Business and Leadership Ltd.

Following an intense competition, 15 high-potential digital start-ups have been identified from a field of almost 100 applicants for the NDRC Launchpad acceleration programme, which started last week. NDRC Launchpad will culminate in a year-end Liftoff competition for a follow-on investment sourced from venture capitalists and private investors. The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) is fuelling the Launchpad participants with up to €20,000 in micro-seed investment for each business during the programme, plus a structured programme of hands-on mentoring during the 12 weeks from the NDRC which includes executives with experience in start-ups, multinational companies, venture capital investment, and research. The new Launchpad entrepreneurs have brought a diverse range of innovative ideas to the…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

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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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Artisan confectionary producer Skelligs Chocolates from Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry has won the Overall Product of the Year at the SHOP trade expo for its chocolate shoe product. Established in 1996, Skelligs was awarded €2,000 of retail support intelligence from awards sponsor, Shelfspace, alongside the prestige of being named as the number one product at SHOP. “For the past year, we have worked tirelessly to ensure our chocolate shoes look exquisite whilst tasting great,” said Colm Healy, proprietor of Skelligs Chocolates.  “We hope that this national recognition will continue to open doors with new customers and will expand our newly rebranded range with existing customers.” A small family-run business, Skelligs opened…

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Paul Rellis, MD, Microsoft Ireland and Marc O'Dwyer, CEO, Big Red Book

Irish accountancy and software company Big Red Book has launched a new cloud-based solution, which will mean the creation of 12 new jobs over the next year. Hosted on Microsoft’s cloud platform Windows Azure, the new solution is called Big Red Cloud. Big Red Book’s services are currently used by over 17,000 SMEs in Ireland and the UK. The new service solution enables customers to move all their accounts data to the cloud with the flexibility of adding unlimited users and free access for their accountant. A recent trial of Big Red Cloud with current Big Red Book subscribers resulted in 36pc of trial participants converting to the cloud within…

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MyBuilder launches survey to find best builders' breakfast Ryan Notz, MyBuilder founder

A café or diner is to be named the home of the ‘Best Builders’ Breakfast in Britain’ in November further to a survey of 63,000 tradesmen launched today. Online venture MyBuilder , which matches reviewed tradesmen with the homeowners who need to hire them, is doing the survey.. It has over 63,000 plumbers, electricians, painters, plasterers and other tradesmen on its books, enabling householders to arrange everything from changing a washer to building an extension online. Nearly 500,000 jobs have been posted on the site since it was founded by US-born stonemason Ryan Notz. Posting a job on the site is free. MyBuilder operates by charging builders, primarily when they get…

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Six companies collapsed each day this month – Vision-net Six Irish companies collapsed each day this month, with more company closures than start-ups so far this year, according to the latest figures from Vision-net, a business and credit risk analyst. Vision-net’s figures, covering the period between 1–28 August, reveal that 165 companies were declared insolvent – down 13pc on the same month last year. Of those, 99 were liquidated, 64 entered receivership, and an examiner was appointed to two companies. A county-by-county breakdown shows that Dublin accounted for 42pc of all insolvencies in August, with Limerick second highest on 14pc and Meath third with 5pc of the total. Cork, Galway and…

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Des Kenny, business development manager, Bitbuzz and Adrian Grimes, Head of Food & MSA Operations, Applegreen

Irish Wi-Fi provider Bitbuzz has signed a deal to provide complimentary Wi-Fi access to the customers of forecourt retailer Applegreen. The deal means Bitbuzz Wi-Fi is now available at all six Applegreen motorway service stations, which are located at the M4 Enfield East and West, M1 Lusk North and South and M1 Castlebellingham North and South. Shane Deasy, managing director, Bitbuzz, said the initial uptake from both smartphone and laptop users at all six locations has been stronger than expected. “This new deal fits in well with our 2012 goal of providing superior Wi-Fi access at all major transport hubs in Ireland.” Adrian Grimes, head of food and MSA operations,…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

An iPhone app development company based in Co Leitrim, Infinite Touch, has developed three apps aimed at to putting parents’ minds at rest. The inspiration for the elaboration of the Fetal Sleep Tracker, Contraction Tracker, and Baby Feed Tracker Plus by Infinute Touch founder Andy Dunn was the upcoming birth of his daughter, due this September. Baby Feed Tracker Plus is the latest app he has released on the iTunes store. “Having built the Fetal Sleep Tracker and Contraction Tracker apps, I identified a gap in the market for an easy to use baby feed tracker app. “Other apps are cluttered with unnecessary features. As I had read many books for new parents ahead of the birth of my…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

Demonstrating evidence of demand tends to be a significant ‘blind spot’ evident among many entrepreneurs, writes Alan Gleeson, founder of Palo Alto Software and Smallbusinesscan contributor. Providing real evidence that there is an actual demand for the “thing” that is being sold is an important step. Believe it or not, a lot of business owners fail to grasp this concept, as it is their belief that there just needs to be a great idea and great people behind it. This is why there is such a high rate of failure amongst new businesses. Lack of leadership and planning. Instead of facing the harsh reality that their idea might be less…

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Business and Leadership Ltd.

The director of the Small Firms Association, Patricia Callan, has released the findings of the SFA’s Autumn Employment Survey which shows that the economy has stabilised and that many firms are returning to growth and intend to create new jobs. The survey was undertaken at the end of July and 628 of a sample of 2,000 SFA members responded. Some 47pc of respondents stated that their business was growing at present, with 43pc stating that they were maintaining their position in the marketplace and 10pc stating that their business was declining. In relation to jobs, 42pc of firms planned to increase their employment levels, of which 7pc were increasing them…

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