Networking doesn’t have to be hard

Networking events are a wonderful opportunity to engage with the Business community. However, for most introverts it is a necessary evil and not the easiest thing to do.

So, how do you overcome the internal “fear” if you are terribly shy, or, just how to network properly?

Here are 6 things to consider as a starting point. Networking doesn’t have to be hard.

  1. Set a goal – What do you want to achieve from attending the event? Be mindful of why you are there.
  2. Show up – People engagement is key.
  3. Do the people you meet have the means to connect? – Have professional business cards.
  4. Be prepared to talk about your Business – prepare a piece in advance so that you are always ready to talk about what it is your Business is.
  5. Get into actual conversations – related to your business or not, share thoughts and insights on relevant topics. Be subtle, know the when the time is right to plug your Business.
  6. Follow up – connect with key contacts (keep in mind your goal) straight away while the event, and your discussion during the event, can still be easily recalled.

Happy Networking! 

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LINC New Frontiers Graduate Promo Pads Shortlisted for Seedcorn

LINC New Frontiers Graduate Promo Pads Shortlisted for Seedcorn!

What is Seedcorn?

The Seedcorn competition mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve your ability to attract investment for your business by helping you and your business become investor ready. The competition is aimed at early and new start companies that have a new equity funding requirement and has a total cash prize fund of €280,000.

Congratulations to Diarmaid and his team on this achievement.

To find out more about Promo Pads visit http://www.promo-pads.com/

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Why you should apply for New Frontiers Programme…

We are now recruiting for Phase One

The New Frontiers Programme is Enterprise Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme. If you have an innovative business idea and are planning to establish and run your own company, the New Frontiers Programme could be for you.

As part of New Frontiers, we provide knowledge intensive, export oriented companies with a package of supports to help accelerate the business and to equip you with the skills and contacts that you need to successfully start and grow your company.

So why should you apply for New Frontiers? What are the main benefits of the programme?

  • The programme is impartial, and doesn’t take any equity stake in the start-ups it supports. It is also a national programme, offering regional access to applicants.
  • New Frontiers Phase 2 offers participants a tax-free stipend of up to €15,000, or €2,500 for each of the six months of the programme. This scholarship is paid to the participating entrepreneur, not to the business.
  • Because both Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices network are involved throughout the programme, participants can quickly connect with relevant staff and funding programmes in these agencies, such as Enterprise Ireland’s innovation vouchers, or Competitive Start Fund or HPSU investment.
  • Participants can access R&D facilities and tap into specialist expertise from within the Institutes, and may be able to easily access interns.
  • Applicants can carry out invaluable primary and secondary market research at Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre.
  • Hot-desk and other incubation facilities.
  • Training, mentoring and support.

Here is what some of our past participants have said of New Frontiers:

“The New Frontiers program gave us the knowledge, support and 

mentoring we needed, at exactly the right time for our business, setting Promo Pads up to move forward in the best way possible for the business.” – Diarmaid Murphy, PromoPads
“The New Frontiers programme has been an invaluable experience on the road to building a successful, scalable international start-up. New Frontiers gave me first-hand access to some of the smartest minds in Irish business, investors, technical developers, and their wealth of expertise. And helped me build a network of supportive fellow ‘Start-up’ers’ whose shared highs and lows have been worth their weight in gold. I’d highly recommend the programme to anyone with a great idea looking to develop it into a thriving business.” – Darryl Gibney, Wellclik.com

“New Frontiers has been a life-changing experience. Having the opportunity to learn and grow with like-minded individuals in a structured environment, led by industry experts has provided a world-class education in how to run a business. The program has assisted in covering virtually all of the facets needed to test a business model’s feasibility and indeed deploy it in the real world. I would highly recommend New Frontiers to anyone that would like to de-risk their business model.” – Steffan Jolley, OrderPoint Solutions Ltd.

 

Apply Now for Phase One

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New Frontiers Logo 

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Begin your Startup adventure with the LINC & accelerate your business development!

