Cork Business boost

Ireland’s leading programme for business start-ups is currently recruiting participants for their second programme. The closing date for applications is the 26th of January. 80 participants will be asked to commit three hours on one evening a week in Dublin or Kerry. This phase of the programme is open to founders with business ideas and co-founders with expertise in a range of disciplines that will complement the business.

“Endeavour 2011 has access to finance to make your business a reality. They will make small seed investments in every business that enters Phase 2 of the programme. At the end of Phase 2, there will be an investor week where Endeavour participants will pitch to Silicon Valley and London VCs. This is a real opportunity for people to turn their ideas into reality.

Endeavour was launched last year in the European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year for 2011, Co. Kerry, and the first Endeavourees have a current combined funding valuation already well in excess of €10m based on investments closed or imminent. Three Cork men, David McAvinue from Douglas, Conor Murphy from Ballincollig, and John Dineen from Rochestown are amongst the success stories of last year.

Over the past twelve months, David McAvinue’s Tender 3D have launched their system, built up a client base in over a hundred countries, and run projects for major brands through it. David McAvinue said of the Endeavour Programme,

“A key benefit of participating was being mentored by one of Ireland’s most successful business people. We had some issues early on that our mentor correctly identified. If these hadn’t been resolved we would have been locked into that situation and would still be dealing with those issues,” he said.

Corkonian, Conor Murphy saw his company, DataHug win the “Spark of Genius” competition at the Dublin Web Summit and the Irish Software Association’s “Technology Start-Up of the Year” award. They gained coverage in The Irish Times, Guardian, Sunday Business Post, TechCrunch and Silicon Republic, attracting the attention of clients, staff and investors. Murphy warned the programme is not easy but if you want to make your idea work, Endeavour will make it happen,

“The speakers and mentors forced us to test our business models and explore alternatives and other potential opportunities. The schedules were aggressive and we were pushed hard. By the end of 2 months we were already pitching our investment proposals at the first of several business stress test panels. Thanks to our mentor, we left Endeavour investor-ready; with both an award winning business plan (subsequently winning €20k at the InterTrade Ireland Seedcorn competition) and an innovative product that had already attracted the attention of several clients,” said Murphy.

Another success story hails from Rochestown, John Dineen’s company Learnpipe has experienced substantial growth during 2010, particularly in the US and UK markets. They have seen traffic grow from less than 1,000 visitors per day to 10 times that number today. They now have paying customers in 10 countries and traffic from 100 different countries and are currently recruiting 8 people to join their team in Cork.

“Endeavour is not just about access to world class expertise but the motivation that you get from working closely with 10 other people who have the same energy and ambition that you have,” said Dineen.

Phase 2 of the programme brings with it unique access to a personal mentor and also access to the US and Asian mentor teams lead by the Collisons and Liam Casey [PCH International]. Stan McCarthy, CEO of Kerry Group is a mentor on Endeavour along with Hugh O’Donnell, Dave Bobbett, Anne Heraty, Michael Dawson, Pat O’Flynn, Michael Carey, Jim Breen, Dave Roynane, and Frank Salmon.
For anyone thinking about starting, growing or joining a start-up business then check out the successful Endeavour Programme at www.endeavour.biz. It’s an opportunity for students, founders, techies, tired managers to meet and bounce your ideas off seasoned businesspeople from Ireland, Us and Asia, develop your project further, and if you and your idea is good enough, then you can get 6 months development time with a personal mentor, acquire new skills, and access seed investment funding to help make it a success.

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