Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme helps early-stage entrepreneurs to take the leap, offering a supportive yet challenging environment to help develop business ideas.
One of the entrepreneurs to participate on the programme was Darragh Lynch, who worked with inventor Andy de Petra to develop a kettle that allows people with impaired mobility to pour hot water safely.
The early stages of taking an idea to prototype stage involved many trips to China to source suitable parts and a month-long stay to develop the tooling for the kettle. Other parts and raw materials were sourced in Germany and the UK. They also had to adhere to different regulatory compliance for each market. “It was a steep learning curve because, when we did this, we were pretty new to it.” says Darragh.
With the prototype in hand Darragh sought out help and discovered Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme.
“We hadn’t established a real persona for the customer; the brand and future products had to be worked on. With the New Frontiers programme, we started to think about how we can build a relationship with our customers.”
Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme also gave Darragh a sense of validation, opened up networking circles in Europe and accelerated growth of the business. Last year, the turnover for Uccello Designs was over €1 million. They are expanding their team and have plans underway to manufacture additional products in Ireland.
The New Frontiers programme is aimed at reducing the risk of starting up a business and increase its chances of success, according to national programme manager Paula Carroll.
“It is designed to support early stage entrepreneurs and help them grow their ideas into successful start-up businesses. It is very much a regional programme. No matter where you are in the country you should be close enough to one of the Institutes of Technology (IOT) or Technological Universities (TU) to avail of the programme. The aim is to develop sustainable businesses throughout Ireland.”
The programme is delivered in three phases, consisting of practical and interactive workshops, personalised one-to-one mentoring by seasoned business mentors from the Enterprise Ireland Mentor network, and financial support and co-working space.
Turn your ambitions into reality. Visit newfrontiers.ie to find out more.