Friday, March 17, 2017

Middle And High School Students Will Pitch Their Business Ideas April 5th

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LAKELAND – Young entrepreneurs will get a chance to pitch their business plans to a panel of Polk business leaders in a local version of “The Shark Tank.”

On Wednesday, April 5, sixteen student entrepreneurs will take the stage, dressed as young professionals, and be ready to wow local investors.

Students in grades 6 through 12, representing 16 businesses from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! POLK), a chapter of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, will each have five minutes to pitch their business plans to prominent local members of the business community.

Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, representatives from companies such as Bank of Central Florida, McGee Auto Service & Tires, and SunTrust will determine the amount of funds to allocate to each business.

The investors will also select one business to advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars Competition, where they will compete with students across the United States for college scholarships.

The event is free and open to the public. Interviews with young entrepreneurs or members of the judging panel can be arranged.

Location: Bush Chapel, Southeastern University, Lakeland
Date/Time Information: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
5:30 – 6:00 pm Meet & Greet
6:00 – 8:00 pm Investor Panel Presentation
Contact Information: Rebecca Fortier (863) 688-8551 x 229


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Firm to Empower Youths With Ingenuous Business Ideas

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INTAFACT Hero’s Foundation has kick-started its annual activity aimed at empowering youths between 18 to 35 years of age with ingenuous business ideas.

Godwin Oche, General Manager,  Intafact Beverages, said in a press briefing that adequate preparations have been put in place to ensure that the second edition is bigger and better than the previous edition.

“The Intafact Hero’s Foundation Kickstart is a CSI initiative uniquely focused on helping the youths to build their future. Our plan is to continue to tackle obstacles to entrepreneurship such as ambitious measures to facilitate start-ups and new businesses, improve access to finance, and give the incentives to inspire niche business ideas from young people,” he said.

Oche explained that the process is simple and straightforward. “Applications are received and screened rigorously by experts. The successful applicants are trained on business rudiments and then given seed capital to either start up their proposed business ventures or expand existing ones.
For prudent business management and good returns, the new beneficiaries are closely mentored and coached over the next one year. The end product is the reward for applicants who submitted outstanding and implementable business proposals,” he added.

Commenting further, Oche said: “ This initiative focuses on helping young people to imbibe the culture of entrepreneurship and to build their businesses from ideation to actualisation. This year, the Foundation will collate entries from Monday, 20th March till Friday, 28th April at the designated centers across the states as well as our online medium.”


Shropshire's Young Entrepreneurs Showcase Business Ideas

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Southwater Shopping Centre was host to 20 Young Enterprise Companies formed of students from across Shropshire.

The students were tasked with creating a business and fulfilling their appointed roles as managing directors, marketing directors and finance directors – selling their businesses to the public.

Mayor of Telford, Councillor Rae Evans, gave some words of encouragement after being amazed by how inspirational the students were, saying: “Young Enterprise is an initiative that every school should look into.”

Teachers, local business advisors and judges from a variety of backgrounds all supported the students during the event which saw a range of business ideas from personalised candles, custom made t-shirts and cookbooks.

Student Tamara Fox from the Shrewsbury School whose company Icarus was one of the companies formed by the students said: “The communication between us has improved dramatically and learning our individual roles and the part they play in a business has helped us develop a bond as a team and we have found ways to help each other.”

Another student, Amy Davies from from Charlton Academy School who was part of the student company called Inspirado said it was a challenge working with people she had not worked with before. Miss Davies added: “You have to find out who you work best with and work around disagreements, Young Enterprise is a great experience and a great boost to your confidence.”

Students also said they felt that the Young Enterprise programme had helped them learn practical skills like planning, time management, working to deadlines, new IT programs, and the value of collaboration and compromise.

The students are now preparing for the presentation days being held at Wolverhampton University Priorslee Campus – each team has to give a four minute presentation in the lecture theatre which will provide great public speaking practice.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Entrepreneurship Prize Open to Canberrans

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Aspiring Canberran entrepreneurs will have the chance to impress the nation with the launch of a $100,000 prize by Australia Post.