BootcampPhaseOne

Apply at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uYV2VC_csLKONlzFmi2u6rXr4DhqZQkPQx-5SC_C8fc/viewform?edit_requested=true

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Hiring interns for your startup: Top Tips

Originally published on Newfrontiers.ie 
Written by LINC Manager, Ms Claire Mac Namee

Hiring an intern can be a great way of bootstrapping a particular source of expertise into your startup during early-stage, when you may not have the resources to support hiring a fully fledged employee. It is really important, however, to note that interns should not be viewed as ‘free hired help’ or ‘personal slaves’ for the hiring entrepreneur.

If this is what your idea of hiring interns is, then you can guarantee that the person will more than likely walk out after a few days and hey, who would blame them! Only hire an intern if you are willing to commit some time to helping them grow and develop in return for them offering their skills to help your startup grow and develop.

Interns should leave feeling that:

1. They learned something valuable and had an experience that adds value to their CV
2. They were exposed to experiences that has developed their skills and potential career path
3. They were valued and treated fairly by their receiving company

A question people often ask is why they haven’t received many applications for an internship position that they have advertised. The answer is usually that they published a boring, generic job spec, solely focused on what the receiving company wants from the person with no mention of what the intern will receive in return. With a regular paid role, the onus is on the applicant to sell their skills in return for a nice salary package, however with an internship the dynamic is different. The receiving company has to sell to the candidate in a compelling way why they should impart their skills and services for a very low or nominal fee and what, besides money, the receiving company can provide to the candidate in return for these skills.

Job specification guidelines

The following section outlines some headings that some startup companies have found useful in developing specifications for roles that have arisen within their companies.

1. Job title & type

A descriptive job title (try to come up with an interesting title that an intern may find useful to have on their CV when they eventually are looking for gainful employment, and also one that will garner some interest amongst potential applicants!). Also mention if the internship is full time or part time, and the contract duration.

2. Location

Company name and address of the offices where the intern will be posted.

3. Description of the company

Give a 100 word overview of your business; where you’ve come from, where you are going with the business and the type of culture that exists within the organisation. Keep this fresh and interesting and avoid using jargon!

4. Description of the role

Include a bullet point description of the areas of responsibility that the candidate would have within the role. When complete, read it back to yourself; does it sound enticing and interesting? If you were a 22 year old graduate, would it make you want to apply? Get the views of others, maybe even ask some interns that are working in other startups in your network. You will probably get some great advice!

5. Learnings & rewards

Remember, an internship doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that a paid graduate roles comes with – therefore you need to sell the role and incentivise people to apply by positioning the role in an attractive way. In this section, you will list what the intern will receive in return for their commitment to your company. Include the areas of development that they will encounter, the exciting innovations they will be exposed to, the dynamic nature of being involved with an SME, the background of the person they will work most closely with or learn from, the networks they will get to mix with, the possibilities for progression or future employment, future possibilities within the firm, learning and/or training opportunities, as well as expenses or payments or bonuses awarded. Perhaps €50 p/w expenses or a performance-related bonus could apply. Include whatever is appropriate for the situation. Read it back, put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself again: if you were a graduate, would you apply?

6. Experience & qualifications required

Make sure to be clear about any experience that is required – e.g. previous office environment experience, or whatever is appropriate for the situation – and what qualification you would like the candidate to have (diploma, degree, masters, etc.).

7. How to apply

Include full contact details, method of applying and closing date in this section.

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Benefits of Locating your Startup in an Incubation Centre like the LINC

Be part of a group or go at it alone? For many entrepreneurs, being part of something bigger has helped them get their businesses off the ground more quickly and smoothly. An incubator can be the perfect bridge to make the big step from idea to execution.

Many startup entrepreneurs that have launched successful companies from incubators centers indicate being around other entrepreneurs as a key player in their success. They tell us that by locating entrepreneurs together in incubation Centers like the LINC create a dynamic where business owners can:

1) provide encouragement and support throughout the journey

2) information and knowledge sharing on business-related operations

3)  network building that can serve well for years.

This support from an incubator is, probably, the incubator’s unique place in economic development.

