Five startups to watch in the West

Ireland’s west coast has become a hub for a number of Ireland’s fastest growing startups. Here are five companies working in Startlab Galway worth keeping an eye out for.  
Amicitia was founded in 2015 and is a not-for-profit social enterprise providing connected devices to support the elderly, disabled and those with long-term health conditions. Profits from the sale of their products and services are redistributed to support community development initiatives. The problems facing towns and villages are manifold. For example, 42% of those aged 65 and older live in rural areas in Ireland, social isolation and loneliness are prevalent due to outward migration and the pace of technological change leaving generations behind. This increasingly ageing and disabled population are confronted with the challenge of finding adequate care in later life.
The social business model brings together community and technology to create data-rich civic participation networks that promote safety, health and wellbeing. The home is protected by a range of sensors linked to a social hub in the heart of the community which empowers people of all ages to spend time and coordinate care together. This approach builds resilient communities by anchoring jobs locally and expanding the provision of social services to support the most socially disadvantaged groups.
Kollabro is a client communication and task management software that instantly saves time and money for digital and creative businesses though clear client communication. The company was formed in 2016 and provides an effective time saving solution that keeps projects progressing and enables payments, approvals and sign off to be received in time which in turn saves time and money for consultants and their clients. Kollabro eliminates the need for phone calls, emails and meetings during a project by having all the project communication in one place.
Frankli is a HR software product designed to provide management

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Five female entrepreneurs who moved to Ireland

Moving to another country to start a business can be very daunting. Here, five women who moved to Ireland and successfully started their own business, share their experiences.  

Leslie Maliepaard
Leslie is the founder of Fortrino Ltd., a boutique investment office based in Dublin. Fortrino invests and supports entrepreneurs in high potential startups across Europe. The company is “sector agnostic and focuses on IoT technologies in the MedTech, AgriTech, cybersecurity and InduTech industries”. Leslie moved to Dublin from South Africa in March 2016 and like every overseas move, it was daunting and she doubted if she was making the right decision
“I find Ireland a very helpful and friendly country. It’s a lot easier to do business here than in South Africa. You have to get through your first year before you really find your feet. I think once you survey and learn the ins and outs of the startup scene, you will find that there is a lot of support from government, ecosystem partners, community and individuals in Ireland.”
“After surveying the Irish and European landscape, I made a decision to follow my passions around helping IoT startups that concentrate on discovering solutions that solve critical problems the world is facing. Once again the sectors we concentrate on are health and environmental sciences and our aim is to help accelerate new discoveries and innovations for the benefit of improving environmental and human health globally.”

Ashlee Chin
Ashlee is the chief operations officer of K.C Consulting, a specialist Asian marketing and channel development agency. Ashlee helps companies of all sizes to plan and implement their Asian marketing projects by assessing new Asian markets and improving their Asian marketing presence. She is also the head of events for the Irish Chinese Society Galway, a non-profit organisation in the West of Ireland.
Following the introduction of the One

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What if my staff can’t get to work?

Extreme weather conditions bring all sorts of problems. One of the most significant issues for business owners is that of employee absence and payment. Here is a brief guide.
What if an employee can’t get to work? 
Regarding pay, you are under no obligation to pay the employee if they can’t get to work, even if it’s no fault of their own. 
However, if you do pay for such missed days, make sure all employees are treated the same. 
Are there other options?
You can agree on a short-term annual leave request with the employee or, when applicable, employees can work from home. 
You could also agree with employees that they can make up the time. 
It’s up to you to agree on the right course of action with the people you employ and it’s important to be fair to all involved. 
What if I can’t open the business, the place of work? 
In this case, your employees are entitled to full pay so long as they are able (or would be able) to get to work. 
What if I decide to send people home during the day? 
Then you will still have to pay people for the full day. 
Can I make employees take holidays for days missed due to bad weather? 
If you want to ‘enforce’ a holiday, you must give notice that is equal to twice the length of time that you want to be taken off. This means for one day’s holiday you must give two days notice. 
What about employees with children who have to stay at home due to school closures?
There is no legal obligation to pay employees if schools close and they have to stay at home to mind children.
However, again, at your discretion, it may be best that you consider agreeing on a holiday or the employee making the time up.
Please note that parents are entitled

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Enter the National Startup Awards 2018