The competition, called Regional Pitchfest, allows rural Australians to submit a 60-second video ‘pitching’ a business idea.

Using the Shark Tank format, entrants’ ideas will be judged by an expert panel on their potential profitability, scalability and the gap in the market their ideas address.

Winners at state level will proceed to nationals, where large prizes and potential seed funding await. Entry is free and entrants of all ages are welcome.

“Australia Post is committed to helping all small businesses thrive, wherever they are,” said Rebecca Burrows, General Manager Small Business at Australia Post.

“We know there are amazing innovators throughout regional Australia who may not have the same level of access to the resources or platforms to take their big idea to the next level.”

The award was founded by Dianna Somerville, a Navy mum whose experiences starting a business in Wagga Wagga left her feeling regional Australia was being left behind by state capitals.

“I was going to a lot of the metro-based events and noticed there wasn’t anything targeting regional people,” she said.

“[Founding PitchFest] was a way of giving back and giving other people the opportunity to startup.”

Previous winners and their ideas have varied enormously, from apps to products to not-for-profits. Last year’s event in Wagga was won by a 13-year-old high school student who built an education app.

The runners up developed a golfing app which has been picked up by PGA and is scaling up to 1,000 golf courses in the US. When they pitched in Wagga, Ms Somerville says, they’d never pitched their business before. “From where they’ve come and where they’ve gotten to we’d like to think we’ve played some part in giving them the confidence.”


Plains Art Museum Hosts Breakfast to Brainstorm Art

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FARGO—Business leaders know that ROI stands for return on investment, but Sandy Thompson said there's another way to think about the term.

Instead of only focusing on dollars and cents, the Plains Art Museum development director said it's important to look at the return on imagination, initiative, innovation, ingenuity, inspiration, insight and invention as the local business and art communities search for better ways to cooperate.

"These are all qualities that not just the arts community possesses, but the business community possesses, so how do we get them together?" he asked.

There was no answer Tuesday, March 14, during the museum's first Art & Business Breakfast, but the dozens of arts, culture and business leaders who attended offered ideas that could shape things to come in Fargo-Moorhead.

Statistics show an undeniable return on investment, said Andrew Maus, director and CEO of the Plains Art Museum. Across the nation, the arts had a $140 billion economic impact last year and supported 4.8 million jobs. That impact was pegged at $1.2 billion and 33,300 jobs in Minnesota in 2015 and $170 million in North Dakota in 2005.

Studies have also found cultural tourists spend $24.89 daily when visiting, he said, and for every dollar spent on the arts, $8 to $9 is further spent in local economies.

There are many ways businesses and artists have partnered in other cities, including ArtPrize, an annual event that draws about 400,000 people to look at art in 200 venues across downtown Grand Rapids, Mich.

"This is what happens when a mid-sized city says in unison, 'We are an art town,' " Maus said.

Maus and Thompson also pointed to other examples across America, including the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, N.Y., and the Studs, Struts and Stilettos fashion show highlighting outfits made with building materials that takes place in Rochester, Minn.

But what a possible partnership could look like in Fargo-Moorhead remains to be seen, Thompson said. It might be a citywide project involving scores of venues, he said, or it could be a new workforce development program or an arts-based magnet school supported by area corporations.

At the end of the event, Thompson and Maus asked attendees to note their ideas for possible partnerships or next topics of discussion that will be used to come up with ideas for the second breakfast set for July 11.

The museum will have art and business breakfasts at least a few times a year. Thompson said the goal is to keep the conversation going as the community comes up with ideas.

"This is a relationship," he said. "It's a relationship between the arts—visual arts, performing arts, dance, music—and the businesses in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo."


Campbellsport Team Wins First Place in 2017 IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge

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FOND DU LAC - Eight area high school teams pitched their big ideas to a panel of five judges or “sharks” plus an audience of 100 supporters at the Second Annual IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge on March 8.

