16-year-old inventor wins major award at the Ploughing

Tractor Safe Lock, a device that automatically engages the handbrake in a tractor when the driver leaves the seat, has won the Innovation Arena’s People’s Choice Award at the National Ploughing Championships.
The Kerry-based company, founded by student Jack Nagle (16), was one of 69 companies exhibiting at the 2017 Innovation Arena.
The Tractor Safe Lock, invented by Nagle, is activated – once the driver takes the machine out of gear – through a pressure switch on the seat, pushing up the handbrake of the tractor to stop the vehicle from rolling.
“Jack Nagle and Tractor Safe Lock, represents one of the youngest winners of the Innovation Arena to date and he shows how Irish innovation is contributing to making farming safer.”
“The level of interest in the Innovation Arena People’s Choice Awards this year – from client companies, exhibitors, and the public, in general, has been huge. Jack Nagle and Tractor Safe Lock, represents one of the youngest winners of the Innovation Arena to date and he shows how Irish innovation is contributing to making farming safer. We wish Jack all the best in his business and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with him in the future,” says James Maloney, senior regional development executive, Enterprise Ireland.
“We look forward to seeing the new designs and innovations in agri-tech coming through in the next year, and we wish Jack and Tractor Safe Lock the very best for the future,” says Anna May McHugh, managing director, National Ploughing Association. 
The People’s Choice Award is voted for by the general public. The number of votes received was 3,000 with Tractor Safe Lock receiving over two-thirds (67 percent) of the overall vote.
The Award is in association with Enterprise Ireland, the National Ploughing Association, and the Irish Farmers Journal.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/jack-nagle-tractor-safe-lock/ on thinkbusiness

Brewing beer on a hilltop in Clare

Maeve Sheridan of Western Herd talks about brewing beer on a hilltop in Clare, the inspirational Irish food and drink scene and how mistakes make you stronger. Maeve will be the fireside chat guest at Founder Friday Clare in Ennis on Friday, September 22. It’s free to attend but you need to register here.
This is how we started
I was working in Luxembourg for a large American bank in risk and compliance. I lived there for nearly seven years, and with Germany and Belgium twenty minutes away in different directions, I was surrounded by great beer and loved trying new styles and regional varieties.  
Over a few beers at Christmas, my brother Michael suggested converting a haybarn on our family farm into a brewery. Michael, a civil engineer by trade, was managing a busy bar in Dublin after being made redundant from his engineering job during the recession and he could see how craft beers were growing in popularity.   
“There is something unique about brewing beer on a hilltop farm on the West coast of Ireland using fresh farm spring water.”
Our USP?
We noticed that there was no one in Clare brewing beer. Nearly every other county had a brewery in 2014, and with Clare’s growing reputation as a foodie destination and with over a million visitors to the county annually, there was a need for a locally produced beer.  
As well as being the only commercial brewer in Clare, there is something unique about brewing beer on a hilltop farm on the West coast of Ireland using fresh farm spring water as our main ingredient.
“We plan to open a visitor centre and tasting room so we can start running brewery tours and sell directly to the public from the farm.”
Funding the business and our growth plans
After seven years in Luxembourg, we

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/maeve-sheridan-western-herd-beer/ on
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€40m fund for Agtech startups

Ireland has the opportunity to become a European Agtech hub. Now there’s €40m to start backing the plan. 
A US Agtech venture capital firm, offering investments in innovative early-stage Agtech companies, is to open its first European office in Ireland. The fund is led by Wexford native, Kieran Furlong.  
Finistere Ventures, a Californian VC firm, has partnered with Ireland’s sovereign development fund (ISIF) to launch the €20m Ireland Agtech Fund (IAF).
The Irish Strategic Investment Fund has also allocated a further €20m in Finistere’s second global agtech fund for global agri investment. Kieran Furlong spoke to ThinkBusiness about this exciting development.

What is your background?
I grew up in Co. Wexford – not in a farming household, but in a “country” family. I spent plenty of time on my uncle’s farm and had the usual Wexford childhood memories of picking berries and harvesting potatoes.
After studying chemical engineering at UCD, I joined a multi-national chemical company and set off for Argentina right after graduating.  
I spent about a decade in the chemical industry, although most of that time was dealing with agri-business and large companies like Cargill, and ADM. I was very interested in bio-based and sustainable materials and left the corporate world for post-graduate study and then joined a startup making biofuel from algae. After that, I worked on the first commercial 100% bio-based Coke bottle with a startup in Wisconsin. 
Finistere reached out to me about two years ago to take a look at the application of industrial biotechnology in agriculture, and when the opportunity arose to get involved with Agtech in Ireland, I was very happy to be able to take it.
“Ireland combines an innovative domestic agri-food industry with the European home of Silicon Valley’s tech giants.”
Why Ireland? What has Ireland got to offer the world?
We think Ireland has great potential to be a

