This is a guest post from Alicia Hunt, of the Irish Software Association. More info on what EI is doing for Software Companies looking for Investment (here on BestConnected)

If you are a software company seeking funding, legal advice and mentoring, then you should be applying for this year’s ISA Software Investor Forum. This forum, organised by the Irish Software Association, the Irish Venture Capital Association and HBAN is both a ‘pitching competition’ and a workshop for all scaling companies looking to grow their business.

Companies will be given a platform to pitch their product or service to a panel of established investors. This is a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to connect with venture capitalists and business angels on the look out for new business opportunities. All participants will receive constructive feedback from the panel. For some it could result in investment in their company.

The forum will be attended by a number of accomplished serial entrepreneurs including Iona co-founder Sean Baker, Helix Health CEO Howard Beggs and Holignment CEO Declan Kavanagh, who will answer your questions and offer advice on a range of business issues. If you are having difficulties navigating legal issues like shareholding and IP protection, Thérèse Rochford from WhitneyMoore will also be on hand to answer your questions.

The closing date for applications is the 13th April 2012 and the event will be taking place in the Guinness Enterprise Centre on 10th of May 2012

If you think your company has the potential to be the ISA Software Investor Forum Company of 2012 apply now!


Planning a new venture? Ireland is the best location in the world for startups. Fact.

The World Bank, recently ranked Ireland as the top country in Europe for starting a company.

As well as hosting some of Europe’s top accelerator programs, Ireland has a high rate of seed and venture capital availability.

Ireland’s population is young, highly innovative, well-educated and multi-lingual.

Strategically located with easy access to the important markets in Europe, US and the middle east. Ireland is the only English speaking country in the Euro-zone.

Ireland is a great place to live and work.

This St. Patricks Day, We want you to spread the message;

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets with a dedicated startup support team. Every year we assist hundreds of companies across technology, medical, biotech, games and other sectors as they take on the world from Ireland. We provide equity investment, expert mentors, incubation programs and a unique global network of 30 offices to accelerate your growth.To find out more, go to



This is a guest post from Mary Carty, a participant in IGAP 1. We in Enterprise Ireland are delighted to announce that they we are planning to run a further Internet Growth Acceleration Programme in Quarter 4 of 2012

Participating in iGap 1 changed everything. From working with Sean EllisOren MichelsJustin KnechtCathy Winston and Brian Caulfield many things become abundantly clear and you find yourself becoming an evangelist about lean startupcustomer development and most of all, being passionate about your customers.

As well as applying what I have learned to my own company, I have been blogging about bringing this thinking to the arts and cultural sector. From this, I have been invited to mentor on Growing Pains, a business development programme for 12 Danish and Swedish female Transmedia producers. Held over six months, participants will engage in modules on developing new services, financing, media training, sales, presentation skills, business development and investment. In May, they will take part in Nordic Game, one of the largest game conferences in Europe.


Image (c) with thanks

Growing pains came from a report investigating the barriers facing Transmedia producers when seeking government support in Scandinavia. The researchers looked at funding, management and financing among others. Research found that male and female producers site similar needs for support access to funding, mentorship, investment, networking etc. It showed that more women than men apply for government funding from this sector, yet very few of them are successful.


When looking at risk taking for example, it observed that on average, men take bigger risks with significantly larger losses, should the enterprise not work out. Men also look for larger revenue deals than women. Whereas, females are less risk averse, with often a more sustainable company over the lifetime of that enterprise. Many female producers felt they needed more knowledge and training before making the leap into business, while men on the other hand, threw themselves into the enterprise.

While these findings are not new; proportionately more men successfully accessing support and being more open to risk taking; it does point to a specific need when developing enterprise development programmes for women. Why such a large proportion of women do not succeed in accessing public supports is worth examining. Putting mechanisms in place to deal with specific skills gaps is crucial to the future success and development of these entrepreneurs.

It is also important to look at risk, how women view risk when starting a business and to challenge these perceptions. Motivation and perception are very necessary ingredients when starting out, as these motivations may differ significantly from person to person and between males and females. In understanding, supporting and challenging these issues, skills gaps and perceptions, programmes like Growing Pains will help build pathways to success for female entrepreneurs everywhere.

Why is a programme like this so necessary for Transmedia right now? Digital production and distribution has made old value chains, distribution and business models obsolete. This is a great challenge for the public support system. At the same time, this new disruptive technology is the keystone for Transmedia producers’ success; to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, to thinking beyond public project financing, in developing and exploiting brands and being innovative in finding alternate sources of funding.

The measure of success for any new programme is the traction and buzz it gains. And Growing Pains is no different, as applications to this first programme were well over subscribed. This shows there is a definite need for programmes like this and I know that it will prove to be a valuable contribution to these entrepreneurs’ success.


I am extremely fortunate to be working with two visionary leaders in this field; Cecilie Stranger-Thorsen who devised the programme and Angeli Sjöström process and implementation coach. Both Cecilie and Angeli bring the best thinking and an in-depth knowledge of this field together and I’m looking forward to learning lots from them. The Growing Pains programme is funded under the EU Regional Development Fund in partnership with Nordic Game Resources.