Engaging high school students is a focus strategy of IGNITE! Business Success, the network of 18 local organizations supporting area entrepreneurs. Job and wealth creation relies on new business startups and scaling up innovative existing business. Identifying and unlocking entrepreneurial potential among youth is vitally important as they are our future economic drivers.

Each team worked with a business mentor to refine their idea, submit a mini business plan and prepare for the “pitch” event. Judges evaluated each team’s pitch based not only how they presented, but also how clearly they described the problem and their solution, value proposition, target market, marketing, how they would make money and key metrics.

Judges/sharks included:  Beth Kuehl, founder of the Great Plate; Mike Pelland, founder and CEO of Princeton Audio; Mark Lasky, CEO of Sadoff Iron & Metal Co.; Ryan Cropper, COO of Grande Cheese; and McKaela McFarlane, college student and previous owner of Red Wagon Popcorn.

"The student groups demonstrated creativity and passion for their business ideas. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this incredible event," McFarlane shared.

Scores from the written business plan portion of the competition were added to the scores of the pitch presentation for a total overall score for each team.  The top prizes included scholarship money to pursue their dreams plus other prizes. The first through third place winners include:

First place $2,000 scholarship winner:  Skratch Snacks - Campbellsport High School with a healthy gluten-free snack idea; mentors - Caitlin Stoll and Joel Fleischman, Drexel Building Supply.
Second place $1,000 scholarship winner:  Team Laconia/Buechels - Laconia High School with an interchangeable shoe bottom idea; mentor - Jeff Liddicoat, Horicon Bank Ripon.
Third place $500 scholarship winners (tie):  Iron Muscle Fitness & Big Guns Wrestling Club - Campbellsport High School with an affordable, family friendly gym concept; mentor - Ike Perron, Perron Trucking; and Fondy Business Team - Fond du Lac High School with a mobile outdoor theater concept; mentor - Steve Leaman, Horicon Bank Fond du Lac.

The Fondy Business Team won the Community Choice Award from the audience for the Most Creative Idea with Skratch Snacks winning the Community Choice Award for Best Presentation/Pitch.

“I work with business owners and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. This project was a unique way to instill entrepreneurship in our future leaders and business owners,” said Stephanie Waldschmidt, Campbellsport business education teacher. “We are excited about the partnership that our students are making with our local businesses.  It is amazing the amount of time and insight that business has invested into this project with our students.”


Thursday, March 9, 2017

BeingSmart Phones by Salman Khan gives New Business Ideas

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Dating Apps to Comedy Shows

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is all set to launch BeingSmart Android mobile phones business soon. The 51-year-old actor has already registered BeingSmart trademark for his smartphone venture. Salman Khan is also the founder of Being Human, a philanthropic foundation which also has its brand of clothing and jewellery line. Salman Khan, one of the profitable actors in Bollywood whose movies sets cash registers ringing is proving to be one of the leading entrepreneurs in the country. After seeing Salman’s interest in the smartphone business, BeingSmart, we are thinking which business Bhaijaan should invest next in? In our minds, there is a list of new business ideas, from – dating apps to producing comedy shows, which Salman Khan can invest to leverage his Being Human parent brand.

According to an Economic Times report, Salman Khan is planning to launch smartphones brand for the middle-class segment. The mobile phones will be reportedly going to be priced under Rs 20,000. He has got in touch with many investors for his smartphone venture, BeingSmart, a trademark already registered by the actor. Salman may take a majority shareholding directly or through his family. The Tubelight actor is currently building an operational management team to be headed by a professional with leadership stints at Samsung and Micromax. The initial models are going to run on Android, and the actor has also selected Chinese plant.

Salman Khan New Project 

In Bollywood, he has already proved his mettle being a successful producer with Salman Khan Films production house and as well as received well as a singer. But it looks like the superstar is not just content within the filmy circuit but wants to venture outside the glitzy world and raise his net worth. Going by all the reports, Salman Khan is definitely gung-ho about his new project. After BeingSmart, the smartphones brand, here’s a look at top five business ventures, Salman Khan should totally give a thought about.

