FOR internet start-ups, and indeed start-ups across the board, one of the biggest problems of the bust has been the removal of the banks from the seed capital space.
It's impossible to tell how many potential businesses, have been suffocated by the apparent lack of credit in the market.
In many other countries, entrepreneurs who would have relied on banks have rarely used them. Instead they have gone to angel investors and pitched for investment.
To the public, the most obvious example of an angel investor appears on the TV show 'Dragon's Den'. In reality, however, few angels are worth €250m and nobody is stroking piles of cash in front of them. In simple terms, an angel is a person who invests in start-up companies looking for a return on their money within five to seven years.
With the downturn cutting off credit, the angel investor is a route now being taken by more and more start-up companies, and yet angels are relatively thin on the ground here compared to elsewhere.
To that end, the Halo Business Angels Network has been holding a series of events to bring angels together to share knowledge and perhaps pool their resources. HBAN director Diane Roberts takes up the story.
"We're trying to create investment groups who can come together and source opportunities so that they can evaluate and invest together. Our investment syndicates are growing. Last quarter we did just under a million euro and this quarter we expect to invest somewhere between €1m and €1.5m.
HBAN have brought in Keith Wallace, a Dutch based investment expert, to share expertise with potential investors. To him, being an angel is a lot more than just putting up money and leaving it at that.
"An angel investor is someone who wants to build a relationship with an entrepreneur. They are motivated by self interest because they want a return on investment (ROI) but it's also about working together. It's the fun part of business.
ROI is one of the motivations; probably the principal one but there is a lot more to it.
"If the entrepreneur is only interested in the money and the angel is only interested in ROI then this is probably the wrong place for them."
One of the difficulties with angel investing is that often the wrong entrepreneur can end up with the wrong investor. That is one of the key issues the HBAN network hopes to resolve.
"We're working to get to a point where our investors can be matched with the right entrepreneurs. All our investors are listed at our website (hban.org) and we're trying to match the right people together."
BARNARDOS has launched its pre-budget campaign titled "Dreading December 2010". The campaign was devised by Dublin design and brand agency Creative Inc., and aims at challenging the government to leave the children, with nothing left to give, alone in Budget 2011.
Accompanying the report is a film documentary shot in Dolphin House which tells the story of what the recession means to children and families in Ireland. This documentary can be viewed at www.barnardos.ie.
Barnardos chief executive, Fergus Finlay, said: "What's being called the worst budget in the history of the State is looming and there's a real sense of dread in communities across the country". The message is conveyed through the use of a "writing on the wall" approach with hard hitting language. It is hoped this message will get through to Government.
NOMINATIONS are being sought throughout the island for finalists to participate in the 2011 All Ireland Marketing Awards, run by the Marketing Institute of Ireland.
Entries are submitted online and the closing date is February 17. A panel of expert adjudicators will meet the finalists and select the winners before a Gala Dinner on Thursday, May 12 at The Burlington Hotel, Dublin. Full details are available at www.aimawards.ie
FLAHAVAN'S are looking for funny morning photographs for its 'Stir Up a Smile' Facebook competition. Created to celebrate everything great about breakfast, Flahavan's hope their Facebook page brings a smile to people's faces on dreary winter mornings. Dolores Whelan, brand manager at Flahavan's said, "Our new Facebook page is a great way to engage with our customers in a light-hearted way". Facebook.com/flahavans