Conker wins NDRC’s Lift Off competition

Irish start-up Conker has won the National Digital Research Centre’s Lift Off competition, which will give it access to a €40,000 investment fund. Conker aims to help game developers to earn more from free-to-play titles. It increases revenue for free-to-play game developers by tracking and analysing the behaviour of successful players who have purchased items and using that information to influence the behaviour of other players. Conker pitched against 14 other start-ups in a competition which was held in front of an audience of investors and mentors as well as a judging panel. Tempity, An online platform which directly connects recruitment agencies with available temps, took second place and access to…

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AJ Noonan is new chairman of the Small Firms Association

AJ Noonan is new chairman of the Small Firms Association AJ Noonan, managing director, Rhonellen Group

Managing director of healthcare company Rhonellen Group AJ Noonan has been elected as the new chairman of the Small Firms Association (SFA). Based in Dublin, Rhonellen Group is involved in the provision and management of healthcare infrastructure. It is currently working with the HSE in relation to its Health Strategy 2001 which outlined plans to provide primary care centres throughout Ireland. Noonan was educated at the College of Commerce Rathmines. He has been self-employed since 1990, initially in recruitment and laterally in development. He has been a National Council member of the SFA for over 10 years and has played an active role in promoting the association in that time.…

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Confidence boost needed to drive female entrepreneurship

Ann O'Brien, MD of Kent Stainless, winner of the Exporter of the Year 2012 with Colin Lawlor and Minister

The increased focus recently on female entrepreneurship is a natural evolution and the time is right to create the environment where more women have the confidence to set up and run their own businesses, according to David Thomas managing director, Corporate Banking Division, Ulster Bank. “There are already some great models in various fields and we are now at the point in the US where the split is nearly 50:50 in terms of men and women opening businesses,” he said. “Europe is nothing like as good as this. In Ireland, the ratio is around three to one with start-ups and two to one for men and women running businesses. So…

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Dates for National Business Expo announced

The National Business Expo, partnered by Grant Thornton and Bank of Ireland, will take place on Friday 8 March and Saturday 9 March 2013 in the RDS. Last year some 2,200 Irish people started their own business each month and this Expo is designed to support Irish entrepreneurs in accelerating their companies. It will feature practical advice with a strong emphasis on start-ups, small-to-medium business and those looking to export, and will have four main business centres – one focused on finance; professional advice; business support and business services. Speaking in relation to the event, Miriam O’Connor, National Business Expo, said: “As a start-up ourselves we have experienced first-hand the…

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InterTradeIreland unlocks public sector opportunities for SMEs

The latest InterTradeIreland all-island Meet the Buyer event held today in Kilkenny has attracted over 500 SMEs who were keen to gain information on how to unlock a public sector procurement market worth up to €20bn. Today’s event held in Kilkenny was opened by Minister John Perry TD, Minister of State for small business. The event provided an opportunity for buyers and suppliers alike to meet and engage in one location. SMEs gained access to buyers to better understand their needs and got an opportunity to showcase new and innovative products and services. InterTradeIreland’s all island Meet the Buyer events are designed to raise awareness and understanding of the public procurement market. In Kilkenny specifically SMEs gained…

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Vicinity Systems is Irish winner in international satnav awards

Tech start-up Vicinity Systems was yesterday named the Irish winner at the European Space Agency’s satnav technology awards, the Galileo Masters, which were presented in Munich. As well as winning the regional prize, Vicinity Systems was shortlisted for the ESA Special Prize for Innovation, and was runner up for the Global Technology award. The technology under development by Vicinity Systems increases the driving range of electric vehicles.  Through integration with in-car satnav, the technology analyses all potential routes to a destination and calculates the most power efficient, taking account of mountains, traffic and other obstacles that consume battery power. The Galileo Masters, also known as the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC),…

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Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Competition Winners Announced

The four category winners have been announced in the Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Competition taking place as part of the Web Summit. Tjobs SA,  Movable Ink , Ovelin  and Social Fortress  were presented with trophies on the main stage at 9am as recognition for being the leaders in their respective categories – Mobile, Social, Consumer and Enterprise. The category winners will now compete in the semi-finals presenting to the judges, led by Chief Judge Jawed Karim co-founder of YouTube , and leading international investors (Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Atomico, Accel and many others). The overall Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Winner will be announced at 4.30 today and awarded for a cash prize fund of…

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UCC Spin-Out Keelvar Raises €750,000 for Expansion

UCC spin-out Keelvar raises €750,000 for expansion Pictured: Minister Richard Bruton and Alan Holland

Cork-based Keelvar Systems has secured €750,000 in a funding round led by ACT Venture Capital and with investment from Enterprise Equity and Enterprise Ireland. The UCC spin-out said the funding would be used to increase staff numbers to 18 and expand the company’s innovative procurement optimization service for large-scale government tenders and multinational companies. The investment was made from seed funds supported by AIB, with lead investor ACT sourcing its share from its AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund and Enterprise Equity investing from the AIB Seed Capital Fund. “Keelvar is a company which has spun out of Government-supported university research, has now obtained funding from the markets, will shortly have created…

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Elavon launches MobileMerchant chip and PIN payment system in Ireland

Elavon, a wholly owned subsidiary of US Bancorp, has announced the Irish launch of its secure chip and PIN MobileMerchant smartphone card processing system. According to the company, MobileMerchant, which is aimed at small – and particularly mobile – businesses, had a “highly successful” world market launch in the UK in January 2012. The MobileMerchant system transforms mobile devices into payment terminals, allowing businesses to accept card payments quickly and securely anywhere and at any time. The MobileMerchant payment app is paired with a chip and PIN card reader, allowing payments to be processed using BlackBerry or Android smartphones and tablets. “Elavon is excited to extend this innovative and secure…

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€100k prize up for grabs in Spark of Genuis competition

The finalists of the Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Competition have been revealed, with the winner to be announced at the Dublin Web Summit on 18 October with a prize fund worth €100,000. The competition, now in its third year, focuses on the most promising high potential startups in Ireland. Some 1,000 entries have been shortlisted to 100, who will be offered an opportunity to pitch to leading international investors, including Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Atomico and Accel, industry leaders and startup experts at the Dublin Web Summit in the RDS. Paddy Cosgrave, CEO, Web Summit said “This is the third year of the Electric Ireland Spark of…

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