Salman Khan is Bollywood’s beloved badass action hero. Remember his cool cycle scene in 2015 film Kick when he walked in front of the train without breaking into a sweat. He is totally our man to be launching his own set of games, especially car crashes and shooting ones. Kids and their parents would go bonkers and Being Cool will sell like hot cakes. Do let us know if there are more ideas in the store which we can propose to Salman Khan.


PHS Students Share Business Ideas

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Plattsmouth High School Business Program students used their researching skills to make the most of it for group projects presented to local city officials last Friday.

The students are enrolled in the second course of the High School of Business program. Their Make the Most of It project was required in Dawn Danauskas’s business class. Groups were asked to research possible uses for empty lots and buildings in Plattsmouth.

They presented their project results to Plattsmouth City Administrator Erv Portis, Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert, Plattsmouth Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Cruse, Plattsmouth Main Street Association Director Charles Jones and the new Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Director Jenny Serkiz.

Each official gave a brief summary of his or her duties. In addition, Portis gave them a few tips on economic development projects.

No project, he indicated happens overnight. “We started having conversations with Casey’s five years ago,” Portis said. In 2017, Casey’s constructed a second store off Highway 75, twice the size of its downtown location.

Developers need to have a viable “return on investment” before establishing a business or industry in Plattsmouth.

“Casey’s made a $2 million investment and, like any other investor, they need a return on investment in several years,” he said.

Little Caesar’s started considering Plattsmouth as a location several, years ago. After extensive research, the owner decided the town was a good spot for the pizza place.

The first group to present their project was comprised of Claire Albers, Shayla Sinn, Hayley Powell and Emma Wagner.

Before deciding upon a business for a certain area in town, they surveyed 200 people about how satisfied they were with Plattsmouth businesses, how often they left to buy items or eat at restaurants out of town and their top choices for new businesses they’d like to have in town.

From the returned surveys, they created a decision matrix, which led them to the conclusion a movie theatre was an appropriate and viable choice for the area. Other top choices included a clothing store, McDonald’s and a sporting goods store.

Adyson Blecke, MyKel Kindelin and Raven Morgan determined Plattsmouth residents would like more restaurants. They surveyed a vast range of ages and concluded Runza was a top choice.

Portis told the students they needed to research the traffic count at locations and the cost of demolition any existing structures on the property they chose to focus on.

For Casey’s and any other retail establishment, he said, the traffic count needed to be 12,000 per day or more. “Car count is especially important,” Lambert said. “Most businesses look at car count now.”

“Car count and rooftops,” Portis added.

A third group was comprised of Reese Kostszewa, John Bradshaw and Hayden McKulsky. Their survey results were based on 23 respondents ages 15 to 17. McDonald’s proved the top choice based on the responses received.

Serkiz added another piece of advice for students to consider. “You need to look at whether you want to bring in 100 jobs at $13 an hour or 50 jobs at $20 an hour,” she said.

Other groups looked at appropriate entertainment venues, again including a movie theatre, to add to Plattsmouth.

“Being close to Bellevue is a double-edged sword. Because we have Twin Creek in our backyard, it’s not far to go to a movie. On the other hand, it would be nice to have one here,” Lambert said.

Danauskas said she would be more willing to drop her children off at a movie theatre in town “as opposed to dropping them off and leaving them in Bellevue or Papillion.”

Seven projects were presented in a two-hour period. Officials were pleased with the students’ efforts.

“It makes me happy to know you’re thinking about ways to improve Plattsmouth,” Lambert said.


Monday, March 6, 2017

K. Kavitha Welcomes Women Entrepreneurs to Come up with Innovative Business Ideas

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Hyderabad (Telangana), Mar 06 (ANI): Diageo in association with the British Council celebrated the success of The Young Women Social Entrepreneurship Development Program in Hyderabad on Monday. The program hosted panel discussions on women entrepreneurs and K Kavitha, Member of Parliament attended the program as chief guest and talked about policies and business opportunities for women in the state as well as the country. She welcomed women entrepreneurs to come up with innovative business ideas.


