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Meet the businesses shortlisted for Cork Innovates bursary 2013

Siobhan Finn of Cork innovates
Siobhan Finn of Cork innovates

THE 2013 Cork innovates bursary competition is now in its second year. The 2012 bursary valued at €12,500 was awarded to Funmanway Adventure Land in Dunmanway, West Cork.

This year, as the Cork innovates brand gathers momentum, the value of the bursary grew to €30,000 worth of services and supports and the selection process also proved more complex. Online submissions were taken from Aug 20 to Oct 21, a screening process based on a panel interview was held on Nov 8, followed by a pitch to an invited audience on Nov 11 in County Hall and concluding with a public pitch to attendees of InBusiness InCork today, Nov 14.

Services and supports available to the bursary recipient will include print advertising (Irish Examiner); radio advertising (NewsTalk) PR services (Cameo Communications), design and print services (Woodland Print), ecommerce and web advisory services (studio forty9), cash deposit (AIB), hot-desking and mentoring (Rubicon) supports; membership services (Cork Chamber); hospitality services (Brook Catering); business and financial advice (Westboro Partners), Inbound and outbound call services (Voxpro).

Dog Dunit: Dog waste disposal

Company Name: The Dog Dunit Ltd

Founder’s name: Eoin Franklin

The goal of The Dog Dunit Ltd is to provide the complete solution to the disposal of dog waste, and to provide a range of products for the domestic and public markets and lead the way using products with the highest environmental credentials but at a price that the individual can readily afford.

This company’s unique features: The Dunit as an invention, and the related products within the company. The Dog Dunit brand and logo, and the innovative, environmentally friendly solutions to this unsightly problem.

Key challenges: Funding. Also, we are currently in talks to have our “flushable” dog bags listed in national retailers to launch our first product, brand, and awareness of future products. We have just received an order for our flushable bags from a national pet retailer but for the moment are financially unable to begin supply

How this bursary will benefit the business: The bursary will allow The Dog Dunit Ltd to move forward quickly and begin to trade and manufacture.

Founder’s bio: Eoin Franklin, inventor of the Dog Dunit, trained as a sport scientist (BSc) and currently runs a business as a personal trainer.

Vconnecta: Mobile political canvassing tool

Company name: Vconnecta Ltd

Founder’s name: Brendan Finucane

Via regular resale channels we at Vconnecta will exploit the market for our political canvassing solution in Ireland. We plan to develop and exploit the market for community engagement solutions firstly in Ireland, then in other geographies.

Unique feature of business: Vconnecta’s solutions tackle community engagement in a creative and complete manner. By studying existing mobile engagement applications, Vconnecta was able to build a product that features the best of several existing tools, such as mobile surveying applications, CRM systems, and in-built word processing. This means that rather than having to adopt and use all these technologies simultaneously, and buy one at a time, a Vconnecta solution should be all any business interacting with a community needs to manage and refine the dynamic of this relationship.

Key challenges: Raising awareness of the uniqueness of our solution, and proving to skeptics growing tired of the influx of new applications and technologies that this is truly something different and valuable. Plus operating on a tight budget while competing with much larger organisations.

How this bursary will benefit business: We would benefit from support of Cork innovates and its partner organisations to help us reach our goals, while liaising with other companies in the Cork region.

Founder’s bio: Brendan Finucane is a Business Information Systems (BIS) graduate of UCC. He founded Vconnecta in 2012, his interests in politics and technology having revealed the need for a tool for politicians to plan canvassing through more technical means than sticking pins in a map. Since then, Vconnecta has progressed through the UCC IGNITE incubation centre, and taken on private funding. It is now involved in expanding its community engagement solutions tools to the white label (fully customised) market, and is working alongside a number of clients in this respect.

Company name: Delta Streams Ltd

Founder’s name: Andrew Sullivan

Delta Waste Streams Manager is a fast, easy-to-use, cloud-based service operated by the licensee, which enables the client to directly create, manage and publish clear waste-handling information, delivered to the workforce when and where it is needed.

The short-term business vision is to market to the medium-to-large companies and public bodies in the Irish and UK markets. The product and service being offered by Delta Streams is unique, even though it is a simple and logical concept. We believe that there are two major strategic targets:

(1) Develop Delta Streams Waste Manager to be a global offering. This can be achieved by:

* Offering operating and distribution rights to territorial partners.

