Start a part-time business, before going full-time

When you are starting, you have to start somewhere. Most people start small and build big, writes Martin Brennan. 
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu
What a relevant quotation to kick off a guide to starting a business. It has never been as easy to make a living from what you are passionate about, but the thought of starting can seem a thousand miles away. 
Not everyone can make a living from what they enjoy. However, many others can. It is advisable to use a stepped approach when starting a new business. Once your bills and other financial commitments are covered each month (by your day job), you may feel the need to explore your passion.   
Here are some ways you can explore your dream before you commit to jumping in full-time.  
Start small
It’s the obvious first step. Starting out you don’t have to have a 100% complete service or product, all you have to do is make a start. 
There are some ways to test your products, goods or service. Friends, family and work colleges are usually a business’s first customers. If you are in the food or crafts sectors, popular options include local markets. These are an excellent way to test your goods. See this site for your nearest market. 
DOWNLOAD: A free business model canvas – the first step to business planning.
Concentrate on one thing at a time
A big mistake many startups make is that the more they talk and the more they dream, the more ideas they have. Anyone can have ideas. It’s starting one, just one, that matters. 
Start selling what you make or offer on a part-time basis. It is important to concentrate on just one thing at a time and not to get ahead of yourself. Doing too much too quickly can have

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Startup Nations Summit is coming to Cork

The international Startup Nations Summit is coming to Europe for the first time. It will be held in Cork on November 19 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016.
Many events are planned for the week (Nov 17-20), including the Global Startup Gathering, will take place across Cork city and county from Spike Island to City Hall. 
“To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we expect to welcome hundreds of business owners, startups, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and business support organisations to Cork city and county,” says Siobhan Finn, Cork innovates. 
“Many of the world’s leading minds on startup policy and entrepreneurship will be meeting in Cork for the Startup Nations Summit,” says Seamus Coghlan, head of economic development, Cork City Council. “We want to demonstrate how we are here to engage and support businesses in Cork.”
CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge
Over 200 national and international investor-ready startups applied to participate in the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge, one of the main events of the week. The competition final will take place on Spike Island, Cork on Friday, November 18, with three finalists pitching at the Startup Nation Summit gala dinner on Saturday, November 19.
If you would like to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week, go to GEW for full details. 
Pictured are: Seamus Coghlan, Cork City Council; Sharon Corcoran, Cork County Council; Siobhan Finn, Cork Innovates; and David Merriman, Bank of Ireland. 

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How to win friends and influence people

Your personal brand is hugely important. Here are the best ways to win friends and influence people at networking events.
Typically, the end of the year is a busy time in the SME calendar with lots of networking events, and award shows to attend.
So, as a business owner involved in showcasing your company at an event – or as an interested networker, attending an event for business reasons – what’s the best approach to take?
The man who wrote the book (literally) on how to network at events was called Dale Carnegie. In 1936, he published ‘How to Win Friends and Influence people’. It remains the most important manual of its kind today. Below is a digest of the book with tips on how to meet new people and win them over.
Six ways to win friends and influence people
1: Smile
This is such a simple, basic rule, yet people just don’t think about it. First impressions are vital. If you are walking around an event with a serious scowl, trying to network as hard as you can, you are putting people off. A broad smile and a warm hello will open more ‘doors’ than anything else at networking events.
2: Ask a question
Joining a group already in conversation can be tricky. Try and get the gist of the conversation and when you feel there is a lag in the discussion, ask a question relating to it. A question, in this situation, is much better than an opinion.

3: Listen
People love to talk about themselves. If you can get people to talk and if you can listen with a sincere expression, you are winning their trust and making a new friend.
4: Business cards
Always have them on you. Give them to the people you talk to. They still matter, even in this digital age.
5: Say the person’s name

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The best colleges in Ireland for student entrepreneurs

So, you want to go to college, but you also want to be an entrepreneur. Why not do both?
Below is a list of the top Universities and colleges in Ireland that offer students programmes, grants and supports to start and grow their business ideas, while still finishing their studies. 

University College Cork – IGNITE 
IGNITE at UCC supports recent graduates that have viable business ideas. The programme aims to turn original ideas into new products and services, accelerate business startups, and create jobs by nurturing entrepreneurship.
IGNITE has a comprehensive start your own business programme with many useful supports. It’s one of the best in Ireland.
Trinity College Dublin – Blackstone LaunchPad
The Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurship programme for students at Trinity College Dublin aims to “foster student entrepreneurs, connecting them with business and provide them with the skills to succeed as entrepreneurs”. 
Based at the renowned Berkeley Library, the Blackstone LaunchPad facility is accessible to all Trinity students across all disciplines. 
“We will inspire students to grow their ideas into viable businesses through mentoring, support, ideation and venture creation,” says the executive director, John Whelan.

