Sixty companies to go forward to next round in Start-up Academy

Grand prize in ‘The Irish Times’/AIB Start-up Academy is valued at more than €250,000

On the longlist: Sarah O’Connor and Isolde Johnson with their Cool Beans products, which is now being sold through Waitrose in the United Kingdom

On the longlist: Sarah O’Connor and Isolde Johnson with their Cool Beans products, which is now being sold through Waitrose in the United Kingdom

 

More than 400 start-ups from all over Ireland applied for The Irish Times/AIB Start-up Academy and this year’s standard was extremely high.

From food, construction and energy to tech and publishing, there has been a huge variety in the applications.

The judges have whittled the entries down to a longlist of 60, after a judging process which looked at the business goals, unique selling points, plans for development and viability of the businesses.

The companies will now be reduced to a shortlist of 20, with the founders of those invited to pitch in front of a panel of judges. Ten finalists will then be selected by the judges to participate in the start-up academy. An 11th start-up will join the academy as a wild card.

The academy begins on February 29th and aims to provide entrepreneurs with the skills and information needed to grow their businesses.

The course, run by Irish Times Training, a subsidiary of The Irish Times Limited, is designed to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses faster and more sustainably.

Over eight weeks, the selected participants will be guided through a start-up curriculum aimed at helping them scale their businesses, nail down their accounting, refine their marketing strategies, test their market fit and find and reach customers.

After the programme, the finalists will take part in another pitching event where a panel of judges will choose the overall winner of the academy.

The 2016 grand prize is valued at more than €250,000 and includes a €20,000 cash investment for the overall winner and an advertising and mentorship package for each runner-up.

The main prize includes a €20,000 cash investment from AIB, €30,000 worth of advertising space with The Irish Times, advertising spend to the value of €65,000 across Joe.ie, Her.ie, SportsJoe.ie and HerFamily.ie, office space in The Irish Times building, creative strategy and production from creative agency Rothco and search and social consultancy package from Starcom and Radical.

Two runners-up will each receive €10,000 worth of advertising space with The Irish Times, advertising spend to the value of €15,000 across Joe.ie, Her.ie, SportsJoe.ie and HerFamily.ie, coaching from AIB specialists and a masterclass in how to write a press release with The Irish Times.

60 hopefuls: The start-ups that made the long-list from more than 400 applicants

CogniGolf; Forgotten China; WOD Holidays; The Wedding Agency; QSIP Limited; Cool’nTape; Uppiddee; Deal-Doc Technology; Rebel Chilli; Kids Bricks Club Dublin; Shoployal; TapStak; Cool Bean Company; Four Square Meals; Blackwater Distillery; Boxing News and Views; Mustard; Irepak; DropChef; MakeMyWill Solicitors; SciencePOD; Escape Goats; Brendan Joseph; Rucksnacks; RewardSync; Moontour; Dingle Cookery School; PowCow; Wear we Wander; Pretty in Petite; Queezybags; Sports Fuel; The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co; Nasal Medical; Burren Coffee Roasters; Fuseami; Black Castle Drinks; Popertee; Bundly; ArtConnected; Fierce Fun; Aftering; Kollect; The Gluten Free Patisserie; MakinMediaMobile; Referral.Works; RunLastMan; Bell Media; Leaves; Equine Data Solutions; Buska; Sequin Cinderella; Rascal Reads; Appsforce; DIRECT Teacher Recruitment Specialists; Airmid Natural Irish Skincare; Topper Technology; Baldy & Doyle; Avail Support; Nu Lyfe Foods.