Tag: networking

6 start-up friendly events you can’t miss out on in 2019 - New Frontiers - Enterprise Ireland

6 start-up friendly events you can’t miss out on in 2019

6 start-up friendly events you can’t miss out on in 2019 - New Frontiers - Enterprise Ireland

Get your calendar at the ready! We’re going to keep you busy in 2019 with some fantastic events that will sharpen your professional skills, strengthen your network and inspire your imagination.  Let’s go…

Women’s Empowerment Summit, 13th April

With the Women’s Empowerment Summit just around the corner, you’ll have to act quickly if you want to secure your ticket! This fantastic event is all about bringing like-minded women together to support and learn from each other. This is not an event for shoptalk, but rather it is about helping women reach their full potential in every aspect of their life. With the odds too often stacked against women on their path to personal and professional success, it is as important as ever to provide opportunities such as this for growth and empowerment. With a stellar line-up, including actress Deirdre O’Kane, television presenter Maura Derrane, Irish Rugby Player Sene Naoupu and 3 times bestselling author Donna Kennedy, we expect this year’s summit to be as much if not more successful than the years before.

3XE UX – The User Experience & Design Thinking Conference, May 16th

Looking to learn about user experience design from the best in the business? 3XE UX is an event that aims to give you practical, actionable insights that you can immediately take away and apply directly to your business. The best way to make the most of this event is to get involved with their range of workshops that they describe as providing how-to know-how. These workshops include “7 tactics to convert your social media audience into sales” from Content Plan, “Driving Conversions with Performance Video” from Google, “The Biggest Search Marketing Myth – Busted!” from Wolfgang Digital, “Winning with CRO: Seeing is Believing” from VWO, and “Finding hidden site speed gems and ways to fix them” from Under 2. If you feel like you could learn a thing or two and brush up your user experience skills, then make sure to get your hands on some tickets because this one will sell out!

Southeast Digital Picnic, 20th June

Every business knows the significant effect clever social and digital marketing can have on their success. If you’re serious about improving your online presence and finding out how to generate more leads, then the Southeast Digital Picnic is where you’ll want to be! This event is catered towards start-ups, small business owners as well as anyone passionate about marketing. All your questions about online advertising, community building, video, influencers, and social media will be answered in the beautiful surroundings of Wells House and Gardens in Wexford. The organisers are going out of their way to inject some summery vibes into the traditional business conference by taking the event outside with a BBQ theme. Fingers crossed they get the weather!

HPSU Founder of the Year Awards, 26th June

Are you a member of the HPSU Founders Forum? If you are a CEO receiving Enterprise Ireland investment support, then this is definitely something worthwhile to get involved in. The Forum is a great way to receive invaluable insights from experienced practitioners about your specific business challenges and surround yourself with a strong network of CEOs who have come up against the same hurdles as you. Every year, the Forum awards one founder the grand title of HPSU Founder of the Year award. The event brings together entrepreneurs and investors and is a fantastic opportunity for high-performing, innovative Irish start-ups to get the recognition and support they deserve.

Innovation Arena, 17th – 19th September

Are you an agri-tech innovator? If you are, then this should be the highlight of your calendar! Being held at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, you can be sure this will be a great day out for you and your business. The Innovation Arena will be exhibiting talks and seminars as well as providing networking opportunities for entrepreneurs throughout the three-day event. There is even an opportunity for you to win €15,000 for your company! If you fancy yourself as a pioneering innovator in the agri-tech sector, then you can put your name in the hat for categories such as best agri-technology start-up, young innovator of the year, best agri-engineering established company and best agri-environmental enterprise. Get involved in this Enterprise Ireland event by sending in your application online before the 31 May.

MoneyConf (at Web Summit), 4th – 7th November

Dublin may be the home of MoneyConf, but this year it is heading to Lisbon. Not only that, but the conference is expanding from two days to three! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, MoneyConf is THE fintech event that brings banks, tech firms and start-ups together under the one roof. Enterprise Ireland will be running a half day event focused on bringing clients and potential buyers together in pre-arranged one-to-one meetings. If you’re heading to Web Summit you’ll be happy to know that your ticket will give you access to everything MoneyConf has to offer.

