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Small Business Briefing

Ireland to entrepreneurs: Come for the money Add to ...

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Canadian startup wins award in Ireland

Dublin is building its case as Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley, asking prospective business owners to "come for the money and stay for the supports and networking," and it’s working, according to Gordon Smith in The Irish Times. In 2011, a €10-million fund was launched to attract international entrepreneurs, and the winners of two Irish technology start-up competitions last year both came from outside the country.

Adjuno, whose principals are from Canada and Bulgaria, won the National Digital Research Centre’s LaunchPad LiftOff award in December. The winner in May, B-Smark, was founded by Italians.

The overarching issue is a simple one, says Chris Horn, co-founder of Iona Technologies, who sat on the task force’s advisory panel. “It was primarily about numbers" because there are not enough Irish companies with the potential to create jobs, so start-ups have to be sourced from elsewhere. “Governments don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do,” Mr. Horn told The Irish Times.

Lorcan O’Sullivan, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s overseas entrepreneurship department, says the country wants to add international experience and perspective to create a richer indigenous start-up culture. “While it’s a numbers game, it’s not just that. I believe what we’re doing will start to build a start-up ecosystem. The places that are most successful are places where there is diversity."

His organization set a target to have 10 per cent of the high-potential start-ups on its books come from overseas by 2013. Mr. O’Sullivan says it has already reached this number.

The fund is open to entrepreneurs from any country.

Canadian Terence Hong, CEO of Adjuno, says there are some seed funds available in Ireland but more are required. “Really, a large part of funding has to come from private industry. Even with Enterprise Ireland’s matched funding, that is contingent on a private investor or a seed fund pulling the trigger first.”

Mr. Hong points out that adding more companies is essential to creating the density of activity that a true start-up hub needs because it leads to healthy competition and collaboration.

Blogging platform tailor-made for entrepreneurs

L.A.-based web developer Inflite Group is using the Sundance Film Festival to launch its new blogging platform and social network specifically targeted at entrepreneurs, Heather Clancy writes for Small Business Matters. Inflite.com is targeted at small-business owners who are looking for a place to share experiences and to increase the exposure for their company. Posts are copyright-protected, and content can also be set to automatically populate your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Tumblr. The site is currently in beta and available by invite only. Apply here.

Business owner makes Halifax mayoral run

Local entrepreneur Fred Connors has thrown his hat in the ring to be the next mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), Metro reports. Owner of the FRED art gallery, salon and café on the city's Agricola Street announced his candidacy during a speech for the Family SOS Ambassador Award at the Courage to Give Back Awards on Thursday night. Mr. Connors, the paper says, is "no stranger to municipal issues, including his fight to allow chickens in Halifax backyards." He told CTV News after the ceremony that he's looking to "get some real change happening in Halifax. I've been involved in my community for a very long time and I care very passionately about the community that I live in and HRM as a whole," he told CTV.


What women are doing, not what they're not

This is not another conference about why there aren’t enough women in technology, The Next Web states. The Women 2.0 PITCH Conference is about making connections, not drawing complaints; it’s about forward momentum, not the current ecosystem; it’s about what women are doing, not what they aren’t. The event, now in its fifth year, takes place on Feb. 14, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

How to do business with government

Are you interested in doing business with any level of government? Check out this half-day seminar from the Guelph (Ont.) Chamber of Commerce, showcasing business and funding opportunities available to entrepreneurs. Federal, provincial and municipal representatives will be discussing government procurement and purchasing processes, funding application processes and funding availability. The event takes place Feb. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. General admission is $35 plus HST.


Don't drop them, hook them

The majority of customer dropouts at website checkouts may not be attributable to a lack of interest, but, rather, a lack of commitment. Window shoppers are as much a plague to online business as to conventional retailers. There are, however, a few steps that can help cut the number of shoppers who abandon their carts and convert them to paying customers, guest columnist Robert Matthams writes.


'Don't underestimate a woman'

Donna Marie Antoniadis, the co-founder and COO of ShesConnected.com, a social media site for women, was the only Canadian named to the 2010 Forbes list of the “20 best-branded women on Twitter.” She’s labelled a “digital, mobile and social media leader” on a list that included celebrities such as Maria Shriver and Ivanka Trump, and swimsuit-model-turned-multimillion-dollar brand, Kathy Ireland. We caught up with her in October, 2010, over a couple of non-fat lattes in downtown Toronto.

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