The first of the TES Incubator workshops started off with a bang with Dr Padraic Regan, Strategist lecturer in Trinity, giving his thoughts on business plan writing. The six teams, Foxteal, Handi, LotMate, Zorin, Ace of Fades and Fuel Finder all gathered in the Launchpad space to hear how they could make a business plan that will catch the eyes of investors.
Padraic began by explaining why business plans are necessary in a business, saying that they’re needed to clarify the business idea and communicate what the future holds for the idea so that support can be gained. He then pointed out how to show the business has a strategic purpose, by explaining its reasons for existing and showing who it would make a difference to. Padraic then went through the PESTEL and Five Forces frameworks that can be useful in analysing external environments of the business. The teams learned about the structure of the business plan and how it should be laid out, with an executive summary, introductions and context to name a few of the headings. Some of the teams were surprised too, that it was recommended to include teammates’ CV’s in the business plan, to give an insight into the type of people behind the business. Padraic also reinforced the idea that the plan must be crystal clear, if investors are to take the time to go through it.
Overall it was a very insightful evening from Dr Regan and I’m sure the Incubator teams are much better equipped to begin their business plans now.
On Wednesday the 16th of November, John Whelan hosted the second TES incubator workshop of the year, to give the start-up teams advice on customer acquisition, in all aspects of the market. Each of the five teams in attendance took it in turns to present to the audience how each of their individual products or services was going to acquire and maintain customers. ‘Lot Mate’ was up first, and he talked about how he would gain customers through the free download aspect of the app, coupled with small advertising campaigns on local stallion selling websites. We then heard from ‘Foxteal’ who planned to obtain customers from their target market of teenagers and young adults event hosting as well as pop up stands in various universities around Dublin. ‘Handi Man’ was third in line to demonstrate the procurement of customers, and this was to be done primarily by word of mouth of the students as well as the tradesmen themselves. Next to inform the audience about their customer base was ‘Zorin’, who have already taken a substantial chunk of the first world market in this area, and who now plan to focus their efforts on gaining a further customer base in the rapidly growing third world markets. ‘Ace of Fades’ talked next about acquiring customers through brand ambassadors, ranging from famous YouTubers, to brand distributors like ASOS. Last (and certainly not least) to present their customer attaining methods was ‘Fuel Friend’ who plans to attract customers by putting up adverts on social media and low cost car rental sites to name a few. After the teams briefly talked about their own individual ideas John gave a general talk on what he thought were some of the best methods to acquire new customers and keep them while competing in a specific market. His advice included group activities, which included individually analysing each of the teams’ initial methods, and giving them guidance on how to reach their goals effectively and efficiently. The workshop contained a very commendable amount of group participation, with team members giving their ideas and opinions openly to each other, while taking into account the recommendations given to them by all of the various other people present. Overall it was an interesting and informative workshop that will hopefully help all the students to bring their ideas into the next stages of development!
On Monday the 28th of November, speaking at the third TES workshop was Adrian Mullet, Head of the Technology Sector in Bank of Ireland who spoke about the funding platform they have in place, and David Boles from Delta Partners, speaking about Seed and VC funding. David started off talking a lot about financials and when would be the appropriate time to make a move into marketing, guiding the teams individually, as he catered for each of their specific cases. He talked extensively about getting funding and the rights and wrongs of doing so. David touched on a broader spectrum as well by mentioning how to get a product successfully into a market, and how to benchmark it for the utmost security of success. Overall he gave insight into how to approach receiving the necessary funding as well as funding it yourself, to push it to the next level. Adrian then talked about the funding that the students would receive from BOI, and how each student will be evaluated prior to doing so. He stated how BOI looked at the technological market and the financial model as an overall picture to issue out their funding schemes, and even referenced TCD and TES alumni to make his case. Adrian further went into the specifics of the funding scheme from BOI, providing all the extra motivation the students needed to progress their ideas into the next level, and get closer to their goals of receiving the said funding. This workshop was a very informative one, containing all the necessary facts and figures that the students need to move forward, as well as group participation and varying reflections into the different products that are being presented to be considered for funding. This workshop was productive in its content with helping the young entrepreneurs of the society move forward with their ideas and future plans.