Saturday 3 December 2016

The Weekly Read: Have a brilliant idea for a start-up?

Ekaterina Tikhoniouk

Published 21/03/2016 | 13:30

Ekaterina Tikhoniouk reports on The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2016, which is giving budding entrepreneurs the chance to win €10,000 for their business idea, as well as other business supports.

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Now in its fifth year, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition is inviting students and recent graduates from Ireland and Northern Ireland to submit their business ideas for a chance to win €10,000.

The competition is open to under-graduates, post-graduates and recent graduates (within two years of graduation). Existing start-ups can enter, as long as the applicants themselves meet the above criteria.

“As always, we’re looking for innovative business ideas from Ireland’s early stage entrepreneurs for our competition,” said Caitriona Fottrell, Vice President and Director Ireland of The Ireland Funds.

“Convince us that your business idea is the next big thing and we’ll provide you with training and support to help you both develop and pitch your idea. This competition has attracted extremely impressive and creative ideas in the past and we look forward to receiving a wide variety of applications again this year,” she added.

Up to ten individuals or teams will be selected and given the chance to solidify their business ideas, receiving mentoring and feedback throughout the process.

At the final on June 22nd, a panel of leading entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists from Ireland and the US will review the finalists’ business plans and select the winners.

The winner will receive €10,000, whilst two runners up will receive €5,000 and €1,000 respectively.

The aim of the competition is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, and previous winning and short-listed entries have gone on to have great success.

They range from Ollwyn Moran, whose business Creeper Crawlers now has three ranges of clothing for babies, to the 2013 runners-up Katie and Patricia Tsuoros, whose start-up Artfetch is quickly becoming the go-to online tool in Ireland for buying original artwork.

While 2012 winner Lukas Decker's start up, Coindrum, now has self-service machines that convert unwanted coins into airport shopping vouchers in Irish airports.

Lukas Decker talked about the impact that participating in the competition had:

“The Business Plan Competition marked the transition of Coindrum from an idea to a well thought-out business proposition. And most importantly, I met Declan Ryan of Ryanair, who was one of the competition judges and became my founding investor during the final pitch.”

So, if you think you have the next big business idea (or an existing start-up) and want a chance of winning €10,000 for your venture, apply online at www.theirelandfunds.org/bpc by April 7th, 2016.

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