Mentoring innovators to market
MentorPeter Scallan, former executive director of Celtic Linens
“Their first challenge is finding a route into the healthcare market,” he says. “It’s not going to be easy and they won’t achieve it in the timescale they had previously envisaged. It’s hard to crack the market, but once it’s cracked, they’ll have plenty of opportunities.
“Their product is very innovative, which is to their advantage. But they’re moving into what’s a very conservative market, both from a legislative point of view, but also the healthcare sector tends to rely on the tried and trusted companies. Their prospective clients tend to look for well-established companies, which is a huge barrier for start-ups. So they’ll need to connect with an established company and go along with them.
“Also, public sector tenders generally require a company to be of a certain size and to have existed for a certain period of time before they will work with them. This prohibits start-up companies. So this is another obstacle they’ll need to overcome.”
Content Kings – Communications and high-quality content providers
“We had all been working in publishing and we noticed over the years that a lot of client content can be sub-standard,” says Brian O’Neill of Content Kings. “So we decided to set up a company to assist businesses in getting their message out there, in particular turning offline companies into successful online businesses through social media, website content, blogs, etc.
We already have had several clients but we need to scale up and figure out how to increase revenue through ongoing retainers and contracts that are more than just one-off service provision.”
Mentor: Declan Bourke
“By coincidence I’ve met the guys from Content Kings before and I’ve always been impressed with their enthusiasm. When the mentorship came up, by random selection they were partnered with me. And I’m happy about that.
“As an entity, Content Kings has a bright future, but they need to work out some projections moving forward and get a better grip on what will lead to greater revenues. They also need to figure out what their goals are: is it to build a strong company or to sell it on? The biggest challenge – which is not unique to Content Kings – is cash flow.
Driving sales and managing cash flow should be their main aims at this point. But I’m optimistic. Given the state of the Irish economy, their progress thus far has been very impressive.”