14 of the best startups in Ireland

Here are fourteen of the most promising new businesses to emerge from Ireland over the past few years.
The winners at the 2018 National Startup Awards, powered by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, represent some of the best new businesses in Ireland across thirteen categories including tech, retail, product and tourism.
Early stage startup Nova Leah won the Grand Prix Startup of the Year award and a €10,000 cash prize. 
Croí Valve, which won in the early stage startup category, received €5,000 to support the development of its business.
The 14 gold award winners are:

Croí Valve, the early stage startup winner, is developing a safe, effective and easy to deliver device to significantly reduce tricuspid regurgitation in high-risk patients
Nova Leah, the emerge-tech startup and Grand Prix winner is the first expert cybersecurity system for medical devices.
ID Pal, the fintech startup winner, provides a simple identity verification solution that allows businesses to onboard customers quickly and easily. 
Hexafly, the agritech startup winner is developing new material sources for the aqua feed, chitin and plant nutrition industries
Coindrum, the travel and tourism startup winner, provides airport self-service units that turn leftover coins into duty-free vouchers worth 110% of deposits. 
Strong Roots, the food and drink startup winner, is a food company ‘hell-bent on revolutionising frozen vegetables through innovation’.
myAccessHub, the social and sustainable startup winner, helps businesses become more accessible.
Nasal Medical, the product and manufacturing startup winner; designs nasal filters.
SalesOptimize, the eCommerce startup winner; provides eCommerce data science that can reveal an entire market. 
Ronocco Style, the retail and fashion startup winner, is a fashion business run by Pippa O’Connor and Brian Ormond.
iKydz, the tech startup winner, provides a variety of tools to help parents keep their children safe on the Internet.
Hooke Bio, the medtech startup winner, is a new company operating in the early stages of drug discovery. 
AudiosourceRE, is the

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/best-startups-ireland-national-startup-awards-bank-of-ireland/ on thinkbusiness

ThinkDonegal

What does Donegal have to offer for businesses and startups and what business supports are available to entrepreneurs in this wonderful North West county? 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

‘My wedding gift idea became a business’

Painted Clans founder Brendan McCarey makes family Coat of Arms and hand painted Heraldic products in a contemporary style. His business began when he designed a wedding present for a friend. 

The start
I started my design company five years ago. At the time a good friend of mine was getting married. I wanted to create a wedding gift like a modern family coat of arms. He was moving to Australia, and I wanted to give him something that would remind him of home. I started searching but I couldn’t find it, so I began to design it myself.
I started by setting up a Facebook page with the top ten modern Irish family coats of arms, and suddenly orders started coming in. I saw that there was potential to make quite a bit of money.
What is a coat of arms?
It is a heraldic depiction of your family history. It started in medieval times. They came to Ireland with the English. Most people in Ireland have a family coat of arms. I focus on the symbol within the coat of arms and strip away all the extravagance. I redesign it and create a series of stencils and finally paint the symbols in different layers. 
How did you fund the business?
I did a Kickstarter campaign at the very beginning which was more of a marketing programme. The beauty of the business is that my initial outlay was just the frames. I came from a design background, so I had a lot of equipment and office space and was ready to go.

What are your growth plans?
The business has been running three years. I am still trying to focus on America for growth. There are millions of Irish people in America. If we could get one percent of America, it would be amazing.
How many people work in

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/irish-coat-of-arms-painted-clans-founder-brendan-mccarey/ on thinkbusiness

Finalists named for One2Watch competition

FutureScope has announced its four finalists for this years One2Watch competition. 
FutureScope, Ireland’s only tech event dedicated to promoting collaboration and new business opportunities between start-ups, multinationals, innovative businesses and the research community, has announced the four finalists for One2Watch 2018.
The One2Watch competition seeks to find Ireland’s most scalable business idea and award the winning company with €2,000 and a platform to support its growth.
The finalists
CroíValve, an early stage medical device company, that has developed a device to treat a common heart valve disorder – tricuspid regurgitation (TR), without the need for surgery. With surgery performed in only 0.5% of cases, there is no current suitable treatment option for patients with TR, which significantly impacts survival and quality of life. CroíValve’s innovative device offers a simple, safe and effective solution to a common and serious health disorder.
Electrical Analytics has developed a novel power quality monitoring system, backed by a cloud-based data analysis platform that enables power grid operators to have complete visibility over their entire distribution network. The system can help network operators to plan upgrades, protect equipment from poor power quality, and develop usage analytics. Electrical Analytics Technology Ltd. is a spinout from the Applied Physics Research Group based in Trinity College Dublin.
BeSpoke Choice is an innovative sales platform that helps venues to increase their annual number of wedding bookings and the average revenue per wedding. Designed and built by wedding planning professionals, the application enables couples to build a unique package via an interactive journey of the services the venue has to offer. Once booked the software uses AI to maximise upsell revenue for the venue while also ensuring couples have the best wedding they can afford.
BuyMedia provides SMEs with a unique platform that enables them to better plan, purchase, manage and monitor their advertising across all

