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DSO News: Business Telephone Answering

Demand for Space@Dublin BIC is high – but what makes this co-working hub different?

Monday, July 24th, 2017

If you’re looking for free coffee and bespoke furniture, you won’t find it in this new co-working hub. The benefits of Space@DublinBIC are a lot less tangible but perhaps better for the long-term success of your business.

Stepping into the lobby of the old building on Dawson Street – which also houses IBAT College Dublin – is somewhat underwhelming, especially when compared to other ‘hip’ hot desk hubs across the city.

And yet, this initial impression is soon forgotten when the sheer depth of what Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC) has to offer is understood.

“Our role in life is to support and empower entrepreneurs to start and scale businesses,” Michael Culligan, CEO of the public-private organisation tells independent.ie.

For over 25 years, Dublin BIC has been helping develop investor ready companies and providing high potential start-ups access to funding; combining EU and Government funding via Enterprise Ireland and funding through private and angel investors.

The creation of the Space@DublinBIC concept was borne from an awareness of the shortage of available space in the city – and the experience garnered from running the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC).

“Each year, we work with a large number of Enterprise Ireland high potential startup companies. Our consultants work with these firms to get a business plan together, to get a one page summary together, to get an investor deck together, all of that.

“That’s a tough love approach, you’re beating them up quite a bit and you’re really trying to get them to ask the hard questions in the first 6-8 weeks rather than in the later months.”

The firms that currently reside in Dawson Street’s Space@DublinBIC range from pre-investor ready to internationally recognised.

SwiftQueue work with hospitals and clinics to streamline healthcare appointments and enable a more efficient patient centred process;  Travelling Languages present a unique way for learning languages, and were Irish finalists for Richard Branson’s #VOOM2016; Run Last Man enables clubs and charities to raise funds for their organisations online through running sports prediction competitions.

Game development firm Black Shamrock and business analytics company RecommenderX are also startups of note who have set up shop at the city centre hub – and are constantly expanding internationally, and in terms of workforce.

Meanwhile, online platform Developer Fair is currently being guided through the ‘Investor Ready Preparation’ process to help it gain access to funding next year.

“I’m very positive about Ireland entrepreneurially. I acknowledge that with the quantity of start-ups, you are bound to have some flops; that’s just natural, but there are some really good gems there,” Mr Culligan said.

“The bar to succeed internationally is getting raised higher all the time.”

When Dublin BIC took the opportunity to take on Dame St with a focus on scaling up companies while facilitating co-working, they were overwhelmed with the attention.

“The demand for the private rooms here was incredible, we could have let this 4 or 5 times over,” Mr Culligan said.

“The biggest things for these companies is flexibility – the price of course is important – but being able to leave at the end of one or two or three months is the huge draw.

“I see opportunities for us to do Space @ Dublin BIC at a number of other locations in the city.”

In just two decades, Dublin BIC has assisted 167 businesses raise over €70m in funding. The group is a fund manager of the AIB Seed Capital Fund (current total of €53m) and manager of the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) which has invested €40m.

“The type of people who invest money in start-ups are the types of people who have taken risks themselves and built businesses,” said Mr Culligan.

“They want to help someone not to make the same mistakes that they made; they’re doing it as they believe they can help.”

Dublin BIC is currently in plans to bring a new fund to the market “particularly to address the seed funding gap in Ireland”.

“We hope to have this fund in train by the end of the year.”

 

Tips for startups – Michael Culligan, CEO, Dublin BIC

1) It’s very exciting when you get into the start up world -  but it can be very tough. Companies need to know what exactly is involved, how hard it can be financially and emotionally

2) When you’re starting a business everyone’s going to tell you how great you are and how wonderful. Dublin BIC will be that little bit tougher on companies, asking the hard questions you haven’t asked yourself.

3) Every startup thinks that they only thing that they’re missing is money. Money is very important but if you gave SMEs all the money that they want, they would spend at least half of it not as efficiently as they should do.

4) You have to do one of two things – you have to eat someone else’s lunch or you have to come up with a completely new idea. But you can’t come up with the idea too soon as you’ll spend money creating that and someone will come in a bit later and take it over.

A lot of the young start-ups do advertising campaigns while they’re kicking their ball outside the posts. Even if you raise money over the next 18 months, you are still going to be the main shareholder so you’ve got to think like a shareholder as well as being passionate.

5) Surround yourself with really good people. In my experience, business people in Ireland are very helpful and giving of their time as long as you’re very clear in your ask. Ask good people, they really will help.