NUI Galway – Blackstone LaunchPad
NUI Galway also houses a Blackstone LaunchPad, a multidisciplinary programme that supports a “culture of entrepreneurship”. 
For student entrepreneurs, there is individual coaching, seminars and practical training in building a business. “If students have an idea or want to pitch something, or want to build out some skills or they are just curious, they can just come in and talk to us, and we’ll help them to figure out what’s next in their journey,” says Mary Carty, executive director. 

Dublin City University 
The DCU UStart student programme, as part of the Ryan Academy, helps students accelerate their business, from idea to product or service.
The free programme runs part-time during the summer months June to September, allowing students to focus on

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Starting a business

You expressed an interest in the ‘Starting’ stage of the journey, so you may find the following links beneficial to you.
Starting out can be overwhelming, it always helps to focus the mind on what exactly you need to succeed.
The next obstacle to overcome is funding. This article provides a breakdown of available funding opportunities.
However, no business is going to get the funding it needs without a well written business plan. This guide will help you create a perfect business plan.
Now that you know what’s required, why don’t you give it a try for yourself and download the ThinkBusiness business plan template. 
We hope this content was useful for you– be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more.

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WoofAdvisor – pet travel for pet lovers is a new platform with a simple proposal – it makes traveling with, or without, a pet as comfortable as possible.
Traveling with your pet is not easy at times. Finding accommodation for your pet, when they can’t travel with you, is also difficult. is a new platform with a simple proposal – it makes traveling with, or without, a pet as comfortable as possible.
Pets are big business. In Ireland, for example, 49% of households have a dog (or dogs). In the UK this figure is 24%, and in the USA it is 44%.
The Americans already have an established pet travel market. 65% of all hotels in the USA today allow dogs.
This, however, is not the case in Ireland and the UK.

Pet-friendly businesses
Gerry Molloy, the founder of WoofAdvisor, says the platform was built to help pet owners but also to build a social community of pet owners and pet-friendly businesses.
“It’s a business platform with a community backbone. We bring like-minded pet lovers together, and we connect them with hotels and other pet-friendly businesses in the travel sector,” says Molloy.
WoofAdvisor puts pet-friendly accommodation providers, and other players in the pet industry – pet sitters, pet service providers, pet insurers, pet food manufacturers and pet brands – together, to connect and engage directly with pet owners.
“We will also help those who cannot bring their pets on holiday by connecting our customers with pet sitters. We have a partnership arrangement with,” says Molloy.

Millennials are the fastest growing target market
And in case people think the pet-travel industry is the preserve of the elderly or the ‘empty nester’ generation, the reverse is true.
“Millennials make up 20% of the world’s population and will represent 50% of total global travel spend by 2020,” says Molloy. “By 2017, Millennials will outspend baby boomers on hotels. What’s most

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UPRISE has enjoyable Irish debut at the RDS

The startup ‘festival’ UPRISE made its first appearance in Dublin and with some success.
The winner of the first UPRISE to take part in Ireland was ‘adult sweet maker’ Smith & Sinclair, thanks to the pitch battle skills and vibrant personality of founder Melanie Goldsmith.
Unlike other pitch competitions – that nearly all seem to employ the predictable and dull ‘Dragon’s Den’ format – UPRISE relies on the (rather ruthless) audience to vote for the winners and losers. 
Six international teams: KinoSol, Fibregel Apparel, Timeular, Smith & Sinclair, My GiveBox; and six teams from Ireland: AddGoals, Parkpnp, Dashcabs, Wellnice Pops, StayPal, Cyc-lok and CyberSmarties, took part in the various two-minute pitch battles that [eventually] left one battle hardened startup standing victorious. 

Melanie Goldsmith (pictured centre stage) emerged as the deserved winner. Not because her company idea or product were the best in the room, but because she was the best at pitching her idea and her positive, can-do, never fail attitude won over the jubilant Dublin audience. 
As for the UPRISE event, there were also some very interesting startups exhibiting and ‘break out’ educational workshops thanks to the likes of a key sponsor, Google.
Dublin City Council and Bank of Ireland were the other two key supporters of the event. UPRISE will return to Dublin in November 2017. Founder, Limerick native Paul O’Connell, should take a bow. UPRISE is a welcome addition to the startup event and competition space in Ireland. Its enjoyable ‘personality’ shines through. 