If you want to know about the numerous events organised by/in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, head over to the events section of their site.  

About the author


Scarlet Merrill

Scarlet Merrill is Editor of the New Frontiers website and founder of her own startup, Engage Content Marketing. She is an expert in designing and executing content strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence… [Read Scarlet’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

Listen to your market and always be ready to pivot your idea

Winners of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards (IBYE) announced

Immersive VR Education builds on startup success with a strong team

Startup events to help you end 2019 on an entrepreneurial high

New Frontiers National Networking Event - March 8th 2018 - Red Cow Hotel Dublin

The importance of networking for New Frontiers participants

New Frontiers National Networking Event - March 8th 2018 - Red Cow Hotel Dublin

Joe Healy, (Divisional Manager, High Potential Start-ups, EI) – Minister Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation – Maria Gavin (Programme Manager New Frontiers, EI)

Of all the feedback received from entrepreneurs over the years, one key benefit of the New Frontiers programme stands out consistently: how crucial networking and peer support has been for their entrepreneurial journey.
New Frontiers participants get a wide range of supports on the programme. For some, learning sales and marketing skills, or successfully pivoting their idea, or preparing for export are the difference between success and failure.

But another characteristic of the programme is that it’s cyclical, and all entrepreneurs (typically, around a dozen at each location) start at the same time and work out of the same incubator. They face their business hurdles together, even though they’re each working on their own project, and celebrate milestones with their fellow participants. Insights and learning are swapped on a daily basis, as the focus is on collaboration, not competition.

So it’s an added bonus that Enterprise Ireland organises a yearly networking event, where all the participants from the previous year – from the 16 locations around the country offering the programme – can come together and network. From speeches, presentations and inspirational talks from alumni in the morning, to dedicated one-on-one networking sessions in the afternoon, it’s a day not to be missed.

An annual networking event

This year’s networking event was held in Red Cow, Dublin, on 8th March. It was opened by Minister Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, who has some particularly good news for the programme:

“I’m pleased to learn that 2017 proved to be a record year for the New Frontiers programme with 164 entrepreneurs moving through Phase 2. Enterprise Ireland, together with the Institutes of Technology, work to continually develop and improve the programme and so, I’m delighted to tell you that a third phase is currently being developed and will be piloted later this year. This will no doubt be of immense benefit to those participating!

The Government of Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland, is very supportive of the New Frontiers Programme. €3 million was allocated in 2017 to be spent on this programme across the Institutes of Technology. However, it is important to continue investment in programmes such as this. I am pleased to tell you, therefore, that a further €400,000 has been allocated in the 2018 budget to bring the annual spend to €3.4 million this year.”

New Frontiers is the perfect way for early-start companies to position themselves for further HPSU supports. Over 30% of Competitive Start Fund awards go to New Frontiers alumni, with the potential then to become Enterprise Ireland clients and play an important role in the Irish business community.

After the Minister’s address, Maria Gavin, Manager of the New Frontiers Programme at Enterprise Ireland, gave an overview of the day and thanked everyone involved in making the programme such a success.

“I’d like to underline the uniquesness of New Frontiers as a truly national programme, having a significant regional outreach through the IoTs enabling would-be entrepreneurs from all differing parts of the country to benefit from a professional and comprehensive educational programme.

Today is a chance to rightly celebrate and elevate New Frontiers, in addition to thanking all those who make it such a success: the New Frontiers graduates – I admire your bravery and tenacity in entering the start-up arena; the 13 Programme Managers, whose tireless work and dedication benefit all participants; the LEO staff, whose involvement is pivotal in the start-up ecosystem; and to my Enterprise Ireland colleagues – both HPSU & Regional DAs – for their collaboration and commitment to New Frontiers. All of you are invaluable!”

The morning was packed with information. There was a presentation of the HPSU Unit from Sarita Johnston, Manager of HPSU Start at Enterprise Ireland, a Q & A, and a panel discussion with previous participants. Attendees were also treated to some fascinating insights from three highly successful alumni, James McElroy (HouseMyDog), Michael O’Dwyer (SwiftComply), and Ross O’Dwyer (Pundit Arena).

