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 - on thinkbusiness

How to be productive and happy at work

Happy employees are more productive. Here’s how to foster a culture of continuous improvement in your business. 
The link between productivity and wellness
It’s not just the business leaders who strive for higher productivity. Most employees want to be productive too. If people can’t get their work done, they feel stressed, and this causes them to worry. In today’s business world where priorities and deadlines are continually shifting, people often don’t feel in control. Despite working hard and long hours employees often feel they are not on top of their workload.
In contrast being productive gives employees a sense of achievement and accomplishment. There is a satisfaction that comes with being able to make a plan and stick to it.
Moreover, that satisfaction allows employees switch off after work which in turn will enable them to relax and refresh.
On the other hand, a lack of productivity can have an adverse effect on the employee’s stress levels and general mental wellness.
“A culture of productivity encourages everyone to perform at their best level.”
Causes of stress at work
In fact, if we look at some of the causes of stress cited by employees we see factors that also cause a lack of productivity:
• Changing demands and priorities
• Inefficient systems and processes
• Lack of clarity around role and expectations
• Poor communication with managers
• Long hours, poor work-life balance
“Foster a culture of continuous improvement.”
A productive culture benefits everyone
So by removing these barriers to productivity businesses can also reduce the stress levels of their employees. Not only will employee wellness and happiness increase, but employee engagement and output also will too. A culture of productivity encourages everyone to perform at their best level.
To foster this culture a business needs to make sure it provides the best tools, the best processes, the best managers and the best training.
Here are some questions to

This post was originally published here - on

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 - on thinkbusiness

How to grow your money by investing

If your business’s money is sitting on deposit, it’s unlikely to be working for you. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Most business owners would agree that it takes a combination of time, tremendous effort and significant success to accumulate large cash balances.
Having worked so hard to get the cash, the all-important question is whether it’s working for you?
If your company’s money is sitting on deposit, it’s just not working as hard as it should be.
“Irish companies held €50.6 billion on deposit at the end of April 2018.”
Huge cash piles
According to the Central Bank of Ireland, Irish companies held €50.6 billion on deposit at the end of April 2018 (excluding financial corporations).
Today, interest rates are at record low levels; in fact, some more substantial deposits are on negative interest rates. This situation is unlikely to change for some time.
The end of 2019 is widely believed to be the earliest for interest rates to rise again. While the official rate of inflation is pretty benign, many firms are experiencing elevated cost levels. Smart business owners realise the importance of continuing to grow the real value of their assets, in other words, the level of growth after inflation. This growth involves the company doing some financial planning and to do this; they need to take a holistic view of their business. So how do you about it?
Start with a holistic view
The first step is to take a snapshot of your business’s assets and liabilities; to capture any loan facilities and what levels are drawn and undrawn. You should take a look at typical cash flow patterns and identify what role seasonality plays. What does your debtor book look like – have you substantial receipts coming shortly?
“How much of an emergency fund do you need?”
The next stage is about looking forward. This

This post was originally published here - on

A flavour of Fingal

Here we take an enterprising look at Fingal, one of the most innovative food-producing regions in Europe and home to Ireland’s youngest population.
Fingal is a region north of Dublin City and also bordered by South County Dublin, Meath and Kildare. To the east is the Irish Sea. It is one of Ireland’s most enterprising regions, and the focus is firmly on farming, food and flying.

An abundant place
Most people in Ireland will travel to Fingal at some stage in their lives, but only to access Dublin airport. However, it is a region worth visiting and exploring, especially during the summer months. The county is known locally as the ‘market basket of Ireland’. It is one of the most significant food-producing areas in Ireland and Europe.
The official motto of the county is ‘Flúirse Talaimh is Mara — the abundance of land and sea.’
Speaking at the recent Flavours of Fingal county show, Caitriona Redmond, a well-known writer and founder of Wholesome Ireland says the food produced in Fingal “is not only on our doorsteps, but it’s also in our shops. I would encourage people to look for local produce when they are shopping. Local produce supports jobs, keeps the economy going and is more environmentally friendly that food-mile heavy imports”.
The county
Fingal has a population of over 300,000 people. The population increased by 77% between 1996 and 2011 and is also the youngest in Ireland.
The county is blessed with a rugged, natural 88km coastline that stretches from Sutton to Balbriggan. There are three protected estuaries, salt marsh habitats and thirteen good beaches.
Apart from Dublin airport, the most significant driver of the local economy is farming and food production. Over 600 farmers milk cows, rear sheep, grow vegetables, harvest crops and produce honey and fruit in Fingal every day.
It is estimated the county provides

This post was originally published here - on

The ThinkBusiness Show – Brian Caulfield

How do you start a business? How do you grow your business? These are the questions we explore on the ThinkBusiness Show.


