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 challenges new…

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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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15 Digital Start-ups Named for Launchpad Programme

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 programme.  They have already…

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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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Chocolate shoe wins product of the year at SHOP

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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