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/finistere-ventures-agtech-vc-fund-kieran-furlong/ on thinkbusiness

An invention that will stop your dog biting

K9 Connectables is one of the latest innovations in the valuable pet sector. It’s a toy designed to ‘challenge the dog’s brain’ in order to stop it biting.
Invented and designed by dog lover James McIlvenna, K9 Connectables has been nominated in the consumer product category in the Irish Design Awards. Here, he speaks to ThinkBusiness about the new device.
Where did the idea for the toy come from?
The idea for K9 Connectables came about when my wife and I got our own dog Sandy about four years ago. Everyone is well aware that dogs require food, shelter and most importantly exercise and it’s this last point that is most important if you want to have a well-balanced dog. It’s not just physical exercise a dog requires but mental stimulation as well.
Dogs have a lot of energy and if we don’t channel this energy in a positive way, behaviour problems can arise. Most dog owners have hectic lives so it can be difficult to provide all the necessary requirements their dogs needs. This is where K9 Connectables come in. Being a product designer I noticed a gap in the market for toys that really challenge a dog’s mind.
How does the product work exactly?
The idea is that you stuff the dog’s favourite food and treats inside and connect them together. They can smell the treats through the small holes in the toy but they have to use their brains to work out how to break the connection. This engages the dog, keeps them occupied and rewards them when they manage to get the treats out. You can start out easy with the connection system and then the further you connect the toys the more difficult it gets.
Did you face any difficulties or challenges when you were designing the product?
We created over 100 different prototypes on 3D printers

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/invention-that-will-stop-your-dog-biting/ on thinkbusiness

14-year-old develops acclaimed news app

14-year-old Irish schoolboy, Alex Goodison has developed a news-focused app called Swiipe that has attracted critical acclaim.
With less than a year of iOS app development under his belt, 14-year-old Alex Goodison decided to build a news app. Why? Because he wanted to read more news and the summer holidays were proving to be too long. 
“I wanted to read the news more often myself, but no news app was able to provide an experience worth going back for,” he explains.
Self-taught, Alex used YouTube videos and the learning platform Udemy to get his app development skills up to scratch.
However, one of the main reasons he started building Swiipe was because he was slightly bored during his school summer holidays. 
“I have been learning to develop iOS apps for close to a year now and, as summer holidays in Ireland are 13 weeks long, I had plenty of time on my hands.”  
Alex estimates that he worked on the first version of the app for five hours a day over two or three weeks.  
When Alex launched the app on ProductHunt, he received immediate and positive feedback. To date, nearly 1,000 people (mainly product developers) have given it the thumbs up. 
“I was amazed by the reaction on ProductHunt. I would have been happy with 70 or so votes but to get close to a thousand left me speechless. The encouragement has meant a lot to me. It has given me a lot more self-belief.” 
How does the app work? 
Swiipe works much like Tinder in that users can swipe left (to dismiss an article) and right to save an article. Users simply tap the screen to read an article in full.
“Yes, it is quite like Tinder’s UX,” says Alex. “Swiipe lets you view the articles that you want to see one by one. Simply swipe left to dismiss the article, right

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/alex-goodison-swiipe-news-app/ on thinkbusiness

14-year-old Irish developer builds acclaimed app

14-year-old Irish schoolboy, Alex Goodison has developed a news-focused app called Swiipe.
With less than a year of iOS app development under his belt, 14-year-old Alex Goodison decided to build a news app. Why? Because he wanted to read more news and the summer holidays were proving to be too long. 
“I wanted to read the news more often myself, but no news app was able to provide an experience worth going back for,” he explains.
Self-taught, Alex used YouTube videos and the learning platform Udemy to get his app development skills up to scratch.
However, one of the main reasons he started building Swiipe was because he was slightly bored during his school summer holidays. 
“I have been learning to develop iOS apps for close to a year now and, as summer holidays in Ireland are 13 weeks long, I had plenty of time on my hands.”  
Alex estimates that he worked on the first version of the app for five hours a day over two or three weeks.  
When Alex launched the app on ProductHunt, he received immediate and positive feedback. To date, nearly 1,000 people (mainly product developers) have given it the thumbs up. 
“I was amazed by the reaction on ProductHunt. I would have been happy with 70 or so votes but to get close to a thousand left me speechless. The encouragement has meant a lot to me. It has given me a lot more self-belief.” 
How does the app work? 
Swiipe works much like Tinder in that users can swipe left (to dismiss an article) and right to save an article. Users simply tap the screen to read an article in full.
“Yes, it is quite like Tinder, so Tinder users may find Swiipe easy to use,” says Alex. “Swiipe lets you view the articles that you want to see one by one. Simply swipe left

