I know it’s hard to believe but recently I was feeling a little down. All the doom and gloom was getting to me and no matter what I did to try and cheer myself up my natural optimism was flagging. I felt that if I read one more news item online, in a newspaper or heard another radio or tv item or ad that started with the phrase [Insert your least favourite there’s-a-recession-on phrase here] I was going to go nuts!
By last Saturday evening much of that feeling was dispelled thanks to all of those who participated as speakers and attendees at Bizcamp Dublin in the Digital Hub. The mood was upbeat and, dare I say it, indomitable.
Bizcamp Limerick will be taking place on 21st March and I would strongly recommend that anyone involved in business in Ireland get along if only to re-ignite your passion, do some networking and hear some stories from others who know what you are going through.
Throughout the day attendees could choose between three strands taking place in the venue and sometimes it was a very tough choice. Camps being a little less formal do allow for more movement than many events. However the sessions I went to were all so good that I couldn’t bear to leave them to catch the end of others!
I kicked off the day at Aidan Kenny’s presentation on Servitizing your Business which certainly gave me a lot to think about. However I sometimes think we could do with a stern talk about productizing our business 🙂
I also attended a session give by two representatives of our member companies, Paul McKeever of Front, and Andrew Tobin of T2. This session focused on making the most of your web strategy. If you were there and you liked what you heard and you want more, Paul McKeever and Paul May of Front are both presenting IIA events this quarter.
I also attended a session by Niall Harbison on how he has used social media to grow his business, LookandTaste.com. The funding panel was very well moderated by Patricia O’Sullivan, who ran the M50 incubator program for 6 years and who is currently starting up her own business. The Panel comprised five entrepreneurs who all spoke about their experience of raising funds for their businesses, what helped, and what didn’t, but mostly what helped!
- Caelen King of Reva Health (www.RevaHealth.com) – raised €1.25 million
- Niall Harbison of Look & Taste (formerly iFoods as seen on BBC’s Dragons Den) www.lookandtaste.com – raised €400k
- Campbell Scott of IGOPeople (www.igopeople.com) – raised €750k
- Ciaran Crean of MicksGarage (www.micksgarage.com) – raised €560k
- Keith Bohanna of dbTwang (www.dbtwang.com) – raised €110k
This sesssion also included the perspective of Enterprise Ireland, representatives explaining the different schemes that exist, the benefits and possible obstacles and the future direction of the schemes. Enterprise Ireland were well represented on the day and there was plenty of opportunity to speak with them about business ideas.
For me the most enjoyable session of the day was Robin Blandford’s Battle of the Biz. Basically we were divided into two teams and we have 25 minutes to pull together a credible business and present it to a panel of judges. Our team, Digital Finance, won. It must have been the TV advert that swung it…
At one point during the day I was interviewed for Nuacht RTÉ/ TG4 (Dia Dhuit token Gaeilgeoir!) and the interviewer asked me what I thought was the biggest challenge facing entreprenuers today. I replied that I felt it was not so much the economic situation but the potential of that situation to divert the focus required to start a business in Ireland today. This response is a little facile but it is a danger. I think Bizcamp re-energised people, reminded them of their focus and their reason for starting out on their own.
If you would like to capture this kind of energy, head along to Bizcamp Limerick. I heard, Stephen Kinsella, one of the Limerick organisers speak in Dublin about businesses partnering with third level and if he brings half as much energy to Bizcamp Limerick, you’ll be flying!