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DSO News: Virtual office dublin

Tipperary solar water pump inventor wins big at National Ploughing Championships

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

There were 11 winners at Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards at the National Ploughing Championships, including a solar water pump.

The National Ploughing Championships has been a fixture in the Irish agricultural market for decades but, in the past few years, it has risen to become an international showcase for some of Ireland’s leading agritech start-ups and inventors, too.

At this year’s edition of Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards, 11 awards were handed out for individuals and companies that are considered leaders in the field.

Among the winners was Bryan Davis, inventor and founder of Tipperary-based Solar Pump Solutions, who was named as this year’s Young Innovator for his start-up that offers farmers a renewable energy solution to pumping water off the main grid.

Davis was also named as the event’s overall winner and recipient of the Alfred Cox Founder’s Cup Perpetual Trophy for his contribution to agritech.

Cork-based Remote Signals, which connects devices to the internet of things, was named as this year’s Agri-Engineering Start-Up winner, with Equilume – a familiar name to Siliconrepublic.com readers – named as the Agritech Established Company winner.

Strong reflection of agritech innovation

The total prize fund this year is in excess of €70,000, including a top prize worth more than €15,000 for the most innovative start-up.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards are a strong reflection of the high level of agritech innovation, and provide an important platform for established companies and start-ups to showcase their innovations to international buyers attending the event from across the world.

“Recognising the value and potential of the agri-sector to drive economic growth and export sales, Enterprise Ireland is supporting the sector to innovate and create new business opportunities across the world.”

This year, more than 100 buyers from global regions – including the US, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Africa and Europe – are expected to visit the Enterprise Ireland arena to see what Ireland has to offer.

The full list of award winners can be seen below.

Overall Winner

Solar Pump Solutions

Young Innovator

Bryan Davis of Solar Pump Solutions

Agri-Engineering Start-Up

Remote Signals Ltd

Agri-Engineering Large Established Company

Keenan (an Alltech company)

Agri-Engineering SME

Samco Agricultural Manufacturing Ltd

Agri-Technology Start-Up

OneClick Accounts

Agri-Technology Established Company



Ozone Industries

Research Emerging from Third Level

DIT Hothouse

Safety Award

Safe Shaft Systems

International Award

Agrispeed Ltd

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.


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