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20th Dec 2016

€20,000 Start Up Competition – The Short List [Part 1]


So after a small delay for my trip over to Silicon Valley for my Entrepreneur of the year nomination I have finally had some free time to sit down and go through the couple of hundred applications. I’ve been blown away by the effort, time and imagination that people went to in an effort to win the money. The reaction to the competition has also been impressive with some great goodwill, lots of offers of help for the new companies and great feedback from people not directly involved in the competition.

So the what I’ve done is sift through the entries and picked out the 10 that I think are the most creative, have the biggest chance of making it and crucially could turn in to real companies that employ lots of locals in the coming years. This is only half of the competition with 10 more twitter entries getting shortlisted tomorrow. Have a look through them and see what you think. I’ll be announcing the winners on Saturday but I’d love your feedback in the poll below and the comments below to help me make my decision. If you made the final 10 really well done and if you didn’t please please keep going with your idea and try to turn it in to reality because the country needs more people like you. Not making the final 10 is no reflection on your business idea but more a reflection on my own personal investment tastes. That you all for the wonderful entries and for helping show the fire and passion is still alive and well in Irish entrepreneurs.

1.Lingua Dojo

Lingua Dojo is a not-for-profit movement that teaches languages of global and economic significance to young people between the ages of 6 and 18 for free. Our goal is to prepare children linguistically for the 21st Century by teaching and promoting the early adoption of the BRIC languages: Mandarin Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian and more!

Lingua Dojo will sow the seeds of global diversity, economic integration, job opportunity, and most importantly provide our children and future citizens with a distinct advantage, and a distinct skill 🙂 Ireland is currently the second worst in language ability across Europe, we need to solve this with a shift towards the BRIC languages. Where would the emerging tech companies of China and elsewhere most likely set up their European headquarters if our citizens held a distinct advantage in their languages?

2.Carve Cases

3.Petfinder Project

Ireland has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the EU with 1 in 3 homes owning 1 or more pets.

each year approximately 10,000 dogs are put down, about 8,000 strays are seized from the streets and many more are kept in welfare organisations around the country while they look for a new home.

Welfare organisations struggle to find a effective and affordable way to highlight their work and animals in need of homes to the public.

We Will Develop:
An online service/tool that helps users find pets in need of homes and pet services. In doing so we would hope to:
– help animals find new homes
– prevent unnecessary euthanization
– give welfare organisations added exposure
– make it easier to find lost pets

– Pet owners and welfare organisation (Advertisers).
– Pet owners and soon to be pet owners (Users).

– Allow users to search a database of pets that are in in need of homes, lost or found (nationally or within user Geo-Location).
– Allow users to upload details of a pet they hope to rehome.
– Allow users to plot on a Google Map where they have lost or found a pet.
– Provide animal welfare shelters a cloud app that will help them manage animals in their care.
– Allow pet care business advertise.

Revenue channels:
-70% by way of charging private advertisers a micro payment (€1/€2) to list the animals (litter of kittens etc) in search of good home.
– 20% through charging pet care business to advertise on the site
– 10% through display advertising

This service could be deployed in other countries.

4.Bia Beauty

My name is Tracey and I’m the creator and owner of Bia Beauty, a natural
skin care range with a difference! I’ve created the range from simple
yet effective, edible ingredients and my message is Feed Your Skin!

Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we apply to it, so if you are what
you eat then your skin is also what it eats. I use ingredients like
cocoa butter, avocado butter, nut and seed oils, fruits, herbs, spices,
honey, chocolate etc to create really beautiful skin care, hence the
name Bia, Irish for food. Even the emulsifiers I use are edible,
they come from the food industry and are used to make ice-cream!

As well as an absolute passion for plants, cooking and all things
natural I have a first class honours degree in Herbal Science from CIT. I also have trained in Organic
Horticulture and I’ve done courses in London on manufacturing natural skin care.
I’ve been working on this business obsessively for the last year. I was
accepted onto a summer intern-ship programme at a business incubator centre
based on my idea for Bia Beauty and from this I went on to do The
PINC Programme, a business course for female entrepreneurs. Through these
programmes I learned all the ins and outs of setting up a business and I wrote
my business plan.

I have
literally just started trading! My website is almost ready and I am beginning
to get stockists and regular customers. My plan is for Bia Beauty to become the
first word in natural skin care in Ireland and then ….the world!!! Anita
Roddick of the Body Shop used to be the guru of natural skin care and no one
since has taken her place, I see this as an opportunity for me and Bia Beauty.
I have been speaking on local radio here in Cork, giving classes around the
country and writing blog posts in order to be seen as an expert in my area.

I would love
to win this competition because I am determined to make Bia Beauty a success
and €10,000 would really help me on my way! Like a lot of people I’m a recent
college graduate with no jobs to apply for. But unlike most of my fellow students’
emigration or further study were not options for me as I have a young child,
born just before my final year of college.

Thanks very much for this wonderful opportunity and best of luck with the judging, there are some really great ideas!

Entry for 20,000 yoyos competition on Prezi

I have setup a site – – Ireland’s dedicated festivals website.

As the name suggests the site aims to make it easy for users to decide which of the many festivals in Ireland, UK and Europe they wish to attend. I have acquired the best possible domain for a festivals site. Built by brother who has a MSc from Trinity College and over 10 years experience in software development and programming in various international cities.