Download the slides from the various presentations

Collaboration and networking

Feedback from attendees was extremely enthusiastic. Everyone agreed that the opportunity to meet with the wider New Frontiers community was invaluable, and the afternoon’s pre-booked networking sessions proved very fruitful.

Many entrepreneurs disclose that isolation is one of the key limiting factors when building their business in the early days. A programme such as New Frontiers helps to beat this phenomenon with its collaborative approach, incubation facilities, group training events and access to mentoring. Events such as the annual networking event are the cherry on the top!

If you have a business idea and are interested in applying to New Frontiers, discover more here!

Discover a few of the entrepreneurs from the class of 2017!

Vicki O’Donnell – Wilder Wander

Joe Fernandez – Data Origami

Charlotte Matabaro – Mohecan Male Grooming

Mel Clohosey – Socialfeedia

Carol Ann McGowan – Heartstone

Joe Perrott – Remote Signals

Michelle Baxter – The Clinic Space

Ciaran Brennan – PaidAde

About the author


Scarlet Merrill

Scarlet Merrill is Editor of the New Frontiers website and founder of her own startup, Engage Content Marketing. She is an expert in designing and executing content strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence… [Read Scarlet’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

Listen to your market and always be ready to pivot your idea

Winners of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards (IBYE) announced

Immersive VR Education builds on startup success with a strong team

Startup events to help you end 2019 on an entrepreneurial high

Starting up how to beat entrepreneurial isolation

Starting up: how to beat entrepreneurial isolation

Starting up how to beat entrepreneurial isolation

My business was set up to help those who might be suffering from social isolation, and yet that is exactly what happened to me in the first 12 months of my startup. Since identifying it and talking to others, I have found that this is an issue that can and does affect a lot of business owners, especially those in the startup stage.

I want to share with you how it happened to me, but more importantly how I identified it and managed to overcome it, just before I threw in the towel.

The unsuccessful success

Like most startups, money was limited when I began planning my business venture. Therefore, working from home was the perfect and only solution. I was well aware that running a business was going to be tough. I’d heard all the cautionary advice – getting my business off the ground would take longer than I planned, all the while costing me more money; and I would be working longer hours than ever before, with no holidays and little or no pay initially!

I went ahead anyway, taking over the children’s playroom and had a fantastic afternoon in Ikea buying all the must-haves for my home office. It was what I had always dreamt of doing when I used to commute to Dublin every day for my previous job – what could be better than working from home! With the home office looking like something off Pinterest, I was good to go and got stuck into putting together my business plan and getting ready to launch my business.

Soon launch day arrived and my business – Count Her In – was officially up and running. I worked tirelessly from the minute the children left for school until they came home in the afternoon. I rarely left the office, trying to fit as much as possible into my working days, and then starting again once the children were asleep. It worked and soon we got great traction, with membership steadily rising and fantastic feedback from members and the local media.

But something wasn’t right, I just wasn’t feeling the buzz I thought I would. I didn’t see anything as being a success and habitually focused on all the things I hadn’t managed to get done that day. With no one to run anything past, I mulled ideas and decisions over constantly in my head, even after making them – what if I had just made a big mistake, what if, what if…

The Mill Enterprise Hub

The weeks rolled into months. The business was thriving and yet, I was struggling to the point that I really didn’t know if I could continue. I couldn’t understand why. Christmas was fast approaching, so I decided to take a week off and think about things. I closed the door to the office and I didn’t set foot in it again! Over the Christmas period I had family and friends over, the house was bustling, and I suddenly realised why I was feeling so down about my business – I was alone and I had been for 12 months.

Every day, all day I was at home in my office, working hard, talking to people on the phone and via email, but not face to face. I had gone from working in a building with over 1,000 employees and managing a large team to being on my own. I now realised if something didn’t change then I would give up. I could not face going back to the office, and I didn’t. A friend had previously told me about The Mill Enterprise Hub in Drogheda, a great facility for startup companies where you could rent affordable office space or even just a hot desk, which was more suitable for me being on my own.