One of our current clients in the LINC says: “The LINC, is currently home to some of the most successful young start-ups in Ireland, all of whom are willing to share their knowledge and skills which is invaluable to the Founder of a start-up like myself. The staff have been incredibly supportive of my company and me as an Entrepreneur at every stage and I’d be lost without them.”

lincc

For more information on what we can offer you please contact us at thelinc@itb.ie

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5 Questions Data-Driven Companies Should Ask to Manage Risks and Reputation

Originally posted by RONALD VAN LOON MAY 31, 2017 on Irish Tech News

Data is rapidly becoming the lifeblood of the global economy. In the world of Big Data and artificial intelligence, data represents a new type of economic asset that can offer companies a decisive competitive advantage, as well as damage the reputation and bottom-line of those that remain unsuccessful at ensuring the security and confidentiality of critical corporate and customer data.

Despite the severe repercussions of compromised data security, until recently, the fines for breach of data protection regulations were limited and enforcement actions infrequent. However, the introduction of a potentially revolutionary European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is likely to transform the way data-driven companies handle customer data by exposing them to the risk of hefty fines and severe penalties in the event of incompliance and data breach.

In this article, there is summarise of the implications of GDPR implementation for data-driven companies, as well as the measures businesses can take to ensure the security and privacy of client’s data and avoid the penalties associated with non-compliance.

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For more information and the full article please visit http://irishtechnews.ie/the-gdpr-5-questions-data-driven-companies-should-ask-to-manage-risks-and-reputation/

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Outsourcing Development For Your Startup

This piece, written by BookingHawk.com founder Niall Smith, originally appeared on Irish Tech News.

“Some of the circles that I move in contain many founders and entrepreneurs in the making. I recently had a conversation with another founder about how difficult it would be to start an online or technology-based business without a technical background. Given that I come from a technical background myself, I thought that I could give some advice on the subject. Specifically, here are 10 things that a founder should consider when outsourcing the development of their online business.”

1. Non-Disclosure Agreement

When you hire developers, you are about to share your idea with them. You will need to be as in depth as possible so that the developer(s) can do what is known as ‘requirements gathering’. It is in your interests to tell them as much of your vision as you have imagined. Therefore you should have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.

2. Physical Location

Many people I have spoken to have suggested that they can just get someone in India to develop their software thus saving them thousands in development costs. I have worked with developers of various cultures and backgrounds and from my experience, no nationality/culture is better at writing software than any other. It all comes down to the team and the individuals. If you have done due diligence and are sure that the best team for you is based abroad, then so be it. However, even with great tools such as Skype and other remote meeting services, there is no substitute for visiting the office of your development team. Imagine for example that three weeks into your project, your team discovers a potential issue with how your system is supposed to work, or perhaps a new piece of legislation is signed into law. This would require some thorough discussion between you and your team. It would be much easier to visit their office, speak in person, sketch ideas on whiteboards to come up with a solution then have emails flying over and back attempting to arrange a time to meet online, a time that is not bedtime in your location or theirs.

4. Building Software Is Not Like Building A Wall

With software, adding a new developer halfway through the project does not immediately increase the productivity. New developers will need time to understand the type of system that is being built. They will likely need to familiarise themselves with the dynamics of the team and in some cases get used to some software tools that they have not worked with before.

When building software, if you want to keep your budget on track, you will likely not be able to change your mind about certain features/pages halfway through the project build. It may seem like a simple thing to add a new button to a web page, but often, there is much work to be done behind the scenes to make sure that button does what it is supposed to do.

5. Build A Website, A Mobile App Or Both?

You should think carefully about what form your online business will take. Will it be an app? Will it be a website only? Perhaps it will be an app and a website. Where possible, my advice is to start with a website and here is why. When a website is being written, there is considerably less work involved in getting that website to display nicely on a mobile than there is in developing an app that can be downloaded from the app store. Doing this ‘mobile optimising’ of the website means that it will display nicely on all mobiles, whereas an app needs to be developed for Apple and Android operating systems.

Another reason for my advice is something known as an API. Don’t worry about how technical it sounds. All an API is, is a way for your application (website) to talk to other applications.So if your website is built with some good API’s the development of a mobile app will be much easier. It will also ensure sure that the data on your mobile app is as fresh and up to date as the data on your website.

Lastly, when your website is built, you can analyse how it is being used. Once you find the top 3 things that users do on your site, your mobile app can be developed with this in mind. Meaning the buttons to do these three things are prominent and not buried deep in a menu somewhere.

