From Dragon's Den to @Irishbizparty - the online SME advice centre
WHEN the investors on Dragon's Den didn't bite at Samantha Kelly's 'Funky Goddess' idea back in 2012, she turned her focus on the internet to create a Twitter SME advice centre, which now has hundreds of members.
And while the original business, a modern girl's first period gift box including an information booklet, a hot water bottle and little pieces of jewellery, was sold later that year, she had already established @Irishbizparty – the online Twitter forum for SMEs.
"It was born out of frustration," said Wexford-based Kelly.
"The recession was still in full swing and it was hard to get good advice. While there were network events out there, sometimes I didn't have the €20 to attend and I was coming to these evenings with the petrol gauge on 'E'."
So one evening, sitting on her couch, she sent out a tweet – a shout-out – to small business owners on @irishbizparty.
Now with 600 members, #Irishbizparty is a trending topic (most discussed) on Twitter almost every Wednesday evening from 9pm to 11pm when the SMEs come together to offer advice on funding, marketing, etc to fellow business owners. There is also a Facebook presence for those who don't use Twitter.
She now runs @Irishbizparty with Aidan O'Carroll of Avalanche Designs and Club Colours founder Chris McGillicuddy.
Kelly also gives Twitter workshops at DIT Aungier Street and locations countrywide as well as one-to-one consultations (see here)
@Irishbizparty members meet up in different locations around the country on a monthly basis – the next meet-up is in Dublin on March 6.
"These meetings are also an important part of the @irishbizparty ethos, it means we get to meet fellow members face to face," she added.
Each week a business is chosen to host the Wednesday Twitter forum and from this week Independent.ie will showcase the winning company.
And in the small business section of Independent.ie, the winner will offer top tips to similar businesses on a weekly basis.
Follow @indobusiness and @irishbizparty tonight to stay informed.