Minister Chagger Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to Pursue Their Innovative Business Ideas

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Conference helps GTA teens develop and pitch solutions in such areas as financial literacy, youth mental health and more

TORONTO, March 6, 2017 /CNW/ - Access to meaningful learning experiences helps young entrepreneurs explore their passions and sets them on a course for success. This is the message that the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, delivered to an audience of young entrepreneurs at the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference for Teens at Seneca College. Minister Chagger also encouraged teens to keep bringing their ideas forward to drive Canada's entrepreneurial culture and create new jobs for the future.

Founded in 2015, the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference allows high school students between the ages of 12 and 18 to learn how to bring an innovative idea from concept to customer validation to pitch presentation. Throughout the conference, students participate in workshops led by business leaders and benefit from access to mentors. The top two teams are awarded dinners with experienced entrepreneurs who will support them on their entrepreneurial journey.

The Government of Canada is promoting an entrepreneurial and creative society and supports young Canadians in getting the education and training they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow. As part of its commitment to supporting youth, the Government created the Prime Minister's Youth Council in 2016. The Council—consisting of members aged 16 to 24—meets multiple times a year and advises the Prime Minister on national issues such as employment, access to education, building stronger communities, climate change and clean growth.


"Young entrepreneurs bring new energy and ideas that inspire Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The Y2 Entrepreneur Conference is an incredible example of how, with the right resources and opportunities, our bright young entrepreneurs can succeed. Our government supports entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses, helping to build a more prosperous and innovative Canada for today and future generations."
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

"Y2 Entrepreneurship Labs and Seneca College's start-up incubator HELIX are pleased and excited to welcome Minister Chagger to the Y2 Entrepreneur Conference for high school students. Minister Chagger joins others in the entrepreneurial community to inspire and be inspired by the Y2 participants, who come from York Region, the GTA, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville and beyond, as they present their solutions for improving financial literacy, youth mental health and our planet's sustainability."
– Lucas Chang, Y2 Entrepreneur Conference Organizer

Quick facts

  • The first two conferences, held in October 2015 and April 2016, were attended by more than 100 participants from 15 different high schools, including in Oakville, Guelph and London.
  • During the conference, students present business ideas addressing issues related to environmental sustainability, youth mental health and financial literacy.
  • To date, two teams have been successful in securing funding, and they continue to build their businesses today:
  • Proxi-Meet (October 2015 conference) won the Ontario Centres of Excellence's Make Your Pitch competition, which earned the team a $3,000 grant and a place in the Summer Company program.
  • Candy Cutlery (April 2016 conference) won Ideal Incubator's Ideator Business Plan Competition, which earned the team $2,500 in seed money.
  • Proxi-Meet (October 2015 conference) won the Ontario Centres of Excellence's Make Your Pitch competition, which earned the team a $3,000 grant and a place in the Summer Company program.
  • Candy Cutlery (April 2016 conference) won Ideal Incubator's Ideator Business Plan Competition, which earned the team $2,500 in seed money.

TransferWise to Help People Develop Their Business Ideas

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Transferwise founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann with Sir Richard Branson.

The deadline for submitting ideas to is 31 March 2017. By that time, the Startup Surgery team expects to receive the description of the business idea or prototype. Up to six candidates will be chosen for the three months’ mentoring and development programme...
The Estonian money transfer company, TransferWise, has launched a mentoring programme, Startup Surgery, to help people with innovative business ideas develop their products or services.

According to Kaarel Kuddu, the company’s product lead and one of Startup Surgery’s initiators, the TransferWise team wants to share its experience and knowledge with others.

“Our story is often set as an example of successful entrepreneurship,” Kuddu said in a statement. “We would like to take it one step further and boost people’s confidence so that their smart business ideas can succeed.”

Kuddu added that the programme was designed for people with an idea or a prototype that needs an extra pair of eyes or expert advice to take it to the next level.

The mentors of Startup Surgery programme will be TransferWise employees.