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UPRISE is coming to Dublin

Startup festival UPRISE is coming to Dublin. The event involves Irish firms in ‘pitch battle’ with international startups. Who will win?
Dublin will play host to Europe’s biggest tech festival when UPRISE comes to the RDS.
Taking place from 9 am – 6.30 pm on Thursday, October 20, the festival will cater for over 2,000 attendees and boasts a variety of attractions. 
People first
What distinguishes UPRISE from similar tech gatherings is how it puts people at the centre of the event. Networking and conversation between startups come first while the technology comes second, with buskers, DJs, games and other entertainment, as well as practical workshops and interactive panels. 
150 startups will attend the event, while panellists will include people from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and more. 

Pitch Battle
A centrepiece of the day will be the Pitch Battle, which will pit six Irish startups against six international startups, with the live audience choosing the winner. 
The Dublin City Local Enterprise Office has put up a prize of €5,000 for the company that most impresses people on the day.  
“We are supporting the UPRISE Festival 2016. The move will no doubt showcase the success of Dublin as a hotbed of activity and support for emerging businesses. The doors of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Dublin City are always open to those thinking of starting their own business or to those already in business but in need of extra support,” says Dublin City Council’s Greg Swift. 
READ MORE: Did you know there are over 80 different Government supports for Irish startups and small businesses, including grant money?  

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New food business incubator in Cork

A new food incubator in Cork aims to position the region as a national player in Ireland’s agri-economy.
Food businesses in Cork have a new ‘incubation’ facility available to them courtesy of the Cork County Council.
Cork Incubator Kitchens offers food startups and existing food businesses access to a fully equipped kitchen on a pay-as-you-go basis of just €15 per hour. 
The CIK is aimed at food entrepreneurs looking to develop and market-test their food products before investing in their own kitchen equipment.
Brand new and fully equipped
The incubation space was opened this week by Mayor of Cork, County Cllr Seamus McGrath. He says, “Cork is a vibrant and leading player in the national food and drinks sector. With facilities like the Cork Incubator Kitchens and the support infrastructure in the region, Cork is ideally positioned to be a leader in Ireland’s agri-economy.”
Located in Carrigaline Industrial Estate, the bakery and kitchens are designed to meet the highest health and food safety regulations and boast a broad range of equipment including refrigerators, blast chillers, fogging machines, tilting bratt pan, vacuum packers, sealing machines and Zanolli deck ovens.
Networking opportunities
As well as offering food entrepreneurs kitchen facilities, the incubator will also provide networking and support provided by the Food Safety Company, who will manage the day-to-day running of the space.
The kitchen has already attracted some clients, including A Touch of Magic which is using it to help expand its cake and confectionary business, and Athula Fusion Foods which is developing a range of sauces.

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The 12 finalists of Spark of Genius

Some of Ireland’s brightest tech startups are in with the chance of winning €25,000 at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon. 
The prize is part of the ESB’s Spark of Genius competition, which has currently narrowed the finalists to a field of 12. Only three, however, will be selected to go to Lisbon and compete for the cash prize.
Narrowing the field 
The 12 semi-finalists will be judged on their businesses’ originally, development so far, and growth prospects. 
“It’s a great opportunity for startups, and it shows how thriving the Irish tech scene is,” Web Summit founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave. 
The ideas
BikeLook: Tackling bike theft with Bluetooth sensors. 
Buymie: Personal shopping service through your smartphone. 
EnergyElephant: Helps businesses be more energy efficient through data analysis. 
Fillit: Connected those with unused space with those who need it for events etc. 
HouseMyDog: Links dog-owners with dog sitters. 
iKydz: Helps parents control their kid’s internet access through a ‘plug and play’ system.
Kollect: On demand, choose-your-own-bin-day collection service. 
OpenBack:  “Creating a new standard in mobile notifications to drive engagement while putting users first”.
Parkpnp: Online parking marketplace; links people with unused spaces with those who need them.
Responder: “A product aimed at supporting independent living, health and well-being through the use of mobile and wearable technologies”.
WeSavvy: An app which allows users to get rewarded on their life insurance policy for keeping active, tracking how often they walk, run or cycle. 
Wia: “Provide developers with a real-time platform for building Internet of Things applications”. 

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