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/finalists-named-for-one2watch-competition/ on thinkbusiness

Turning the great outdoors into a virtual classroom

Vicky O’Donnell is the founder of Wilder Wander, an astonishing mobile game that gets children out into Nature to explore the wonders of the world.
I grew up on a farm in the Wicklow Mountains, loved the great outdoors and from an early age I always wanted to work with animals, so when I left school I studied zoology and animal behaviour in TCD. I am sure I asked David Attenborough for a job at one stage and I managed to get some work with the wildlife filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar, finding pine martens for him to film in the West of Ireland.
But jobs in nature are scarce on the ground so I went back to college to study geo-informatics and spent the next thirteen years working in maritime research in UCC. I worked with data at all stages and, although the job was technical, the work was very applied so it was easy to see the value of data in decision making and the importance of data as currency.
While working at UCC in 2000, I saw an article in The Irish Times advertising jobs with Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps which sends experts to work in the initial stages of an emergency. All of the data/information skills that I was using in maritime research were directly relevant to working on the ground during an emergency so I decided to pack my bags and I worked with UNOCHA, UNICEF and UNHCR in the Middle East, Africa and Asia until 2015. Since then I have worked with the UN developing emergency toolkits and training courses for those deploying to humanitarian disasters.
“Our first game uses thousands of biological datasets which were collected over the last decade.”
The idea
In the summer of 2017, we started a family tourism business and were in the planning stages

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/wilder-wander-vicky-odonnell-edtech-startup/ on thinkbusiness

“Turning the great outdoors into a virtual classroom “

Vicky O’Donnell is the founder of Wilder Wander, winner of Tech-Stars startup weekend. Here she discusses how she turned her idea into a growing business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up on a farm in the Wicklow Mountains, loved the great outdoors and from an early age I always wanted to work with animals, so when I left school I studied zoology and animal behaviour in TCD. I am sure I asked David Attenborough for a job at one stage and I managed to get some work with the wildlife filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar, finding pine martens for him to film in the West of Ireland.
But jobs in nature are scarce on the ground so I went back to college to study geo-informatics and spent the next 13 years working in maritime research in UCC. I worked with data at all stages and, although the job was technical, the work was very applied so it was easy to see the value of data in decision making and the importance of data as currency.
While working at UCC in 2000, I saw an article in the Irish Times advertising jobs with Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps which sends experts to work in the initial stages of an emergency. All of the data/information skills that I was using in maritime research were directly relevant to working on the ground during an emergency so I decided to pack my bags and I worked with UNOCHA, UNICEF and UNHCR in the Middle East, Africa and Asia until 2015. Since then I have worked with the UN developing emergency toolkits and training courses for those deploying to humanitarian disasters.
How did you come up with the idea for Wilder Wander?
In the summer of 2017 we started a family tourism business and were

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/turning-the-great-outdoors-into-a-virtual-classroom/ on thinkbusiness

How to prepare for GDPR

Having worked in quality assurance for 18 years, Fionnuala Hendrick set up Secure Helping Hand (SHH) to help businesses prepare for GDPR. 

 
Secure Helping Hand was born because I wanted to create a simple, easy to use, low-cost application that will allow professionals and SMEs become compliant with and maintain compliance with GDPR.
What is GDPR in a nutshell?
GDPR is designed to protect an individual’s privacy in an expanding online world and will replace the Data Protection Directive which was written in 1998. Businesses will have to demonstrate the processes and systems they have in place to protect personal data which in turn will help to protect people against fraud. GDPR creates a legal framework for businesses to share their personal data, offering them a new level of protection and transparency that did not exist previously.
“GDPR requires a shift in how businesses deal with personal information.”
What impact will it have on businesses?
Firstly businesses will need to determine if they are a data controller, data processor or both, and whether or not they need to register with the Data Protection Commissioner. They will need to document what personal information they hold, where it came from and why they are holding it, who they share it with and how they secure it. Businesses need to be able to respond to personal information requests within 30 days and need to include all personal data that they hold.
There are strict requirements for the processing of sensitive personal data where businesses have to identify not only their legal basis for processing but also the legitimate interests in relation to the processing of each piece of sensitive data.
“76% of people will request their personal data from former employers”
What will happen when GDPR arrives?
It is hard to think of a business today that does not use personal data.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-prepare-for-gdpr/ on thinkbusiness