As soon as Christmas was over, I went and paid them a visit and knew, straight after walking in, that I needed to be there. There was such a buzz and energy about the place, exactly what had been missing in my home office. I managed to persuade The Mill to let me move in the very next morning, and I have been there ever since. Starting off with a hot desk in a shared office, and – now that we have grown and there are 3 of us – moving into our own office space a few weeks ago. Moving out of my home office gave both my business and me a HUGE boost.

Making simple changes

Moving into a facility like The Mill is not possible for all, but I believe the most important thing for anyone in the early stages of a business, or for someone who runs a business single-handedly, is to not allow themselves to become so engrossed in working hard that they become isolated to the point at which it begins impacting them and the performance of their business.

In January, I also made some other changes which again have really helped:

Networking events

I have made the most of all local events and some further afield, most recently making my way to Clare and Waterford. But even simply popping into something for half an hour during the day that gives you a break from the desk can be invaluable. You never know who you will meet and what impact they could have on your business or you on theirs.

Business inspiration

I have become great friends with a fantastic local businesswoman, and we try to meet on a regular basis to chat about our respective businesses. This has really proved invaluable. It is important to be able to share the more detailed aspects of your business with someone you trust. It is fantastic when you are struggling with something and need to talk it through, especially when it is with someone who understands what it is like to run a business. We happen to be at very different stages – my business is still very new whereas her business is much more established – but we have learnt that we still have the same types of issues, the same doubts and insecurities.

Coffee shops!

I love coffee. It’s my treat to myself when I get a nice coffee and now they are popping up everywhere. There is so much choice and most have free Wi-Fi, so even though I am now based in an office with a couple of others, sometimes I still head out the door with my laptop and go to a local coffee shop to work for an hour. Again, the buzz about the place just gives me an extra boost. I also realise how lucky I am to have a job that allows me that freedom, so that in itself gives me a reason to work that bit harder to ensure I can continue doing it.

The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone from what I have learnt is to listen to your own advice. What do you tell those around you? Probably something like look after yourself, ask for help, you need a little break. Next time you give out some advice just actually think about the last time you took your own advice.

About the author

Georgina McKennaGeorgina McKenna New Frontiers

Georgina McKenna is a New Frontiers participant and the founder of startup Count Her In, a free online and offline social community for women. With an interest in mental health, Count Her In is a response to the difficulties of true communication in modern society… [Read Georgina’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

Listen to your market and always be ready to pivot your idea

Winners of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards (IBYE) announced

Immersive VR Education builds on startup success with a strong team

Startup events to help you end 2019 on an entrepreneurial high

Growing your business the value of networking New Frontiers

Growing your business: the value of networking

Growing your business the value of networking New Frontiers

For me, the idea of networking conjures up images of sharp shooting business professionals bedecked with a ready smile and the catchy opener: So, what do you do? They ‘listen’ as you tell your story, nodding their head robotically; interjecting with the occasional Ah ha…, Very interesting… and I see… You, knowing full well that within 20 seconds they had made up their minds whether or not you were ‘of interest’ and if not were already scanning the room over your shoulder for their next target.

But good networking, effective networking, should never be like this. It’s about being in the right room, with the right people, at the right time. It’s about listening and being listened to, and of course finding new contacts that will help you and your business grow.

Boost your network, boost your net worth!

From the time I started my own journey on New Frontiers, we were constantly encouraged to grow our networks and share contacts with our fellow participants. This proactive and collaborative approach broke down many personal barriers I had to networking, and allowed me to critically analyse and recognise its potential value.

My favourite story was of the entrepreneur who, after a long, unsuccessful day of pitching to potential investors was feeling deflated and defeated as she boarded the train home. Wanting nothing more than to be left in peace, she initially ignored the chit chat advances from the passenger who sat opposite. However, not to appear rude, she entered into general conversation and it was not long before the discussion fell into the familiar territory of: So, what do you do? Telling her story and details of her own startup came easily in the relaxing ambience of the train carriage. By the time she had reached her destination, the entrepreneur had won over her fellow passenger – an investor – and landed a €200k windfall for her emerging business. The moral of the story… networking can happen anywhere, so always be pitch-ready!

