The spirit of entrepreneurship in the North West was celebrated at a recent event recognising the achievement of participants in the Enterprise Ireland-funded New Frontiers Programme. Entrepreneurs from Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo attended the event in the Mill Park Hotel in Donegal.
The New Frontiers Programme – an enterprise developer programme established by Enterprise Ireland a year ago- is delivered in the North West by IT Sligo and LYIT. It has worked with more than 80 technology or knowledge based entrepreneurs in the region in the last year.
Ten new participants entered the Programme’s Phase Two in August 2013 and are now set to benefit from its supports, which include training in areas such as financial management and market research, mentoring from experienced business advisors, office facilities, funding, and expertise from the Institutes of Technology in Sligo and Letterkenny.
Guest speakers at the event in the Mill Park Hotel included Michael Masterson of Moll Industries Ireland, Ian Harkin of Arklu, and John McNamara of SendMode – three successful Donegal based business people who shared their expertise and experience with the fledgling entrepreneurs.
David O’Neill from Donegal was amongst the group who successfully completed the funded, second phase of the Programme last year. The experience was hugely beneficial, David said; “The New Frontiers programme was Informative, helpful and we received 6 months of great business development support. The facilities and dynamic in the CoLab at Letterkenny Institute of Technology continue to be hugely beneficial to our success. The New Frontiers programme allowed Uppiddee to build links with LYIT and through on-going collaboration these links are greatly assisting with our growth and development plans”
Oliver Sharkey, from Leitrim, who is a current participant on Phase 2 and owner of Magiflow Gutters Ltd. Oliver said; “The New Frontiers programme has been a great help to me with starting a new successful business, from the IT and Enterprise Ireland staff, to the training and mentoring from the many successful business people and brainstorming with the other participants, it has been none stop positivity”
Jim Costigan from Sligo and owner of Special Maintenance Products Ltd (SMP) also said; The New Frontiers programme facilitated the opportunity to meet people who were developing and starting a business. The programme challenged us to achieve monthly targets which allowed the time to plan, re-enforce the plan and the provided the help to implement your plan. I would recommend anybody who is thinking of setting up their own business to contact the Innovation centre in Sligo IT or Letterkenny IT in relation to the New Frontiers programme and to avail of the advice and expertise that is available.
Dr Michelle Connolly, New Frontiers Programme Manager, encouraged anyone with a business idea or a business at start-up stage, to consider taking part in the Programme; ‘The focus of the New Frontiers programme is to impart the entrepreneurship skills needed to move from a business concept to the marketplace. In essence surrounding these entrepreneurs with the expertise and information they need to turn their idea into a viable business’.
The Programme is open to applications from a wide range of sectors, including; food & consumer products, information & communication technology, engineering & electronics, medical devices, biotechnology, pharma, digital media, cleantech/renewable energy and eligible internationally traded services with a technology or knowledge based proposition.
To find out more visit www.newfrontiersnw.ie or contact the New Frontiers Office at the Colab, Letterkenny on 074 91 86452 or the Innovation centre at IT Sligo on 071 91 55315.
Caption for Top Picture: Back Row: Left to Right: Lousie O’Gorman, Anne Blake, Sean Clancy, Eamon Curran, Caroline Mc Gowan, Frank Quinn, Kevin O’Connor, Brendan Toner, Oliver Sharkey, Lee Gooch, Frankie Naylor. Front Row: Left to Right: Carole Brennan, Paul Hannigan, Michelle Connolly, Patsy Donaghy, Declan Lyons.
Caption for Bottom Picture: Back Row: Left to Right: Patsy Donaghy, Ian Harkin, Carole Brennan, Daniel Brown, John McNamara, Michelle Connolly, Declan Lyons. Front Row: Left to Right: Daniel Clarke, David O’Neill, Peter Campbell.