A €1 million start fund for female entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland’s €1 million competitive start fund (CSF) for female entrepreneurs is open on Tuesday, May 1.
Calling all female founders. A maximum of 20 successful female applicants will get up to €50,000 in equity funding.
You can apply here.
Last year, 46 percent of all companies who received CSF investment from Enterprise Ireland were female-led.
Getting female firms investor ready
As well as funding, 15 of the successful applicants will be offered a place on the INNOVATE accelerator programme, delivered by Dublin BIC. Taking place over a 12-week period in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, INNOVATE gets the participants investor-ready within a short period.
“We need to keep this momentum and grow these numbers so that we see more women confidently starting new businesses and successfully scaling existing ones.”
Growing these numbers
“We made a commitment in 2012 to female entrepreneurs in this country to increase supports dedicated to them, and we did this in response to the low number of female-led startups receiving investments and supports. Six years later the breakdown is encouraging,” says Rachael James, female entrepreneurship manager, Enterprise Ireland.
“More than one in three start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland last year through the High Potential Startup programme and CSFs were led by women, compared to just one in ten start-ups in 2012. However, we need to keep this momentum and grow these numbers so that we see more women confidently starting new businesses and successfully scaling existing ones.”
For more details and how to apply, go here.
 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-e1-million-start-fund-for-female-entrepreneurs/ on thinkbusiness

Innovation Nation needs more female founders

Niamh Bushnell the CEO of TechIreland says it is her mission to “tell the tale of innovation in Ireland”. Another mission is to make sure female founders have better access to funding.

TechIreland, for those who may not know, is a platform that tracks innovation across all 26 counties in Ireland.
“We track what companies are innovating in each county, what their strengths are, what progress they are making, who their customers are, what their business model is, and what supports and funding they received (if any). Users of TechIreland can also request an introduction with the companies they are interested in,” explains Bushnell.
The information available on TechIreland has many useful applications.
“It’s useful for anyone interested in innovation in Ireland, whether that be business founders, investors, startups, job seekers and FDI firms,” says Bushnell.
“We want this book to land in front of global decision makers and influencers.”
TechIreland uses public sources to build the business profiles on the site and also produces reports.
“We produced our first annual report on Irish innovation in January 2018 and it’s been downloaded over 1,200 times since,” says Bushnell.
From this report came a coffee-table book, Innovation Nation. It was dispatched by the Department of Foreign Affairs to Irish consulates and embassies all over the world for St. Patrick’s Day, 2018.
“We want this book to land in front of global decision makers and influencers,” says Bushnell. “It features over 100 companies we’ve been tracking during the year and shows people that these are Irish companies, building and expanding out of Ireland.”
“Many cultural changes need to happen in Ireland before there is equality in the startup scene.”
More places at the funding table 
Bushnell and her team also recently launched a year-long campaign called the €100m Campaign.
“There was just €79.4m secured by female-led startups in 2017 in comparison to the €580m we’d

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/niamh-bushnell-tech-ireland-innovation-nation/ on thinkbusiness

Galway was the “right place” for Michelin star restaurant

J.P. McMahon owns three restaurants in Galway including Aniar which is one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants in Ireland. He spoke to ThinkBusiness at the recent Galway Food Festival.
How did your career take off?
I started cooking when I was 15 years old and I studied home economics in school. I think I chose home economics because I had asthma so it was either that or wood work. I got my first job immediately after my Junior Certificate working in a kitchen which I really enjoyed. I studied English and art history in college as a mature student and never actually studied culinary arts. I did a PhD in art history and taught the subject for ten years  in Cork. My wife and I had always dreamed of opening our own restaurant and we got our first chance with Cava more than ten years ago.
How did you fund and start your business?
We didn’t really know what we were doing when we opened the restaurant or how to run a business. We couldn’t get a bank loan so we had to beg, borrow and steal to gather €80,000. As my wife always says, maybe I am a stubborn self-believer, but we are a bit more cautious now. Even with ‘Food on the Edge’, we started that with no funding and I just invited the chefs to come along. I offered them flights and accommodation to attend the event. 
How did Food on the Edge develop?
It came from travelling. I attended a few chef auditoriums and week-long retreats. I thought to myself that we could do this in Ireland because we have really good produce, once we picked the right time to do it. I had one or two connections and I just started building on them. Sometimes if you wait for the perfect moment to

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/jp-mcmahon-michelin-star-restaurant-galway-food-festival/ on thinkbusiness