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/14-year-old-builds-app/ on thinkbusiness

A portrait of the artist as a young farmer

This is a tale of survival and revival. The story of an artist who moved to the Golden Vale to breed a herd of native cattle. 
In 2010, professional artist and bronze-caster, Eavaun Carmody, moved to Killenure Castle, Co. Tipperary. Her busy work life in the city included dealing in antiques, as well as restoring old buildings. She left the hassle of the city and moved her family to the heart of the Golden Vale. She renovated a castle and at the same time, ran a series of successful community workshops, one of which was creating a contemporary art trail (Open Art Killenure – OAK), that encompassed the castle’s history, architecture, and woodlands.
The light bulb moment
A chance conversation in the local pub one night, sparked her interest in reviving a cattle breed, called Dexter. It is a native breed of cattle which had historically been reared, just two miles away, on the nearby Dundrum Estate. Eavaun decided there and then that she wanted to create a link to the past and revive the breed.
Her ‘startup farm’ has since been developed into a successful enterprise, producing a range of premium meat, charcuterie, leather and milk products. Eavaun’s is a unique and intriguing story – all told and sold under the Dundrum Dexter Beef (Killenure Castle) brand.
“People need integrity and authenticity in their lives, and that’s the story behind what these products represent – absolute authenticity.”

How did it all start?
It was an emotional response, the need to resurrect a dormant history that had flatlined, like a sleeping beauty, one that needed a kiss of life. 
I decided to see if I could buy some Dexter cattle, but they couldn’t be found anywhere. Following an extensive search, I tracked down and brought home nine animals and placed them on the land, around the curtilage of the castle.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/eavaun-carmody-dexter-beef-killenure-castle/ on
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How to write a great business plan

If you have a great business idea, write it down. If you want to grow your business, you also need a plan.
If you have a great business idea, the first step is to write it down.
Then you’ll need a Business Model Canvas to flesh out the idea. Download your free canvas now.
Later, you will need a full business plan template. Download a free, easy-to-use, business plan template here.

You need a plan to raise investment
Your business plan should cover objectives, sales, strategies, marketing and financial forecasts, over a short to long-term period.
It is useful to remember that using a business plan can help you to hone your business idea, as well as set goals and track your progress.
Your plan should be time-specific, and you should reference it regularly. Investors, lenders and State bodies want to see convincing details in your plan.

Describe what you intend to do simply and clearly
The problem you are planning to solve for the customer 
How well you articulate the “value proposition”
Identify the market segment you plan to operate in 
How you plan to get your product to market (“the route to market”)
Your business model
You have a good understanding of the competitive landscape
Terms like “value proposition” and “route to market” are explained in more detail in the ThinkBusiness guide to a marketing plan.

What do I put in my business plan?
So what does a business plan look like, and why is it important? Every plan should have a solid structure. There are a number of elements to a business plan that you must cover.

Cover and confidentiality clause

Ensure the cover of your plan carries your branding and maybe even a photograph of your product.
It is always good practice to include a confidentiality clause. You should ask the recipient to sign this, as you need to ensure that sensitive information included in the business plan

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-write-a-business-plan/ on thinkbusiness

Referral.Works is changing the recruitment industry

Referral.Works helps companies to employ the best candidates for vacant roles through a unique referral process.
The Cork startup was founded in February 2016 by Kieran Desmond, and Kieran took the time out of his schedule to speak with ThinkBusiness about his company.
What was the idea behind the formation of Referral Works?
Referral.Works as a concept came from life experience. I met a friend who told me about troubles in his life. He was financially broke, stuck at home and he needed a job. He had just completed a QFA Masters Qualification. I was referred internally for a job that was not listed, fortunately or unfortunately, I was unable to take the contract as I was working with other clients. This is when I had a lightbulb moment – “Christian! I have just the job for you. Would you like me to refer you?” I went on to play matchmaker between Christian (the jobseeker) and the employer. Christian was then hired and I had agreed a small fee for the referral. It’s through this process of going back and forth, the manual labour that I sought a way of referring people in a similar way.

“If you refer for five jobs over a year, you could earn an average of €3,200 for no more than two and a half hours work.”