I believe that as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, Ireland is a great place to both live andwork. A young, vibrant, well educated workforce, many sources of investment including our recently launched €10m International Start-up Fund that there are many benefits to starting your company here.

As a world leader in key innovative sectors (including technologyand internet, life sciences, gaming and financial services) and home to world-leading companies including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zynga, Havok, Big Fish Games, Citibank, Google, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Pfizer; to name but a few, we believe that Ireland is THE place to locate your start-up.

View the full brochure (pdf) – Six reasons why you should locate in Ireland.

Want to know more? Contact me via Email, Naghmeh.Reilly[at] or via LinkedIn.

With 3 out of the top 8 business accelerators in Europe based in Ireland, here in Enterprise Ireland we are determined to help Irish startups succeed. We’re also convinced that Ireland is the best place for entrepreneurs worldwide to come and start their business.

The application process for one of the top 8, DCU Ryan Academy’s Propeller Venture Accelerator, has just opened. This award-winning accelerator has a tremendous amount on offer for smart, winning entrepreneurs: €30K investment, over 60 mentors (including serial entrepreneurs and product/business specialists), office space and a demo-day.

The snag? There isn’t one – you get all this for a 6.5% equity stake, which is surely the bargain of the century.

Summary of DCU Propellor offering

The primary aim of Propeller is to boost early stage technology start-up companies with an emphasis on software, Web 2.0, informatics, clean-tech and applications.

Paul Healy, CEO Fantom and a noted serial entrepreneur, is full of praise for the venture:

Winning a place on the inaugural Propeller Venture Accelerator was like being plucked off the bus and placed on the bullet train for our business. We were given access to the most senior Irish business talent and an inside track to the Irish and international investment community.

Interest in the application process has come from far and wide, with expressions of interest outside Ireland from USA, UK, France, Israel and Portugal. The closing date for applications is November 2nd,  although applicants are advised to apply early. The accelerator starts with the companies moving to Citywest, Co Dublin, on January 2nd next year. For more information visit the Propeller Website and get the Propeller PDF brochure.

Not in Dublin? Enterprise Ireland support a range of business incubators nationwide (list at bottom of this blogpost).


As Michael Caine might say – not many people know this! According to a recent TechCocktail report  Ireland has three of the top eight start-up accelerators in Europe – despite having less than one per cent of the European population.I reckon this is an important piece of news that needs to be put out there, particularly in the context of private sector funding sources for start-ups and early stage companies.

Another snippet of information I picked up recently is that in the past few years over 35 overseas VCs have invested in Irish start-ups and/or early stage companies. Apparently, these VCs find the quality of the start-ups, the advantages of the country’s business and tax environment and our proximity to the main European VC centres extremely appealing. As you know by this stage, Enterprise Ireland has goodrelationships with many of these VCs and is, therefore, in a good position to to arrange introductions.

I think this is one of the many good news stories about Ireland that we really need to tell people about, especially people looking for a good start up location.

Any ideas on how best to do that? Thoughts and feedback welcome

Lorcan O’Sullivan is working to attact more entreprenuers to Ireland, one of the best environments in the world to do business (youtube). Interested? Get in touch with him at Lorcan[dot]OSullivan@enterprise-ireland[dot]com

Update: Techcrunch has more on this announcement Startup Bootcamp adding Dublin to the list.

At the Dublin Web Summit (DWS) today,  Startupbootcamp announced Dublin as the latest addition to it’s European network providing seed funding and mentorship to technology startups. Applications to the first Dublin accelerator program open in Summer 2011, online at The Dublin program will be run by Eoghan Jennings, formerly CFO of XING, one of Europe’s most successful recent Internet startups.

Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

This exciting new accelerator firmly positions Ireland as a place where entrepreneurship thrives, and where entrepreneurs of any nationality can come to grow their businesses. The things that make Ireland great still exist – our people, our innovation capability, our global reach. And now, we are more experienced, more capable and more competitive than ever – with a highly skilled workforce and a modern dynamic economy

Eoghan explains:

“we are convinced that now is a fantastic time to be starting a technology startup and Dublin is a great place from which to grow a company”. While Luis Rivera, Manager of Startupbootcamp in Madrid said: “We are thrilled to to be joingin forces with Eoghan, and to leverage his experience to help us achieve our ambitious plans”

The Dublin program will offer also feature (more…)

This is a guest post from Gordon McConnell, Deputy CEO and Director of the Propeller Accelerator’ at DCU.

In what is seen to be one of the most important developments in Dublin’s status as a major game player in the area of web and technology start-ups, the DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator (a mentor-led seed accelerator that funds very early stage tech companies in areas such as software, hardware, cleantech and internet) has joined TechStars Network (a recently launched White House-sponsored alliance of independently owned and operated start-up accelerator programs from dozens of cities across the US and around the world).

As a member of TechStars Network, the Propeller Accelerator will have access to an abundant range of strategic resources, including professional development and ongoing support that will effectively lead and mentor innovative entrepreneurs in Ireland. The Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator was only one of three accelerators in Europe, and one of five in the world, chosen to be charter members of TechStars. Based upon the mentorship-driven model pioneered by TechStars, all these programmes provide seed funding and mentorship to innovative entrepreneurs.


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