The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) and DCU’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship are aiming to stimulate economic growth through a partnership announced today to deliver Kauffman entrepreneurship and innovation programmes in Ireland and Silicon Valley. The Missouri-based Kauffman Foundation, which was set up in the 1960s and has an asset base of around US$2bn, is a world authority on entrepreneurial innovation and economic growth. According to the foundation, over 40pc of new job growth will come from new start-up companies. The foundation works through a network of global partners to “advance an entrepreneurial society in which job creation, innovation, and the economy flourish”. The ITLG is the Irish Kauffman global…

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Now in its 15th year, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Programme for 2012 has been launched with the 24 finalists from across the island of Ireland to be announced in May. Frank O’Keeffe, partner-in-charge of the programme at Ernst & Young, commented that Ireland was now trying hard to show the first real shoots of recovery and our entrepreneurs were the true “trailblazers and champions” who would reignite our economy. The programme has created a network of finalists, now made up of more than 300 entrepreneurs, which fosters collaboration, business opportunities and generates a sense of collective pride in each other’s achievements. The shortlisted entrepreneurs will go…

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Enterprise Ireland has set up a €200,000 fund aimed at stimulating start-ups and creating jobs in the South East, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD revealed today. The Pilot Competitive Feasibility Fund is part of the South East Employment Action Plan published by the Minister last month. Funding of up to €25,000 will be provided to start-up companies with job-creating potential in the South East region, with companies in the ICT, industrial and food sectors based in Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary eligible to apply. The fund aims to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets.  It’s…

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British retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that its group sales, excluding VAT, in the 13 weeks to December 31 were up 2.4pc. Discounts helped to attract shoppers over the Christmas season but M&S said it expects trading conditions to remain challenging and it will making additional cost savings to offset a fall in profit margins due to the discounting. Meanwhile department store Debenhams said that its group like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to January 7 rose by 1.4pc as the warmer weather in October and November impacted the sale of seasonal product lines. Sales in December were stronger with sales growth of 6.5pc reported. The company said it…

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Medical device company Cook Medical is to invest up to €16.5m over the next four years creating highly skilled positions in research and development activities at its Limerick site. The new investment, which is being made with Government support through IDA Ireland, will focus on two key projects. The first involves setting up a state-of-the-art research and development laboratory, which will foster innovation through enhanced collaboration with doctors and clinicians, developing new anatomical models to provide a more realistic environment for product evaluation and testing prior to commercial release. The second will establish Cook Ireland as the key site for R&D for the Zilver product line of peripheral intervention devices.…

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Jonathan Dempsey, Digitary's CEO

DCU Invent-based company Digitary has secured funding from the UK government to build a secure document shared service for universities as part of a £12.5m investment under the Universities Modernisation Fund. The initiative will be the first service to go live in the UK’s ‘Higher Education Cloud’ which aims to bring the benefits of cloud computing to universities that have traditionally implemented standalone systems on-campus. Digitary was established as Framework Solutions in 1999 to provide security software design and development services for large corporate and third-party systems for clients such as Intel, Siemens and Baltimore Technologies. The company began working with the higher education sector in 2002 on the development…

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Beam Inc, the company that owns Jim Beam, Courvoisier, Teacher’s and Canadian Club, has entered into an agreement to buy Irish whiskey producer Cooley Distillery for approximately US$95m. Cooley, which was set up in 1987, owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands.  It currently sells approximately 250,000 9-liter cases per year – divided among its brands, private label products and bulk sales to third-party customers – and has production capacity to support substantial future growth. The purchase price is approximately US$95m on a debt-free basis. Beam expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral in 2012 and increasingly accretive moving forward. The company, which is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois…

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There is good news today for those who see their future in the biotechnology sector, as University College Dublin and Elan Corporation announce a €3m initiative designed to create a leadership position in the global biotechnology industry. The UCD Elan initiative is expected to run for at least seven years and will include a newly appointed chair position – the Business of Biotechnology, which will sit at the intersection of the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business and the UCD College of Science – as well as two new post-doctoral scholarships and an annual lecture series that highlights management leadership in the dynamic and ever-changing world of biotechnology on a…

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So far this year, about 160 companies have closed each month, with liquidations accounting for 73pc, receiverships 26pc and examinerships 1pc of the insolvencies, according to figures out from Vision-Net. In the first 11 months of this year, 1,829 companies closed, leaving behind €1.15 billion of debt. This represents five companies closing each day, which is up 20pc on the same period last year. However, so far this year, 13,382 companies started trading, compared with 12,895 in the same period last year. Of the companies that began trading this year, 14,628 directors attached to them had been involved in a business before while 23,040 other directors were setting up for…

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AIB has signed an agreement to sell its investment subsidiary, AIB Asset Management Holdings (Ireland), which includes AIB Investment Managers (AIBIM) to South African asset management company, Prescient Holdings, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012. AIB said the positive impact on the group’s capital position as a result of the transaction is not material. Irish Life & Permanent withdrew its preferred bid for the unit in April. Grainne Rothery

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