have re-invented how we conduct our business including our pricing structure, driver relationship and roll out strategy. We have made changes to our software that will allow us to expand and scale quickly, and have plans for further development that will not only make our application more user friendly but will also increase productivity and driver delivery ratio. We have investigated, beta tested and secured estimates on creating a ‘White Label’ version of our software platform that could be sold to large international chains such as Domino’s to better manage their delivery fleet.
How does the business work?
Simplicity and ease of use is at the core of the entire technology solution. Many may suggest it’s like Uber crossed with JustEat and Deliveroo, with a few unique differences. It works in three steps.
“Many may suggest it’s like Uber crossed with JustEat and Deliveroo, with a few unique differences”
Orders are placed online at www.thedeliveryguys.ie or using The Delivery Guys App on Google Play Store or Apple store by the public to a restaurant of their choice for collection, delivery by TDG, or delivery by the restaurant staff itself.
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/order-from-your-favourite-restaurants-online/ on
Six Irish startups that met at Trinity, went through LaunchBox, Tangent’s Student Accelerator, and received help and support from Bank of Ireland to get their start, are going to New York for the inaugural Tangent Pioneers programme.
The Tangent Pioneers will work for one intensive week in the heart of the New York startup scene, basing themselves in the Bank of Ireland Innovation Lab in Midtown. During this week, in addition to setting up customer and investment meetings, they will pitch to the Digital Irish network; talk to Enterprise Ireland about taking their businesses global; meet with Techstars and Blackstone VC; and get a sense of what it is to work, network, and lead a startup in the US.
The Tangent Pioneers will be representing Trinity, and Ireland on a global stage for the first time. We spoke to them about their hopes and aspirations before their trip to the Big Apple.
Sebastian Kuehn, co-founder & CTO, Work Smarter
Work Smarter started on a very personal note for me, as my father was self-employed in the construction industry for over 30 years. He was great at his job, but when customers paid him late or not at all, it brought him to the brink of bankruptcy a few times. When Anika, my co-founder and I got out there and started talking to freelancers‘ customers, we realised how tough it can be on them as well. Now we’re building a tool that helps both sides manage contracts and payments fairly and securely.
I’m originally from Germany, so English doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve been living in Ireland for a little over a year, and I’m just getting used to the Irish English. The New York accent will be a new challenge.
As a German programmer, I’m a very direct person. If I can say something in three words, I don’t use four.
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-tangent-pioneers-new-york-bank-of-ireland-innovation/ on
Trinity startup Evocco won a UN award for Young Champions of the Earth. Here, co-founder Hugh Weldon discusses climate change and guilt-free shopping.
Why did you start Evocco?
Climate change isn’t great, is it? That’s exactly what we were thinking as our master thesis deadline loomed large before us. It was the Spring of 2017, and we were fighting around the dinner table in our apartment about how to best solve what we saw as the greatest challenge of our time. One thing that we could absolutely agree on was that if we could find a way to better connect people to the environment and help them understand their impact, positive change could ripple right through society. That moment was the beginning of Evocco. Knowing first-hand how difficult it can be to find the most sustainable and nutritious products in the supermarket (particularly on a student budget!), we set out to build a tool that cuts through the noise and the greenwashing and shows us the environmental impact of what we buy.
What’s your ethos?
We were frustrated at the lack of information and transparency on the environmental impact of food and especially for the growing conscious consumer group there was a lack of support to help them align their values with what they were buying. This is predominantly due to the lack of easily accessible, understandable, and relatable information on the issue resulting in widespread public confusion and frustration. There is appetite for a solution to empower consumers to take individual action and make more informed food purchases.
“If we could find a way to better connect people to the environment and help them understand their impact, positive change could ripple right through society.”
What’s your USP?
Our USP is that we don’t only provide the consumer with information but we focus on behavioural
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What do you need to know before you walk away from the 9-to-5 to start your own business? We asked two entrepreneurs who did precisely that.
2017 was a record year for the number of new businesses registered in Ireland. Tools like Kickstarter, Shopify, and WordPress mean it’s never been easier or less expensive to start a new company.
