Eircom ploughs €100,000 into web innovation fund

24 Feb 2009

Eircom has launched its Second Web Innovation Fund with support from the Waterford Institute of Technology-based Technology Software & Systems Group.

Eircom’s first Web Innovation Fund was  launched in November 2007 to promote, mentor and sponsor innovative web applications in the Irish internet industry.

“It’s a very challenging time out there for start-ups in today’s economic climate,” said Cathal Magee, managing director of Eircom Retail.

“Money is tight and funding is difficult to secure. While everyone expects and accepts re-prioritisation of monies for investment, we cannot afford to lose sight of a basic fact – an economy has to continue to innovate in good times and in bad, in order to survive.

“Ireland has a strong reputation as a pro-business environment, and in these tough times it’s more important than ever to support start-ups and encourage innovation. We have a huge pool of talent in this country and our innovators are among the best in the world.”

Magee said that due to the crucial role technology, web development and online applications will play in our lives, it is important to keep the ball rolling and continue to advance and improve these services.

This year, Eircom is increasing the amount of upfront cash to €16,000 for each of the four winners.

“We hope to build on the success of the first fund, and look forward to receiving even more applications this year”.

Eircom’s fund will support up to four concepts, and applications should cover at least one of the following categories: content (for example, video, short films, animations, UGC), movies and TV, games, news, music, sport and any widgets based on these categories.

The winners will receive cash funding to help develop their product, as well as access to vital training and business mentoring. Applicants are invited to submit concepts across seven key categories.

This year, Eircom has partnered with the Telecommunication Software & Systems Group (TSSG) – Ireland’s leading R&D centre. The TSSG was founded in 1996. Since then, it has grown to 160 staff and is a world leader in future internet R&D, and is ranked in the top 10 internationally for this type of research by the European Commission.

“We believe that innovative start-ups, such as those entering the competition, are the future for jobs and economic development in Ireland; and we in the TSSG are delighted to work with the fund and the winners to help them compete internationally and to have a impact for Ireland,” said TSSG executive director of innovation and commercialisation, Barry Downes.

“As part of its support for the Eircom Web Innovation Fund, TSSG will provide free consultancy and training to the winners of the competition. In addition, TSSG will work with the winners to help them develop their web innovation further, provide entrepreneurial training and incubation space, and will support the winners in getting their product live and operational,” said Downes.

By John Kennedy