Estonians Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann launched the peer-to-peer money transfer service TransferWise in London in 2011 and their firm has now grown to employ over 600 people in London, Tallinn and New York.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Easy Startup Business Ideas For College Students

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Building a startup business in college may seem daunting but there are easy and simple ideas that can help students earn a little bit on the side. Who knows? This may even become into one of their primary sources of income.

There are a lot of things that college students can do to build their startup business. Intuit shared five ideas that college students can do to startnjj.

Idea #1: Tutoring Service

This is most probably the easiest business that college students can start with. You already have the skills necessary to be a good tutor if you study hard and make sure that you understand your lessons. Plus, you can tutor fellow college students or those in high school or elementary.

Idea #2: Cleaning Service

Another easy business to try would be to charge a fee to clean other students' dorm rooms. You can start there and offer your cleaning services to people in the campus community. You can get ahead of larger cleaning companies by charging a lower price. This also requires little startup cost since you just need cleaning supplies. According to Entrepreneur, the average startup cost for this business is about $50.

Idea #3: Transportation and Delivery Service

Various alternative transportation platforms such as Uber and Lyft have allowed college students to earn extra money by driving people around. This is easy and provides students with the flexibility to manage their own time since they do not have a fixed schedule.

Idea #4: Web Design and Development Service

This is great for college students majoring in Information Technology and Computer Science. There are several small businesses that would need websites. Since you have the necessary skill set for it, tech majors can most definitely charge a small fee for creating websites. Your clients may even enlist you for its maintenance and operations.

Idea #5: Marketing Service

This type of service is best for advertising majors as well as those majoring in creative courses. Again, you should build your clientele with small businesses such as local shops and companies near your school. An advantage would be having a lot of followers on various social media platforms.

Source: Google Alert - business ideas 2017

What's your brilliant business idea?

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 Accessible Markets for Start Up Businesses

People in the UK have a much greater desire, now, to start up and run their own businesses, and this represents a massive untapped potential in our economy. It’s broader than just trends in business. There are societal trends and educational trends at play: the corporate-ladder job for life is much less of a priority. A faster pace of change in communication and technology makes it easier – and in some ways harder – to run businesses. But there’s no question that the small-business economy now works in a different way, and I see in that a greater ability to contribute to the economy.

Anyone can start a business now, because markets are much more accessible. Traditional corporates think in terms of geographical markets; entrepreneurs, particularly in the technology space, think less in terms of country borders and more in terms of one open market, because that’s how information flows.

It’s also much more accepted to start up a business, but there are still things that hold people back: a lack of local support, a fear of failure and not knowing where to go for advice are the main barriers. That’s why, as the UK’s best bank for business, we partnered with Entrepreneurial Spark to set up the world’s largest free business accelerator for growing ventures – with the idea that they would not be solely tech-focused, because there are a lot of tech hubs in different places. The mix of businesses we have in our accelerators is hugely varied, from food to lifestyle to engineering. But increasingly, if you look at most of those companies, they are all innovative; many start-ups are technology-led in terms of their supply chain or their needs. Through Entrepreneurial Spark the bank is also helping to create jobs across the UK, securing millions of pounds of investment for companies, and the businesses we support are generating employment and millions of pounds for local economies.

Entrepreneurial Spark hub

I’ve been to the launch of every Entrepreneurial Spark hub, and I never fail to be amazed. Some of the ideas seem obvious, but that’s the beauty of a successful business idea. There’s the guy who loved craft beer, for example, who went to craft breweries around the country and now has a mail-order business that brings them to people who wouldn’t otherwise have heard of them. It’s not an innovative fintech idea, but it’s a clever idea for a business. There’s the company in Milton Keynes that developed a bamboo bike frame – it’s one of the strongest and lightest materials. There’s the university professor and his wife who developed a transporting device for lobsters – this might sound niche, but it delivers a more than 10 per cent efficiency saving in an industry worth over £40bn.

