Dice 2014 Get Started Mini Conference.

Get Started 2014

On the 17th of February I attended a mini conference called Get Started in the Helix in Dublin City University. After a brief introduction about the mini conference Niamh Bushnell was the first up.

Speaker 1 : Niamh Bushnell

Niamh Bushnell- Dublin Commisioner for Start Ups.

First speaker of the day was Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start Ups. Niamh talked about her experience of start ups while she worked abroad in New York. One of the companies she helped found was Orbiscom. She then migrated to another company called TechResources.Logo of Orbiscom Ltd.

In her present role of Commissioner of Start Ups, Niamh’s ambition is to get Dublin recognised as a place for excellent opportunities for start up companies. Dublin has an ambitious attitude when it comes to doing business and everyone is looking out for each other. I found Niamh’s presentation one of the most difficult to keep up with as there was no power point to accompany her presentation. Although I found the end of her speech very interesting. She gave us some advice on how to start up a business. One such thing was that if you start up a business before the product is fully finished, you will be more reconsigned and have less chance of failing with your business.

Speaker 2: David McKernan

The new up market branding of Java Republic. Launched in January 2015

David Mckernan is the founder and CEO of one of Ireland’s most successful coffee company. Personally I found this talk the most interesting. I was thoroughly infatuated with his story about his company Java Republic. As a keen entrepreneur I felt I could relate to what he was saying. Java Republic is a fully Irish owned and run company set up sixteen years ago in Cellbridge. Mckernan gave some insights into what he felt made his business so successful. One such thing was a never ending drive to succed. David McKernan told his audiences that although he does have a successful company it is not successful enough for him. He wants his profits to grow and grow every year. I to feel like I have this crazy drive to succeed in everything I do. With every assignment or exam I want to improve every time. He also surround yourself with great people and greater people than yourself. He said this as it will motivate oneself to be as good as the others if not bother, thus you are getting maximum production from yourself. He also gave some insights into the different type of funding available to companies. Java Republic got a new look in January. Gone is the yellow and now a more sleek and upmarket look. David finished his story by telling us what the different traits of an entrepreneur are!

  1. One must be a hustler
  2. One must be an innovator
  3. One must be a vision

Speaker 3:Panel consisting of Richard Stokes, Eoghan Stack and Ronan Furlong

Richard Stokes- Director of Innovation at DCU

First up was Richard Stokes Director of Innovation at DCU. Stokes argues that it is much easier for companies to start up a business now. This is due to the fact that there is much more advice and opportunities for start ups now. One such opportunity is Invent in DCU. This is very beneficial to start up companies as Invent as it works with external organisations and researchers to promote entrepreneurship within our society. This is a great asset to all the companies on the programme as they can share research and development cost, thus the start up costs are significantly reduced. Invent provides excellent facilities to the start ups.

Facilities at the Invent Incubation centre include.

  1. Purpose built office space.
  2. High speed networking.
  3. Boardrooms, meeting rooms and video conferencing facilities.
  4. High end computing.
  5. Data analytic.
  6. Software engineering.

DCU Innovation Campus

Next up from the panel was Ronan Furlong from the DCU Innovation Campus. Located close to the main university campus since May 2014, the innovation campus acts as a national centre for innovation in the cleantech sector. It is home to many different companies, some start-ups, some multinational companies and some individuals. This initiative allows these companies to collaborate with the other companies while still allowing them to look at the moves of their competitors. By allowing the competitors to collaborate, the companies will produce a much more efficient product.

In quick succession was Eoghan Stack of DCU’s Ryan Academy. The DCU Ryan Academy is a partnership between DCU and the Ryan family and aims to bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurial practice. The Ryan has three different programmes aimed at different markets. It has Ustart for students of DCU to start up their own business, Propeller is aimed at start ups of all nature and the Female High Flyers programme aimed at women run start ups. I was really interested listening to Stack speaking about Ustart as it is something I feel I could partake in while completing my studies. I am a keen entrepreneur and could benefit greatly from this scheme. Eoghan Stack left us with a question at the end of his presentation which caused much argument with both the audience and other speakers of the day. Is an entrepreneur nature or nurture?


Speaker 4: Sean Ahern

ThankFrank- a company set up by Sean Ahern to allow consumers share information between each other.

Next up was Sean Ahern founder and ceo of ThankFrank.com. ThankFrank is a revolutionary way of sharing information on-line. ThankFrank is a way of sharing information with other users on-line while gaining rewards while you do it.Although I find the concept a little difficult to understand, I feel it will be very beneficial to the mass market. Everyone understands the frustration when you are shopping on-line and you occidentally close the tab. It is very difficult to find what you were looking for again. But by using ThankFrank other people on the site can help you find it. Please you have the added reward of earning discounts etc. if people find your shared information helpful. Ahern had many inspirational quotes dotted around his presentation which I found very motivating. When something doesn’t go right the first time, try again! My favourite of the day by far was from Henry Forde.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Speaker 5: Kealan Lennan

Kealann Leannan Founder and Ceo of Cleverbug

The penultimate speaker of the day was Kealan Leannan ceo and founder of Cleverbug. Cleverbug is company which allows people to remember and send personalised cards for all occasions. With personalised cards from €3.49 anyone can use this service. To avail of this service one must download the app and sign up using their Facebook account or email account. Using the free promotion they were doing for the audience I used the app and was amazed at how simple it was to use. Although all my Facebook friends I was able to select the most important ones and organise them into different categories. I was astonished at the apps ability to know the age of the person in question as well their name and pictures as well. Lennnan says his success is down to many factors but one such one is that Amazon doesn’t know when peoples birthdays are!

Speaker 6: Paul Kerley

Paul Kerley

The final speaker of the day was Paul Kerley Ceo of Norkam Technologies. Paul has had a tough ride with Norkam Technologies. Kerley’s company aims to detect and combat financial crime. Although he explained how it works that part of the talk went over my head. As it was the last talk I found my concentration levels began to deteriorate and again without the aid of power point slides, it was extremely difficult to follow the talk.

Overall I enjoyed myself at this mini conference and gained invaluable insights into what it is like to set up and run your own business. I feel I can apply my findings from this conference to my own business to expand and grow it.

Until the next conference!


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