OK, so this fairy-tale doesn’t happen to everyone; but it does happen. Which is why I want to share my essentials to help kick-start your networking habit!

Top networking tips

Get (old school) social

I soon realised that ‘liking’ someone or connecting via social media was not really enough to boost my business contacts. Don’t get me wrong, social media networking is excellent for creating a buzz around you and your brand. You can target your message to a particular audience, in a certain location, with a specific interest – and that’s great. However, quality beats quantity and there is nothing better than some good old fashioned ‘3D’ networking – going face-to-face.

Body language is key here. A good handshake, an open smile and being able to look someone in the eye can do more for your business than a solitary click on a keyboard.

How to find events

If I’m honest, as soon as I started looking for events I realised I could be attending one every day of the week. So, when it comes to events, be selective. Think hard about whether or not they suitable to your chosen field and if will they be attended by the kinds of people who can help you or who you can collaborate with.

The best ways to find quality events to attend are:

  1. Join business networks: Women Mean Business (WMB), Network Ireland, Business Network International (BNI), etc.
  2. Attend events organised by your Local Enterprise Office (LEO)
  3. Look up conferences relevant to your area
  4. Business media events: Sunday Business Post, Business Independent, etc.
  5. Breakfast Events: Google Breakfast Meetings, Image Magazine Breakfast Networks
  6. Business Organisations events: Enterprise Ireland, Small Firms Association (SFA), Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), etc.

How to prepare

Before you attend an event, do some research on those who are attending. Find out which companies will be represented and by whom. Many a time, I would loiter at the registration desk (looking for my name badge) to get the first names of those attending. It’s also handy if their job title is listed.

Be pitch perfect! I don’t mean a 15 minute spiel on who you are and what your company is all about. Have your business down to 30 seconds maximum! Just enough to cover a walk to the coffee table, or when you first sit down. Enough to trigger interest and to invite that all important response: Really? Tell me more…  It could go something like this:

Brainwave is an emerging technology that allows you to record your ideas while you are out and about and while you sleep (key phrase: emerging technology)

AgriKids is an award-winning farm safety educational platform for children (key phrase: award-winning)

Scruffy Wuffies is a mobile pet grooming parlour and we’ve just launched our first franchise (key phrase: franchise)

Having your ‘elevator pitch’ ready and primed can make a good networking event, great.

How to behave

If you have your pitch on standby and you have done your pre-event research all that is left to do is listen!

When you approach someone, it’s always nice to extend your hand or offer to get someone a coffee or tea. It’s open and friendly and offers some welcome distraction from the business talk! Then, over a cuppa, it’s always nice to ask the person something about themselves: Have you come far?.., Where are you based?.., There are some good speakers here today… If you launch straight into the business talk, you do yourself out of some very valuable small talk opportunities. People will not share if they feel they are been grilled or ‘interviewed’ from the get-go.

As the conversation progresses, or if the other person initiates it, then by all means it’s time to talk business. If the conversation has gone well and some synergies and opportunities have been unearthed, make sure you leave with their business card (always better you get theirs as well as the other way around).

Post event

If you made some good contacts and identified some real opportunities, make sure you follow up with an email or a phone call and by all means connect on social media.

If you listened well you may also have found some useful contacts for other people in your own network. Do pass on the details and share, this spirit of collaboration will always find its way back to you, that’s business karma!

The art of networking is definitely a habit worth forming! It’s not always easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

About the author

Alma Jordan AgriKids News frontiers alumnaAlma Jordan

Alma Jordan is a New Frontiers alumna and the founder of AgriKids, a farm safety educational platform for children. The award-winning company works to positively engage, educate and empower children to become Farm Safety Ambassadors…. [Read Alma’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

Listen to your market and always be ready to pivot your idea

Winners of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards (IBYE) announced

Immersive VR Education builds on startup success with a strong team

Startup events to help you end 2019 on an entrepreneurial high

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