The ThinkBusiness Show is a business show with a difference.
Instead of talking about what a business does, we talk to founders and experts about the ‘hows’ of doing business – how to start and how to grow.
The ThinkBusiness Show is an online academy to learn more about starting and running a business. We also discuss the supports available to businesses, raising money, financial well being and how to keep going when difficulties arise. 
“If you are looking for investment keep your business plan short. We see 2,500 plans every year. If it’s a long-winded document, I’m not reading it. And make sure you show me what you are going to do with the money. Make sure there’s an actual plan in your business plan.”
First up
First up is Brian Caulfield. Brian is one of Ireland’s ‘legendary’ venture capital investors (VCs). In his podcast and video, he gives a masterclass, not just in what investors look for but how entrepreneurs should approach their business if they want to land investment. This is really a ‘Startup Masterclass’, a must-listen for anyone with big ambitions to grow with the right investment.

This post was originally published here - on

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 - on thinkbusiness

Ten ambitious teams start Trinity’s LaunchBox 2018

Ten teams of student entrepreneurs teams have started Trinity’s accelerator programme Launchbox, Ireland’s most successful student accelerator programme. They are now seeking investment to grow.
Now in its sixth year, LaunchBox is a place where students can start a business and receive mentorship, funding, and access to alumni and investors.
Since its start in 2013, LaunchBox has helped 50 student ventures. The businesses that continued have created 122 jobs and raised €6.3 million in investment and funding.
“LaunchBox is an opportunity for students to work on their business idea with mentors over the summer. It is a real opportunity for our students to showcase why Trinity is number one in Europe for producing entrepreneurs,” says Fionnuala Healy, CEO Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub, Trinity College Dublin.
Paul Allen, student founder of BOP (Biological Optical Prevention) and his teammates Ekaterina (Kate) Lait and David Ola (pictured main image) met as members of the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society. They believe their business has enormous potential for identifying, preventing and treating health care-associated infections (HAIs).
“I had family members who passed away due to HAIs, so the idea has been in process for two years. The visual nature of our product is its USP and it makes it more effective,” says Allen. Upon making contact with a surface their product changes colour depending on the pathogens present. This allows medical staff to identify the pathogen, eliminate them and disinfect the area. 
Successful alumni
Successful alumni of LaunchBox include social enterprise Foodcloud, which helps businesses redistribute surplus food to those who need it; Touchtech, a payment processing firm; Artomatix, which develops tools for automating digital media creation; and Equine MediRecord, which digitises the medical records for the multi-billion-euro horse racing industry’s equine stars.
“LaunchBox’s focus on early-stage business development, and on empowering entrepreneurship and collaboration, is hugely important for our communities and through our community programmes

This post was originally published here - on

15 Gaelic football entrepreneurs

With the Gaelic football season now in full swing, we take a look at players and former players who took the leap into entrepreneurship.

Shane Curran

Since retiring county football, the Roscommon man has set up flood defence company Global Flood Solutions. The company supplies the rapid response flood defence products such as the Big Bag Flood Defence System for which Curran secured a €2 million export deal.

Enda McNulty

After winning an All-Ireland medal in 2002, Enda established his company Motiv8 in 2005 he then rebranded Motiv8 to McNulty Performance in 2016. Its mission: ‘To inspire, coach and guide individuals and teams to make most of their potential in the sports, business and educational sectors.’ The list of company clients includes Brian O’Driscoll, AIB and Intel.

Kevin Moran

Known for being the only man to win an All-Ireland and an FA cup medal (he won both twice actually, while also being the first player to be sent off in the FA cup too), Kevin Moran was a co-founder of Proactive Sports Management, with clients such as Steve Finnan and John O’Shea. It has since been acquired and rebranded itself as Formation Group PLC and has expanded into the property market.

Philly McMahon

The Ballymun Kickhams man opened his own gym in October 2014. Since then he has gone on to open Fitfood is a healthy meal delivery and fitness company based in Ballymun, Dublin.

Ciaran Lenehan

According to his bio, the former Meath halfback has a first class honours degree in animal science from UCD and completed a research masters in beef cattle nutrition and production systems. He owns and manages a 50-cow suckler to beef herd farm in Skryne, Co Meath. Ciaran also writes for the Irish Farmers Journal.

Donal Vaughan

With his sister Ailish, Donal Vaughan opened Vaughan Shoes in 2006 and went on to acquire an existing footwear retailer, Colleran Footwear. The company has a strong online presence and three stores across Mayo.

Páidí Ó Sé

Amassing an impressive eight All-Ireland medals as a player and a further two as a manager, Páidí originally trained to be a member of An Garda Síochána but went on to open Paidi O’Se’s Pub in Ventry, Co Kerry. Unfortunately, Paidi passed away in December 2012 but the pub is still in operation.

Seán Cavanagh

The three-time All-Ireland winner opened his own accountancy practice in his home village of Moy, Co Tyrone. Sean Cavanagh and Co. assists clients in accounting, audit, tax and advisory.