The National Startup Awards, powered by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, is open for entries and has a €15,000 prize fund.
The call is going out to startups all over Ireland. The National Startup Awards is open for entries with new categories and a total prize fund of €15,000.
The overall winner will walk away with a prize of €10,000, and the best early-stage startup will receive €5,000 to develop their businesses.
The competition is open to businesses across all sectors which have been operational for up to five years.
There are three key stages to the competition with qualifying entries first shortlisted by region and then nationally.
To enter or nominate someone for a National Startup Award visit and submit your application by Thursday, March 22.
“Entrepreneurship is fundamental to the national and regional economy and job creation, and I encourage ambitious startups to submit their applications in the coming weeks,” says Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
“As Ireland’s leading bank for business, we have worked with startups at all stages of growth, and we continue to be inspired by the women and men who are building, creating and innovating for the future. We look forward to supporting this year’s entries from young companies that are making a difference,” says David Tighe, head of Open Enterprise and Innovation at Bank of Ireland.
Entry is free and is open to sole traders, partnerships and companies that have been set up in Ireland and that are in business for five years or less. The judging committee will comprise of representatives from Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland with a mix of leading Irish entrepreneurs. The regional finals will take place during April with the national awards taking place in Dublin on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
The National Startup Awards 2018 categories
1. Emerging tech startup
2. Fintech startup

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Good as Gold

Lauren Higgs, co-founder of Good as Gold, talks about starting, running and growing a business. 
My background is in digital media. I spent five years at DMG Media working in my later years as head of ad operations for MailOnline Ireland and Danielle (pictured right) worked for a variety of startups including Offset when it was established in 2010. Her background is in design for screen and user experience design. She worked as head of design in an app development house, as well as more recently teaching and lecturing Design for Screen in IADT for the last two and half years. When we started ‘Good as Gold’ back in 2015, it was beneficial for us to have both the corporate and startup experience.
We’ve been Good as Gold for the past two and a bit years – moving into a much broader range of digital services combining digital design with digital strategy.
The great thing about digital is that at any one time we can be working on a cross-section of projects, from beauty, tourism and food to software and tech. Right now, we’re working with some great established brands like Showtime Analytics, Fetch, CA Design, Crypto Coast and some exciting new businesses. Our projects entail anything and everything digital related including branding, website creation, content strategy and social media strategy.
“We collaborate a lot in the studio, coming together to formulate content strategies and wireframes.”
A typical day
A typical day for us begins at our studio in Killincarrig, Greystones. We have a dog flap as there are three canine visitors (Howard, Walter and Noel) who clock in when we arrive. We have a team catch up outlining goals and tasks for the day. Due to the nature of our business, a lot of client communication can be done online or over the phone,

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A Playful City helps communities thrive

A Playful City’s aim is to put people first and nurture communities, thus making Dublin a better place to live, work and grow a business. 
Ireland scores above the European average for rates of entrepreneurship and the ecosystem is considered healthy, but startup culture brings its own unique set of challenges and solutions. Here, two female entrepreneurs talk about social enterprise, the realities of female entrepreneurship in Ireland and how they have dealt with the rapid growth of their business.
“It has been difficult to define ourselves in terms of a business structure,” says Neasa Ní Bhriain, one of four co-founders of A Playful City, a social enterprise intent on making Dublin the most playful city in the world. “We want to continue growing and become more sustainable, but because we are not a charity, it can be difficult to get traditional sponsorship and grants.”
“With over a million users on Facebook and with an international conference under their belt, all in just over a year, it’s fair to say things have changed a lot for the founders.”
To combat this, A Playful City has restructured its organisation to offer services like A Playful Street, an initiative where communities partially close down their street for a day so all ages and abilities can come out to play together.
“Rather than constantly trying to get funding to put these on, we provide A Playful Street as a service for companies looking to meaningfully connect and engage with their local communities or for councils wanting to introduce more play and bring people in communities together,” continues Neasa.
A Playful City has further adapted by offering consultations on play with the community using their unique, mobile, pop up consultation device. The Pow Wow, designed with Sean Harrington Architects, gathers insights from the community which are then analysed and used

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Is this the best costume store in Ireland?

Ronan O’Brien never wanted a job with a salary. At 14 he was making more money than his teachers. Now he runs a growing empire. 
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve never had a full-time job working for anyone else and I worked for myself since I was 14 usually earning more than my teachers. I did manage to keep up the education on the side. I don’t think people want to be entrepreneurs per se, that’s just a tag given to people who choose not to take a salary job. I think entrepreneurs want to change the world in their own little way and control their destiny.