But we shouldn’t pretend that there isn’t a high failure rate for start-ups. The global average is that 45 per cent fail in their first two years. A lot of them fail not because they don’t have a great idea, but because they can’t access the right markets, or they run out of funding, or cash flow. So if we can leverage our network and the support programme around them so that more survive, this means they have more potential to be a scale-up or even a unicorn. More than 85 per cent of businesses that have been through Entrepreneurial Spark are still trading today. The real danger for entrepreneurs happens when they leverage themselves up with debt early on.

The high failure rate of SMEs is largely down to the fact that they take on too much debt, and they don’t manage their cash flow – and then a great idea, and a great business, goes bust. So we look at bringing other sources of funding in. That’s a discussion I often have with policymakers: there’s a gap there for funding. The reason there is such a thriving entrepreneur programme in the US is that the Americans have lots of different sources of funding that help early on. We don’t; the default is to get a bank loan or use your life savings. As a nation, we’ve got to find a way to bridge the funding gap in a way that’s not destructive to businesses when they’re in their cash-absorbent phase.

The greatest thing that we at NatWest can do is to open up our network, because we bank far more businesses than anyone else in the UK. We can put small start-ups in touch with big corporates who can give them ideas or share experience and sector knowledge. So, for companies making products to sell, we’ll introduce them to Amazon or John Lewis or Sainsbury’s. We also have mentors, often successful entrepreneurs themselves, who come in and give practical advice on a one-to-one basis while our bankers also provide support and help.

Entrepreneurial Development Academy

Sometimes this advice is all it takes. Our research, which we do every quarter, shows that up to 60 per cent of people who want to start their own business hold back because they fear failure. For the rest, it’s because they don’t know how – or where to go for help.

So, what do we get out of it? We learn what our business customers want from us and we learn how we can serve them really well. With the hubs being based in our buildings, our staff are gaining unprecedented insights into how entrepreneurs operate and are becoming entrepreneurial themselves. Roughly 3,000 bank employees have voluntarily joined our Entrepreneurial Development Academy to learn from our customers.

If we can give people the confidence, the advice and the resources to start their own businesses, we can create a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Source: Google Alert - business ideas 2017

Autism App wins top prize at 2017 BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp

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A group of budding Irish entrepreneurs have walked away with the grand prize at the 2017 BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp with their app for people with autism.

Held in NovaUCD – University College Dublin (UCD)’s start-up incubator – the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp brings together some of Ireland’s brightest young entrepreneurs to show them how to set up and run a start-up.

This includes how to write a business plan, create a marketing campaign, draft a budget and present their ideas competently to senior academics and business people.

After four days of workshops, all students took part in a pitch competition to show off their business ideas and products in front of a panel of judges.

A group of teenagers from Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, Offaly and Dublin won the top award for their app designed to aid those with autism.

The winning app – called Mi Contact – is based on applied behaviour analysis to enhance early intervention programmes, and to encourage children with autism to make eye contact.

The team was made up of Ciara-Beth Ní Ghríofa (17) from Coláiste an Eachréidh, Galway; Ella Brennan (16) from Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny; George Hennessy (17) from Midleton College, Cork; Lucy Leonard, (15) from Tullamore College, Offaly; and Steven Harris (18), Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin.

The original idea was developed by Ní Ghríofa, who had taken the idea to the 2017 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition earlier this year.

Individual award winner

Explaining why the Mi Contact team was chosen as the winner, the judges cited the participants’ progress throughout the boot camp and their well-planned and thought-out business pitch.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Jack O’Connor from Desmond College in Limerick was recognised as the best individual student.

He was awarded the prize for showing an in-depth understanding of the process of bringing an on-paper idea all the way through to project commercialisation.

Congratulating all of the participants, boot camp judge and BT Ireland managing director, Shay Walsh, said: “As judges and mentors, we’ve been inspired by their growing confidence and ability, and feel a sense of pride as a company to be able to support the next generation of business leaders, academics and professionals.”

Meanwhile, Prof Orla Feely, UCD vice-president for research, innovation and impact, added: “The aim of the boot camp is assist the participating students in developing their entrepreneurial thinking and understanding of the steps required to convert their innovative STEM ideas into sustainable businesses.”

Source: Google Alert - business ideas 2017