Darren Hughes

In addition to working on his family’s farm, Darren studied business in Jordanstown, Co Monaghan and following this started a new marketing company D&K Hughes Marketing and branded it as specialising in advertising for local Monaghan companies.

Trevor Giles

Trevor Giles played senior inter-county football with Meath from 1994 to 2005, winning All-Ireland medals in 1996 and 1999. Trevor qualified from UDC with a degree in physiotherapy in 1997 and set up Tara Physiotherapy in his native Tara, Co Meath in 2000.

Paul Galvin

The former teacher enrolled in a fashion buying course in DIT in 2010, where he quickly launched his own website specialising in men’s hair products, before eventually teaming up with Dunnes Stores in 2015 to launch his own ‘Born Mad’ menswear range.

Andy Moran

In an interview Andy once said; “Since I was a young fella, I’ve always had the drive to set up my own business.” He eventually did by setting up – a performance, nutrition and wellness centre in Roscommon.

Michael Murphy

The former Donegal captain who lifted Sam McGuire in 2012 opened his own sporting goods store Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure in Letterkenny. In 2017 Murphy swapped the shop and GAA for Clermont-Ferrand RFC as part of the TV series ‘The Toughest Trade’.

Kevin McManamon

Having graduated from college with a degree in business management and a masters in strategic management in DIT, Kevin went on to co-found his business Fresh Foods Direct in 2009. He finished working there in 2012 and since then he has received another Masters in applied sports and exercise psychology. He has since gone on to create Kev Mc Coaching, a sports psychology consultancy.

Bernard Brogan

Originally qualified as an accountant, Bernard is listed as a director of at least eight companies around Ireland. In the last few years, Bernard has gone into the family business of hotels with himself and his brother Alan purchasing the four-star Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, Co Meath in 2016. However, more recently the five-time All-Ireland winning full forward has created his own company a corporate wellbeing company based in Dublin.

Article by Barry Walsh. 

Related Resource

This post was originally published here - on

The Irish man connecting four billion people

Mark Roden is the founder of Ding, an Irish business that connects four billion phones around the world. He spoke to Stephen Conmy about mobile payments and the vast emerging global markets.

Mark Roden is in good form. We meet at MoneyConf, in Dublin’s RDS, an event dedicated to the rise of FinTech (financial technology); banking, mobile payments and the future of global finance.

Roden’s is a familiar story to many in Ireland’s business world. He was a dentistry student who left Trinity early and went to work for Denis O’Brien, helping to start Esat. He was also the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. 

Today he is the majority shareholder of mobile payments company, Ding.

The Dublin-based Ding allows people – mainly from emerging markets – to send ‘value’ to each other in the form of phone credit.

He founded the company in 2006 and now works with over 400 operators worldwide, delivering top-ups to four billion phones.

ding mark roden

Four billion people

“We deliver the ‘energy’ people need to use their phones,” he says. “This is hugely important in the vastly populated emerging economies. If you are in Ghana and I’m in Dublin, I can transfer five dollars in pre-paid credit to your phone. This brings life to your phone, allowing you to communicate and access the mobile web.”

The vast populations of emerging economies in Africa, India and South America are mobile first. They skipped the desktop age.

“This is where Ding offers real value,” says Roden. “Ding isn’t about a cheaper call it’s about empowering people to access their phones and allows them to use the web on their phones.

“The life for people around the world who are not connected is a grim life. What we do is offer a zero barrier way to enable people to get connected.”

What next for Ding?

Now that Ding has ‘laid the railway lines’ the infrastructure is there to add other services like mobile payments.

“This is where I see us going. Ding can act as a mobile distribution network for cash. Obviously, the global potential of this is enormous.”

Roden built his business without investment but says he is now open to investment with the right strategic partner.

“In the next twelve months or so we will look for the right partner. We need to grow much bigger but we don’t just need money, we need an investment partner that shares our vision and can help us bring it to reality.”

What businesses does Roden admire in the mobile payments space?

“Square’s Cash app, led by Jack Dorsey (the Twitter co-founder), is one I really admire,” he says. “Many of our customers share the same demographics.”


  1. If you are starting a business it is much better to be good at one thing or ‘deep in a vertical’ rather than try to be all things to all men. Don’t be shallow in a wide market.
  2. A business should only diversify when it has achieved critical mass. For us, that was when we started generating our own cash.
  3. If you are seeking investment, make sure your investor shares your strategic vision. You need a partner, not just a cheque.
  4. If your technology can be understood instinctively by anyone in the world, you are in a position to scale. If there are barriers in the way for people to use your service, you are doomed.
  5. The most important lesson Denis O’Brien taught me was to keep going. Never give up and to have great confidence in what you are about to do. If you put in the effort, what appears to be impossible becomes very possible.

Related Resource

The historical enterprise towns of Ireland.

This post was originally published here - on