The consortium that was recently awarded a multimillion euro contract to manage start-up accelerator programmes on behalf of the State, has announced new nationwide supports to help early stage founders.
The supports are aimed at giving company founders access to a network of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors for support to help accelerate the growth of their start-up. They also include a structured programme for start-ups preparing to pitch for investment or who wish to apply to the full NDRC accelerator, which commences in June.
NDRC, which stands for National Digital Research Centre, is now operated by Dogpatch Labs in partnership with a network of hubs from across the State. The consortium was awarded the €17 million five-year contract to run the programme late last year.
The supports include office hours involving feedback and help from mentors, founder weekends at which entrepreneurs can further validate solutions and marketplaces, and a pre-accelerator programme.
Dogpatch Labs chief executive Patrick Walsh said the aim of the supports was to help entrepreneurs at every stage of the journey - from initial idea to fully-fledged start-up.
“We are very keen to make it clear that NDRC is not just an accelerator any more. We are focused on helping entrepreneurs whatever stage of the journey they are on,” said Mr Walsh.
“It can be a pretty daunting experience to become an entrepreneur and we want to help those prepare themselves better,” he added.
In addition to Dogpatch Labs, the consortium consists of regional partners Portershed Galway, Republic of Work Cork and RDI Hub Kerry. Ignite, one of the UK’s most active regional accelerators, is also a supporter as are five of the State’s top venture capital firms - Frontline, Delta Partners, Polaris Partners, ACT, and Atlantic Bridge
Portershed Galway chief executive Mary Rodgers said there has been overwhelming support for the new NDRC since the contract winner was announced.
“There is a real awareness that this isn’t just a Dublin-focused thing but if for everyone no matter where they are. We’re received lots of inbound inquiries from people wanting to know how to get involved,” said Ms Rodgers.
“As well as these supports being available across the country it is also important to stress that they are meant to be year-round. There is no specific start and finish,” she added.
The supports are to be overseen nationally by Suzanne Mills who has joined the NDRC as pre-accelerator director. Ms Mills worked in investment bank Morgan Stanley for seven years and subsequently founded two start-ups. She recently served as director at Start-up Boost delivering programmes in Ireland.