Where did it all begin for Zatori?
We started with At the time I was a professional DJ and there was a huge Halloween event I was playing at. I had been talking with a friend about trying to find a company to partner with to encourage the punters to buy costumes from – but there wasn’t anywhere in Ireland. So jokingly, I said I should start my own. Within four weeks, I had a basic e-commerce shop up and running and we were making sales. After Halloween I was relieved the rush was over, only to get a call from the National Concert Hall a week later asking if we were going to be advertising Christmas costumes, with an attached list of the items they needed. So then I realised it had potential.
Zatori, your holding company, has a number of business brands. How do you divide your time between each different brand?
A lot of my work is project based. If we are launching a new brand or targeting a new area, there is a lot of time required to build that company. We try to build a great team around us, then

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Understanding the secret life of bees

This is the story of an Irish entrepreneur on a mission to save the planet’s bees.
Ireland has long valued the hive and the honey bee – as evidenced in the Bechbretha or ‘Bee Judgements’ texts, recorded under Brehon law, dating back to circa the 6th Century. Today, an Irish startup seeks to write a new page in beekeeping history.
ApisProtect, a business co-founded by Fiona Edwards Murphy is focused on the growing global problem of the stressed honey bee population. Here, Murphy talks about her idea and her journey of discovery into the secret lives of bees.

Light bulb moment
From my studies, I had gained some insight into the world of beekeeping. Annual hive losses run up to a startling 50%, for some of the 81 million hives. Around that time, I had won an international IEEE/IBM award and was invited to speak on Morning Ireland about the award and the sensor possibilities that could benefit beekeeping. Post interview, I was inundated with phone calls from beekeepers, at home and abroad, saying, ‘I would love to have these sensors in my beehive’.
“Worldwide there are 91 million beehives and roughly 45 million beekeepers.”
The sting in the tail
There is a tremendous amount of beekeeping research taking place all over the world; unfortunately, it’s failing to translate into solutions to save the bees.
I set out to design a technological solution with a commercial application for beekeepers. Since then, we have developed a sophisticated platform with temperature, humidity, (Co2) and accelerometer sensors within it. The information produced is collected, and machine learning is then used to interpret the data.
“Your hives are too hot or too cold.”
What are beekeepers’ main concerns?
Beekeepers are not concerned about the data or the technology but are interested in solving their beehive problems. Such as, ‘Are my bees healthy – am I

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Startup Weekend is coming to Gorey

An action-packed Startup Weekend will take place in Gorey, Co. Wexford from February 23rd to 25th. 
Entrepreneurs and creative minds will take over The Hatch Lab in Gorey for a Techstars Startup Weekend. The weekend is all about giving startups the resources they need to build and launch a scalable company.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Book now. 
Why Gorey?
Following the opening of The Hatch Lab, a new tech incubation space in Gorey, this Startup Weekend will further cement the town as a great place for budding entrepreneurs to build their dreams. The goal of the weekend is to create an environment where passionate people can come together to get things done; to learn, network, bridge the gap between trades, expose potential weaknesses in their business models and see actual results. 
What is Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, where attendees pitch ideas, form teams and start companies. The weekend is community focused and provides a place for entrepreneurs to find co-founders, mentors and the momentum needed for their ideas.
Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event that brings all sorts of people together including aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, developers, designers, non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal), students, and professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills. Book now. 
The event is supported by Bank of Ireland and Wexford County Council. Further information and a list of judges and mentors can be found here. 
Article by Sandra Wycech.

Related Resource

Startup Weekend in Achill. 

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The Entrepreneur Experience 2018

One of the best events for would-be entrepreneurs takes place in Ballymaloe, Co. Cork in March this year. 
The CorkBIC Entrepreneur Experience takes place for 24 hours from 2 pm on Friday, March 2 until 2 pm Saturday, March 3 in Ballymaloe, Co. Cork.
What makes this event unique?
The Entrepreneur Experience® is an unrivalled chance for 24 emerging entrepreneurs to gain access and advice from 24 of Ireland’s most successful business leaders over 24 hours.
The Entrepreneur Experience® isn’t like other events; this is real. 24 of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs giving of their time to help the next generation of entrepreneurs.
This experience is a unique opportunity for three distinct groups of entrepreneurs:

Early stage startups – entrepreneurs with a new idea, business plan and strategy roadmap but not yet ready for investment.
Entrepreneurs with an investor ready proposition.
Entrepreneurs with an established business that are looking to scale (ideally a company with ten plus employees and €1m+ turnover a year with the potential to grow rapidly in the coming years).

Apply now
For more information and to apply go to Applications are open until January 19, 2018.
To get a real feel for this event check out the video from last year.


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