* Franchising the service to various territories.

* Growing the company to have a direct presence in the key territories.

* Developing online shopping facilities.

* Making Delta the best practice standard for waste-management.

(2) Because the software enabling the Delta Waste Stream Manager is so powerful, it can be adapted and used for other standardised procedures, in areas such as:

* Health and safety.

* Process instructions (LEAN).

* Medical triage.

* Evidence processing.

* Bomb disposal.

* Food prep processes.

Thus, development activities must be undertaken to capitalise on the power of the software to create similar solutions for the wide range of applications.

Delta’s unique features: As Delta has no direct competition, it offers major benefits to the client. These include:

(i) Rapid development of waste-management best practice.

(ii) Training: Delta delivers highly effective training information and is ideal for employee induction and training.

(iii) Cost-reduction: saves money for clients by identifying and processing each item of waste, and so diverting recyclable materials away from expensive and environmentally destructive landfill.

(iv) Recover max value of waste, helping clients to segregate waste; minimum contamination, and so maximising the value of their recyclate.

Key challenges: Our sales forecasts for first three years include reasonable expectations for our corporate sector. We anticipate delays from areas like corporate IT compliance — a residual reluctance for some IT professionals to accept cloud-based applications.

How this bursary will benefit business: Both the public validation of our product and the ‘expertise–in–kind’ reward will provide Delta Streams with additional momentum and brand awareness locally.

Founder’s bio: Founder Andrew Sullivan, through his other company, Industrial Interfaces Ltd, has had more than 20 years’ experience managing and operating large-format printing machinery and delivering high-quality graphics to industry.

Walton plans to capitalise on magazine sales growth

Company Name: Walton Media

Founder’s name: John O’Donoghue

Walton Magazine is a science publisher targeted at a youth audience. The Irish primary-education system does not ensure students are ready for Junior Cert science on entering secondary school (source: CTYI, Science Ireland). We are aiming at an audience of 9- to 12-year-olds — a market in Ireland of 225,800, or 43% of children in primary education as of 2012. There are some international children’s magazines in Ireland, but none are science-related.

Unique feature of business: Research, innovation, and STEM development are growing in Ireland, but who is reporting on it?

Who is telling the exchequer what their money is being spent on? The answer is nobody. There are no Irish STEM magazines, websites, or up-to-date blogs covering new Irish research developments.

Some blogs are covering Irish science news and scientific awards, and run competitions for kids.

Key challenges:  Our big challenge is building readerships for Walton.ie, Walton Magazine and Junior Scientist. We want to employ an IT specialist and outsource the development of a mobile app for our children’s magazine (Junior Scientist) and older magazine (Walton Magazine).

How this bursary will benefit business: We plan to expand the sales of our digital products and services extensively, via printed, digital and media marketing.

Marketing via radio, newspapers, and appropriate events can increase our sales significantly over the next two years. This bursary will greatly help our marketing strategy and, as a result, increase our sales, allowing us to print larger runs and increase our gross margin on each sale.

Founder’s bio: John O’Donoghue holds a BSc and a Phd in chemistry from UCC. He is the company’s only full-time employee.

IDME: Identification wristbands

Company name: IDME

Founder’s name: Dee O’Leary

Our market research found that there are many other avenues in which we can take our identification wristbands idea and develop it further. For example, individuals with an autism spectrum disorder, special needs, dementia suffers, and sports men and women.

Unique features of IDME wristbands:

* Waterproof and tear-proof: Perfect for trips to the beach or a swim in a pool.

* Reusable: Use for trips away, birthday parties or just a visit to the shops

* Updatable: Comes with two insert cards, spares can be bought separately if your information changes.

* Discreet: ID cards tucks securely away out of sight under Velcro strap.

* Size: Child-sized, 12.5cm to 15cm.

* Card details: Name, allergies, medication, address/hotel, emergency contact, other important info.

Key challenges: Lack of finance and cash flow is a big problem. Every cent has to go back into the business to cover the costs, leaving us little to develop the range further.

How this bursary will benefit our business: Winning the Cork Innovates Bursary would be the lifeline we need to give us the breathing space needed to focus on all the areas we want to develop.

The training and support on offer can only help skyrocket IDME into becoming the international recognised brand I know it can be.

The past two years have been very hard. The bursary would be the much needed stepping stone for us in making the business a success.

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