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DSO News: June, 2017 Archive


Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

New funding has been announced today for female entrepreneurs living in Cork and Limerick.

The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) project will see more than €330,000 in funding allocated to promote entrepreneurial skills amongst women in these regions, through a tailored and focused approach.

The WREN Project is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

Under the project, training programmes will include:

• Personal development and business skills training
• One to one and group mentoring
• Female ‘role model’ sharing of experience and support
• Themed networking and experiential learning events
• Formation and facilitation of the facilitated networking sessions
• A networking/business pitching event

South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD) will lead the project, working in partnership with Ballyhoura Development in Limerick and Cork Institute of Technology’s Rubicon Centre and Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence.

Speaking at the launch of WREN, Minister of State for Justice and Equality, David Stanton said, “I am delighted to announce this important funding for Cork and Limerick and know it will provide valuable support to women considering self-employment or those with a good business idea that want to create a business. SECAD and Ballyhoura Development, in partnership with CIT, will deliver a targeted, focused programme of training, mentoring and support infrastruture for women in the Region.”

Start-up database to reveal Ireland’s tech movers and shakers

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Initiative led by Niamh Bushnell aims to map, track and showcase Irish companies

A new public database aimed at providing a detailed portrait of Ireland’s start-up scene is about to go live. The initiative aims to map, track and showcase innovation across the Republic to give a full overview of the Irish technology ecosystem.

TechIreland’s primary focus is to promote Irish-born companies by developing detailed information on individual firms to a wide audience that includes investors, potential customers and the media.

Information to be collated includes key personnel, employee numbers, target markets, stages of development and amount of funds raised to date.

In addition to providing information on start-ups, the database will also include details about multinationals who have a local presence, venture capital and angel investors who have backed Irish firms, and the various tech hubs in operation.

TechIreland, which has been operating in beta version for the past year, is headed by former Dublin commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell. Sponsors include the IDA and Enterprise IrelandGoogleElkstone and Bank of Ireland.


The not-for-profit operation will seek to showcase key clusters and explore potential opportunities and trends in innovation across different sectors and regions. As part of this, TechIreland is seeking to build a team of advisers to represent 12 sectors with Prof Barry O’Sullivan (artificial intelligence), Ronan Furlong (internet of things) and Dave Anderson (fintech) among those already recruited.

Ms Bushnell, who stepped down as commissioner for start-ups in March, said TechIreland was urgently needed. “At the moment we don’t know in what areas we are strong or why we’re strong . . . We’re not able to measure how many start-ups there are, where they are based, how much money they’ve raised and what those funds have been being spent on.

“While some of this information is available from various organisations, it is poorly structured and managed and not centralised,” she said.“TechIreland is a massively ambitious task. We’ll probably never have a complete record of Ireland’s technology ecosystem but we can get as near to it as possible.”

The idea for TechIreland came after Ms Bushnell spent time at Start-up Nation Central in Tel Aviv, whose chief technology officer Omri Baumer had started a similar service called Finder that listed Israeli start-ups.

“As commissioner I often had the frustration of never having the right data and looking a bit silly when I was pitching something and was not able to tell someone how many companies we had in a particular space and how much funding they had received,” said Ms Bushnell.

“It is shocking that we don’t already have such information to hand but many other countries are in a similar situation. We’re looking to reverse that situation so that everyone will know who’s who’s in the start-up space here,” she said.


Companies included on the TechIreland database can individually update their profile but are not required to do so as their progress will be tracked by the organisation.

D-Day for TechIreland is June 28th, when it will be releasing baseline data across all the sectors and key tech domains it is currently tracking.

As of Monday last, the organisation had more than 1,264 indigenous innovation-led start-ups listed on the database with information on about 200 companies being updated per week. It also lists more than 250 multinationals, 150 global investors in Irish firms and over 100 hubs.

While the data is not complete, what has been collated so far reveals that 29 per cent of all companies tracked have received funding to date. In addition, 64 per cent have released products.

Companies in the health/medtech sector have received the most funding followed by industrial technologies, green/cleantech, telecoms and safety/security.

“Without the data we can’t see if we’re getting value for money in areas where we can build real competitive advantage. With it, we can really build up a good picture of Ireland’s tech ecosystem,” said Ms Bushnell.


Global analytics firm teams up with Irish start-up for affordable wearable sports tech

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

n analytics company that engineers wearable technology for elite sports has teamed up with an Irish start-up to make its product accessible for the amateur sportsperson.

Catapult Sports was born in 2006 after founders Shaun Holthouse and Igor van de Griendt saw an opportunity to capitalise on developing micro technology they were developing for professional athletes.

With origins in Australia, Catapult’s equipment now serves 1,250 of the world’s elite sports teams across 30 different sports, including the likes of Chelsea, NFL, NBA, Tottenham, Real Madrid and the Australian Cricket Team.

“The black box hardware (inserted into clothing we provide) tracks and transmits back to the analytics team. So when the sports magic starts to happen, we collect data back into the cloud and create actionable insights to help the player train better,” Consumer CEO of Catapult Benoit Simeray told independent.ie

However, until now, Catapult’s products have been designed with the coach of professional players as the user in mind.

But a collaboration with Dundalk-based Playertek means that amateurs (and individual players) can now get access to elite-level analytics – and at affordable prices.

The product offering has started “moving down the performance ladder and not just geared towards the professional athletes”, Mr Simeray, ex head of Tom-Tom and Jawbone, said.

“The coach and the player are not interested in tracking the same metrics.”

In April, PlayerTek launched as part of Catapult- and the group has just launched an individual consumer and individual team unit: £199 each/€229 – available at www.playertek.com or on Amazon.

The unit – which includes an advanced GPS module designed for football, along with a range of smart sensors – consists of a sensor pod and an app based platform.

The firm intends to continue to innovate in the wearable tech space by “adding more verticals that are not just based on training performance”.

“Eventually, we are looking at monitoring the levels of stress of an athlete, how the players are sleeping, a more definitive assessment of the sportsperson holistically,” said Mr Simeray.

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