Ireland is known as a country of ambitious entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. But turning an interesting idea into a viable business takes time, support, perseverance and a lot of hard work. Throw in the need to make a living and support a family, and having the time and mindspace to develop an idea can feel like an impossible task.
his is where New Frontiers comes in. Delivered on behalf of Enterprise Ireland in 18 institutes of technology and technological universities across Ireland, New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneurial development programme, designed to help and support early-stage entrepreneurs develop ideas from interesting propositions to viable and scalable businesses.
Enterprise Ireland has been managing the programme since 2012, and since then, approximately 4,900 individuals have participated in New Frontiers, with 1,500 going on to the immersive Phase 2 of the programme. Among those figures have been some truly impressive success stories.
A 2019 participant is Uccello Designs, a design and manufacturing company providing stylish assisted-living devices such as an innovative no-pour kettle. Uccello Designs now employs 11 people in Ireland, Australia and the UK.
Another success story is 2017 participant Kianda Technologies, which has developed a no-code business process automation platform that allows business users address core business process management needs without the need for outside help. Now an Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up client, Kianda recently experienced a 40pc increase in their customer base and is aiming to triple the size of their team by the end of the year.
And, Immersive VR Education in Waterford, one of the 2016 participants, raised €6.75m following a successful IPO in 2018.
Delivered in three phases, the New Frontiers programme is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Open to anyone with an innovative idea in any sector, as long as the idea has a potential and scalable market, the programme allows you explore and develop your idea. New Frontiers also supports entrepreneurs in all parts of the country, as the programme is delivered in 18 locations, with Phase 1 continuing to be delivered online post-Covid.
Every aspect of the programme is practical in nature, and includes a mix of interactive workshops, personalised one-to-one mentoring and financial support.
Phase 1 consists of weekend and evening workshops that allow you to test and evaluate your idea and its potential. It is delivered online and there’s no need to give up your job or commitments. By the end of Phase 1, you should know if the idea is viable or not.
Those who are ready to turn their idea into a business can apply for Phase 2, a full-time six-month intensive programme. Places are offered in Phase 2 following a competitive selection process. This phase allows you to immerse in developing your business plan, with the support of workshops, mentoring and a co-working space. The support package is worth €30,000, including a €15,000 tax-free stipend, is also available.
After Phase 2, often participants will be at the stage where they’re ready to look for investment. However, if you’re not quite at this stage, there is also the option to apply for Phase 3. During this phase, participants focus on implementing their business plan by bringing their product/service to market and preparing to acquire further funding. A further support package valued at €10,000 plus, along with further mentoring, is available to Phase 3 participants.
How to apply
The New Frontiers programme is open to early-stage entrepreneurs based in Ireland over the age of 18 with an idea that has employment and export potential. Start dates vary according to your chosen location, but the application process is quick and easy. Simply fill in the online form available on www.newfrontiers.ie and a programme manager will get in touch to discuss your project and send you an application form. Your road to entrepreneurial success starts here.
Paula Carroll is New Frontiers National Programme Manager at Enterprise Ireland. A calendar with application and start dates in the 18 locations that offer the programme is available online at newfrontiers.ie.
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