 
How does the company operate?
Referral.Works supercharges recruitment by suggesting, matching and assessing referred people to relevant jobs. We do this in a rewarding, transparent and easy process for everyone. A recruiter can publish a job, with a referral rewards pool in minutes and receive quality candidates from around the world. Referrers can login with their LinkedIn profile and refer people they know for jobs in companies they know and trust. Candidates, who are invited to be referred, get a warm introduction to relevant

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/referral-works-changing-recruitment-industry/ on thinkbusiness

Leaving Google to open a dog-friendly café

Having previously worked for Google, Ella Wallace along with her partner Paul Froggatt opened Pupp, a dog-friendly café, on Dublin’s Clanbrassil Street in the south inner city. 

The obvious question is why? Why open a dog-friendly café? 

We wanted to start a business long before we opened (in early 2016), though we weren’t sure what form it would take. Ella was keen on creating a food business, though it was only when we were finding it difficult to bring our dog Toby around with us that the idea for a dog-friendly restaurant started to take shape.

“When doing your business plan ask someone who runs a restaurant to look over your cost estimates. There are an enormous amount of fees, charges, and bills.”

Why did you want to move into such as radically different industry?
(Ella left to run the restaurant, Paul still works at Google). 

Ella was keen to try something new, develop a community, and face the challenge of running a small business. It wasn’t a case of looking to leave the tech industry, just to take advantage of the opportunity of something different while it was available.

Pupp dog-friendly restaurant

Is it true that people can pay what they want? 

We have one item on the menu (porridge with homemade fruit compote) that is pay what you want. 

Pupp is about community, and we wanted to offer something that was accessible to everyone, so we chose to allow people to price the dish at whatever they thought was a fair value. The results have been really strong, though may not be viable for higher cost items or an entire menu.

“We founded the Dog-Friendly Association of Ireland to help other businesses become dog-friendly and now have over 100 business members.”

What is it about your restaurant that makes you stand out from the crowd, apart from being dog-friendly? 

Our team. We’ve been really lucky with the people that have joined Pupp, and for small businesses, it’s often the most important part of the customer experience. A particular shout-out to our restaurant director Esther who has done a phenomenal job developing the team and is the first face most customers see.

Pupp dog-friendly restaurant

You have leveraged social media very well. What works best for restaurants? 

Facebook offers us the greatest reach, and we currently have about 10,000 followers. It’s great for competitions and announcements. However, Instagram is an essential channel for sharing the goings-on within the restaurant. We love to laugh and share some of the personality of the characters within the team. You can find us at Facebook.com/PuppIreland or as PuppIreland on Instagram.

“The food industry has very tight margins so make sure you’re doing it for passion rather than to become a millionaire.”

You’re famously a dog-friendly restaurant. Do you see this as a rising trend in Ireland? 

This is core to the Pupp proposition and has seen a huge amount of exposure since we opened. It was also part of the reason we began in the first place. At the time there wasn’t anywhere actively promoting it, and we wanted to encourage a more open discussion about dog-friendly environments. We were also keen to set the standard so people could see you can have a lovely cosy restaurant for everyone while also allowing people to bring their dogs. We founded the Dog-Friendly Association of Ireland to help other businesses become dog-friendly and now have over 100 member businesses.

What advise would you give to someone thinking of going into the business? 

When doing your business plan ask someone who runs a restaurant currently to look over the cost estimates. There are an enormous amount of fees, charges, and bills (e.g., water charges, accountant fees, music licenses, insurance, building rates, staff holiday pay, equipment repairs) that are easy to overlook. It’s worth ensuring your business model is resilient enough to compensate for the costs of actually running a restaurant. 

The food industry has very tight margins so make sure you’re doing it for passion rather than to become a millionaire.

Pupp dog-friendly restaurant

How long did you spend on your business plan before you launched? 

We were looking for suitable premises for a few months before finding our current spot and were also developing the business plan at the same time. When we took on the building, it also needed a lot of renovation, so we had six months of planning time before we opened the doors.



If you could, what would you do to encourage more entrepreneurship in Ireland?


Develop a marketplace of people wanting to buy and sell small businesses. We started from scratch, but it would have been so much easier if we took an existing restaurant and transformed it into Pupp. Especially in the restaurant industry which has such high turnover, people want to enter and exit the market all the time but often don’t have the contacts to hit the ground running.



Is there a business or café that inspires you?

The Happy Pear have done a great job scaling their business while maintaining their founding values – we met up with them before we launched to get some advice. They have a great business and are great founders.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/pupp-cafe-dublin-dog-friendly-interview/ on
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