Accelerating Waterford Business Start-ups Success

Bank of Ireland, Ireland’s “Enterprise Bank” has launched a new national Accelerator Programme to support start-ups throughout the country. The programme is currently open for applications with ten places available and Bank of Ireland is encouraging all Waterford start-ups to apply for a place on the programme. Participants will receive €10,000 seed funding, input and guidance from some of Ireland and Europe’s leading mentors including Bill Liao and Sean O’Sullivan of SOS Ventures as well as Gavin Duffy of Dragon’s Den. The programme will be based in Cork and is open to SMEs throughout the country and all sectors.

Gerry Prizeman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland and Bill Liao, Accelerator Programme mentor, have advice for those starting out in business. If you have a great idea, have spotted a gap in the market and are keen to start a new business, before you launch on the market, why not consider some of the key ingredients for success?

1.Strategy

Every play for the market should have a strategy behind it. Your strategy defines how you will achieve your goals and measure success. Work out what internal and external factors will affect your business, and how to analyse and measure your efforts. Milestones are important to get a sense of progress and achievement.

2.Customer Traction

Customer traction is when you start getting a response from customers and begin making those vital sales. Customer traction is one of the most difficult marketing challenges every start-up faces. You will need to understand your market, and its motivations. Just as importantly you need to create “your story” and be confident in communicating it to customers and investors alike.

3.Product Differentiation

There are very few products and services without competition so it’s important to differentiate your product somehow. It might be as simple as creative packaging, branding or offering extra features. Alternatively you could look at pursuing niche markets with less competition. Your unique selling proposition gives you an edge without necessarily offering a completely ‘unique’ product, but it does give people a reason to pick you over the competition.

4.Commitment

Commitment means dedication in the face of many challenges. Knowing how to identify a problem quickly and adapt is a sign of a good entrepreneur. Get fully committed to your business, be a leader and share your vision with those you need to support you. It doesn’t mean just putting in long hours, but being committed to taking the steps to long term success by being smart and focusing on the right areas.

Gerry Prizeman Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland commented. “We are committed to supporting start-ups and last year over 16,000 start-ups chose to bank with us. To further support start-ups we are seeking applications for our Accelerator Programme where they will get best in class mentoring from wellknown entrepreneurs such as Bill Liao and Sean O’Sullivan. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for start-ups to get a kick start for their business.”

For more details or to apply for the Bank of Ireland National Accelerator Programme, visit www.bankofireland.com/accelerator. Closing date for applications is Friday, 25th July 2014.

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