But is it really as simple as it sounds? Unfortunately, while 61 new businesses were formed in Ireland on average every day last year, three existing enterprises became insolvent. The failure rate of startups around the world is generally held to be at about 90%.
“Most people take the easy option and make excuses.”
Don’t quit the day job
As tempting as it might be, handing in your notice and starting your vegan smoothie brand overnight is probably the wrong move. In fact, many entrepreneurs will tell you that holding onto a steady income in the early stages of business makes it more likely that you will succeed.
Shane McCarthy studied finance at Queens University before embarking on a career as a trader that took him everywhere from Sydney, to New York and London. Today he is the founder and CEO of Ireland Craft Beers – an award-winning logistics and sales platform for Irish micro-breweries, cideries and distilleries.
Shane started the company as a side hustle while still working as a trader in London. “Even if you are working at an intense city job requiring ten hours sacrifice a day, you sleep for about seven hours, which gives you six hours to work and grind on something that you are truly passionate about,” he says. “Most people take the easy option and make excuses, though those who want it badly enough will put the time in.”
“When I first quit it was not to start a business.”
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/should-you-quit-your-job-and-start-a-business/ on
Trinity’s new ideas space Tangent, represents a sea change in University education in Ireland. Stephen Conmy asks Dr Diarmuid O’Brien what it means for students, Irish society and the startup ecosystem at large.
“We live in a world where two-thirds of all new jobs are now created by companies less than five years old,” says Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, chief innovation and enterprise officer at Trinity College Dublin.
O’Brien and his team recently opened ‘Tangent’ – an ‘ideas workspace’ in the University which brings together all the entrepreneurial programmes that Trinity is renowned for.
Tangent will allow students access to a “cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship education”.
On offer will be startup acceleration programmes, innovation and entrepreneurship community events and supports for the fledgeling to mature entrepreneurs.
“It is vital that we give our students and graduates the skills and knowledge to succeed in this ever-changing world,” says O’Brien.
“We don’t want to teach students how to get a job, we want to teach them how to create a job, not just for themselves but for others too.”
“The skills they want are skills to survive and thrive in a world of constant flux.”
Real survival skills
O’Brien says that today’s students are very different from the students of the recent past. They were born into the mobile, digital age. They see innovation as something to be involved in. Their ‘rock stars’ are entrepreneurs.
“You could say it’s the Steve Jobs effect or the Elon Musk effect,” says O’Brien. “But the students we see today are very focused on work as it applies to something. They want to build things, create things, disrupt things. Most of them are fully aware that the ‘job for life’ is gone and they need to be able to create things and pivot when something happens. The skills they want are skills to survive and thrive in
This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/trinity-tangent-tcd-stephen-conmy-dr-diarmiud-obrien-interview/ on
Sarah Dieck McGuire and Sarah Lumsden Watchorn are the founders of The Reading Academy, a specialised tuition service for children with dyslexia.
The Reading Academy offers specialised tuition to readers and children with dyslexia and employs the renowned Orton Gillingham approach. A new online course for teachers, parents, and anyone interested in learning how to teach a struggling reader or individual with dyslexia will be available soon. Here, the co-founders, talk about building a business with real purpose and how to grow a business while still in full-time work.
Our backgrounds in teaching
We have over 35 years of combined teaching experience in Chicago; Dublin; Mayo; London; NYC; Paris; and South Carolina. We both have Masters degrees in special education.
Our backgrounds of teaching children with dyslexia (for over 30 years combined) helped us enormously when we set up The Reading Academy.
“We know that the majority of our students feel frustrated in school, and many have low self-esteem as a result.”
How did the business come about?
We both realised the ever-demanding need for a clear, easy-to-follow, concise, and tailored programme to meet the individual needs of people with dyslexia and struggling readers.
Did you receive any funding or grants when you first started?
We have not received any funding or grants. We applied to the ‘New Frontiers’ programme and were shortlisted.
“We will offer virtual learning to both students and teachers in the future.”
What is the biggest issue you come across with children reading and writing in your classes?
We find that most of our students’ individual needs are not being met in the traditional methods of education. From talking to their parents, we know that the majority of our students feel frustrated in school, and many have low self-esteem as a result. Class size is a serious problem in Ireland as a child with dyslexia will not be
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