My background is in online advertising with 4 years working for Electric Media – the largest digital sales house in Ireland. So I’ve an intimate knowledge of digital media and the landscape and demands of Irish advertisers online.

With this knowledge I know that festivals are an environment high in demand for adveritsers to brand around – Bulmers, Guinness, Vodafone, Heineken – some of the massive brands that I am certain would be interested in advertising around festivals, just need the investment to drive traffic and awareness.

I have already put together a notional Facebook campaign, and at 0.30c CPC I could realistically drive 30,000 clicks and 10,000 registered users from an investment of €10,000. Moreover, your own background in social media would be of major relevance here. As you know, many brands dive into social media without any real strategy or sometimes any need for them to be in that space. However, festivals are a perfect fit to to be relevant in a social context and your own expertise this area would ensure the business would grow organically.

Next year the Government is introducing a scheme called “The Gathering” – http://www.thegatheringireland…. It’s being billed as “The Festival of festivals” and will mean a big focus on festivals as a resource for driving tourism from ex-pats. If I can get traction on the site between now and then, it bodes very well for the potential to grow the business at a time when festivals will be front and centre.

I am utterly convinced that I can make this a sustainable and profitable business with a relatively modest investment. Revenue will be generated from advertising, accommodation bookings and in time, ticket sales (affiliate scheme).

6.City Composting

City composting is the name of my company. Its aim is to collect food waste from businesses such as restaurants and cafes in the city centre. Using bikes and carts.
The bio waste would brought to a depot also located in the city centre and there using 4 different composting systems the waste would be separated, broken down and composted.
The compost would then be sold on to local gardeners and farmers, also used for community projects and projects similar to this installation i just finished:…

The 4 main composting systems I would use are Bukashi systems for meat waste.
Worm towers and thermo-composters for veggie and garden waste.
Tumblers would be used at the end for finishing the process and rendering the compost. Most of these systems can be built from waste materials literally lying around the city, using pallets, plastic containers from building sites and other materials that I have access to.
I already have 2 bike carts, that I’m using to collect the bio waste from ROTHAR, The majority of the systems would not cost much to build, the key issue and cost is renting a space that I can take the time to build and develop.
I want to be able to develop the resources necessary, and for the company
to maintain the ethos of a Carbon negative green social enterprise.
Recycling materials and upcycling where possible instead of simply buying in new
materials, and essentially wasting resources needlessly.
With the space, aside from running the company I want to develop it as a hub for workshops in gardening and composting, helping to promote sustainability and social cohesion within the city.
As the company develops I will employ more people to run collections across the city, work the composters, and help build self contained growing systems such as raised beds:…

There is a definite need for such a company in the city. Legislation that Dublin city council has recently written, implies that business should already be doing this, but for now no system has been put in place to enforce this.
City composting would not just lower the amount of waste going to landfill, it would in fact allow businesses to manage their waste better ensuring that they recycle more. This in turn would lower the carbon footprint of the city as a whole.
Food could be grown from the waste, helping to ensure food security in these trying times.

Another key element that I’d like to mention is that this project would work of interim space. Basically vacant lots in the city centre where no development will take place for several years. If the plot is sold to be developed for say the building of apartments etc. the company can simply migrate over the course of a month or so.
I am currently looking at 2 spaces in the city, but with a bit of financial backing it would open up options and possibilities considerably.

The operating model of city composting could potentially be rolled out across major cities in Europe.

7.Fully Loaded Potatoes

I would put 10k to very good use to set up a mobile baked potato enterprise. Have a concept called ‘Fully Loaded’ that would serve baked potatoes with a variety of toppings, chilli, curry, etc. I’ve designed my own logo, tried to make a website and blog myself to promote it, in v infant stages! I’ve tested the concept under a gazebo with a bbq and grill rings at a number of small festivals and sports events and have been asked by punters to come to events they are working on. But to go to more events and start making money I need a mobile unit (HSE regulated) and go to a few big festivals to get started, then I will make money to buy more units and employ people to be at sporting events / food festivals etc around the country. Work in marketing so I have loads of great ideas for promoting the Fully Loaded brand just need one mobile catering unit decked out to get started. If the brand grows big enough it could qualify for Bord Bia’s Food works initiative to develop an export product from the baked potatoes.

8.Banana Jam

Lucy Jones’s Banana Orange Jam on Prezi

9.Justa Tapp

10.Bachelor Magazine

We’d love to enter into this. We started as a blog written by one person in December 2011, with a startup of €25 (yes you read that right) and have now become a full online magazine for men in Ireland as we see the demise of publications as an opportunity. We currently have a team of 10 people writing articles on a daily basis (all for free) covering everything on Technology, Gadgets, Motoring, Entertainment, Men’s Style, Fitness and even Recipes as well as our dedicated section to showcasing businesses for free through our “Pay it Forward” scheme (which you can see here:…. Some of the people that we have writing the articles are currently unemployed so it helps them keep focussed and busy whilst also adding to their CV. We want to grow the team of writers as well as a number of other sections and also expand our brand in the Irish market through social media.

Poll And Feedback

I’m finding it pretty hard to pick the final winner out of the list of 10 above so I’d love a little help from you the readers here on the blog. If you could vote in the poll and leave any feedback in the comments on your favorite ideas and any negatives your can see with the business ideas that would be greet. I know that polls can be gamed and this is by no means a popularity contest but rather a helping guide in my overall job of judging this competition. Thanks in advance for the feedback.