6. Future Use

Ok, for now, you only want your application to do one simple thing. In the back of your mind, you think that once it is launched, you’d like it to be able to carry out another thing too. Whatever your vision, it is important you call this out as early as possible to you developers. The more your developers understand about your visions, the more flexibility they can build into your system. This does not mean that they spend weeks half building out parts of your system that you may possibly (but probably won’t) use somewhere down the line. Instead, it just means that the plumbing is in place should you ever need to add an extra bathroom.

7. Ongoing Costs

There will be an initial outlay for you to have your software program built. However, you will also have ongoing costs. So for example, with BookingHawk.com, we need to pay a monthly hosting fee for our program to be accessible on the internet. We also need to purchase our SSL certificate every year which is needed for us to securely process payments. We also need to pay to use the domain name BookingHawk.com. The cost of your ongoing fees will depend on the type of application that you have built, but it is something you should ask your developers about.

8. Reputation

Ask your potential developers to tell you about projects that they took on in the past that did not work out. If they are happy to discuss such projects, ask them for the reasons of the failures. Ask them what steps they have taken to avoid such failures in the future. You are interviewing someone to hand over a lot of money. Do not let them fob you off or overwhelm you with technical jargon.

The best way to predict future occurrences is to study past events. I advise you to ask for a list of projects that your team has delivered before. Then call up the people that own those projects. Ask them what the development team was like to work with. Ask them about the finished product. Did it do everything it was supposed to? What was the quality like? For example, did it display ugly error messages if something went wrong or did it handle issues gracefully? How was the follow-up support from the development company? Did they reach out often to see how everything was going or did they disappear into the sunset once the money was handed over? This brings me nicely on to…

9. Maintenance Contract

Even though I am an experienced software developer, I still make the most stupid mistakes you could imagine. These mistakes sometimes (not often!) make their way, all the way through our testing and quality checks and into the live system. When something like this happens, it requires a fix AKA an update AKA a patch. No matter how good your developers are, somewhere down the line your system will require such an update. Be sure to have agreed on prices with your team so that you cannot be held to ransom once such an update is required.

10. Open Source

In software, a concept exists known as ‘Open Source’. Building software with Open Source tools and languages is free. Not only this but because of its popularity, finding developers skilled with Open Source software is somewhat easier than finding developers skilled in bespoke commercial systems and languages.

“In my opinion, it is best to have your system built with Open Source software. This will mean that it will be easier for you to maintain and extend your system once it has been deployed.”

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Steffan Jolley from New Frontiers at the LINC in today’s Irish Times

OrderPoint aims to cut waste bills for hospitality industry

Dublin firm’s software lets managers keep in touch with waiters and the kitchen…

Like many young people before him, Steffan Jolley worked in the hospitality sector to earn money while at college. As things turned out, it was time well spent. Jolley has used his insider knowledge to set up OrderPoint: a hardware and SaaS system that can help reduce costs in the hospitality sector while improving turnover and staff performance……….

Read more on this young Entrepreneurs journey https://t.co/jn8xPIY4Hj

Steffan was a participant on the Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Phase Two Programme in the LINC.

 

 

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UPCOMING Event @ ITB – Impact of Brexit for Irish Business

“BREXIT in Blanchardstown: How changes in the EU can impact locally”

DATE AND TIME – Mon 29 May 2017 08:00 – 11:00

LOCATION – The LINC Centre, Institue of Technology Blanchardstown, Blanchardstown Road North, Dublin 15

The School of Business @ ITB invite you to a breakfast briefing which will provide a forum to hear perspectives relating to Brexit from Minister Leo Varadkar, from John McGrane, Director General British Irish Chamber of Commerce and from Anne Lanigan, Manager Brexit Unit Enterprise Ireland.

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce is the focal point for business activity between Ireland and Britain. Through its members and links to key stakeholders in government, it has become one of the main influencing, networking and promotion organisations across these Islands.

The Brexit Unit at Enterprise Ireland is helping SMEs assess the impact of Brexit and prepare for Brexit by plan to mitigate risks and leverage opportunities which may arise from Brexit.

A Q&A panel discussion will follow.

For more information and to register for this event visit https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/brexit-in-blanchardstown-how-changes-in-the-eu-can-impact-locally-tickets-34142559314 

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