 

Business leaders criticise Trump plan to block Obama-era ‘startup visas’

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

US President Donald Trump’s administration said it plans to rescind a Barack Obama-era programme that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the US to live in the country, in the president’s latest effort to constrict immigration flows.

Known as the International Entrepreneur Rule and favoured by many in the technology industry, the programme would allow non-US citizens who launched companies that won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 in venture capital investment to stay in the US for a renewable 30-month term.

Finalised in the last days of the Obama administration, it was set to take effect on July 17.

But the Trump administration announced it would delay the programme until next March as the Department of Homeland Security launches an additional review of the so-called “startup visa”.

The department indicated that in the interim, the administration would propose rescinding the programme.

“Big mistake,” said Steve Case, founder of America Online and now chief executive officer of the Revolution LLC investment fund. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are job-makers, not job-takers.”

The National Venture Capital Association, an industry trade group, criticised the step.

“At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump administration is signalling its intent to do the exact opposite,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the trade group, said.

 

Seven Irish start-ups given the secret formula for success at Coca-Cola HQ

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Check out the seven participants in the Thrive Project for 2017.

Seven of Ireland’s brightest business minds from the fastest growing food and drink start-ups in the country were selected to participate in the Thrive Project, a joint partnership between Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland.

To launch the Thrive Project for 2017, the seven entrepreneurs were invited for an intense three-day bootcamp in Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta. The programme will run for six months from June to November with a view to providing the seven start-up founders with insights, expertise and innovative ideas on branding, packaging and marketing from global experts at Coca-Cola.

Enterprise Ireland will also award the participating companies a package of supports including access to a mentor and assistance in developing a robust business plan.

The participants will be brought to London to take part in a marketing masterclass, meeting global experts on consumer insights and new product development. In another session, the entrepreneurs will meet the CEO of Innocent, the smoothie start-up that has grown to an internationally recognisable brand under the stewardship of Coca-Cola.

Both Coca-Cola and Enterprise Ireland are very proud to be helping start-ups here in Ireland. Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland said: “Coca-Cola is one of the world’s best loved brands and one of the most successful food and drink companies on the planet. As a leader in the industry, we want to share our experience and expertise with the next group of companies who all have the opportunity to become global brands.”

He added: “As a leading member of the food and drink community in Ireland, we want to play our part in nurturing the next generation of brands and helping to facilitate their growth and success as they prepare for a move into international markets.”

Orla Battersby, Head of Food Division in Enterprise Ireland, welcomed the continued success of the Thrive Project, now in its second year: “We have received excellent feedback from the companies last year on how the programme encouraged them to have global ambition and look to new markets beyond Ireland and the UK”.

“The programme combines Coca-Cola’s market and consumer insights with Enterprise Ireland’s know how in business development, allowing the founders to gain invaluable knowledge on how to go about scaling businesses and operations.”

Have a look at the seven companies selected for this year’s Thrive Project:

Nudest

This hand-held mini-meal snack pouch was developed by Fiona Keane from Tipperary incorporating all natural ingredients such as Greek yogurt, fruit and oats. This ‘grab and go’ product is aimed at adults with two flavours currently on offer with further products to be launched later this year.

Dr Coys

This start-up makes a range of healthy chocolate bars, confectionary and ingredients, designed not to spike your blood sugar. This gluten and lactose free chocolate is high in fibre and rich in Vitamin E. It is already stocked in Musgrave stores, expanding to other Irish multiples this year.

Cool Food Co.

Thought up by entrepreneurs Sarah O’Connor and Isolade Johnson, Cool Beans is a new take on traditional baked beans with their beans coming in a arrange of innovative flavours. The company has been running since 2012 and has an impressive social media following.

Everest

Mixing Greek yogurt, fruit and granola, Everest produces a range of granola cups in three flavours for breakfast on the go. Seamus who launched the business is still only in his mid-twenties, he started this successful ‘grab and go’ business with limited resources.

Hiro by Roisín

Roisín took part in BBC hit reality show The Apprentice and it acted as a launchpad for her noodle-based ready meal brand, Hiro by Roisín. Made from the flour of the Asian konjac vegetable, the noodles are low in carbs and calories and come in four varieties.

Wyldsson

David McGeady’s company sells his range of premium health foods and snacks exclusively online. His core product is a range of trail mixes in 10 different varieties, packaged in a tube so they are easy to eat on the move. The company has extended to breakfast products like nut butters and granola.

Foca

The business started off sourcing, packaging and creating single ingredient health food products like chia seeds and bee pollen but now also develops and manufactures their own high range products such as protein powders and cacao hot chocolate. They are already stocked in 600 stores in Ireland.

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