Enterprise Ireland reveals strategy to fast-track internet software firms

29 Sep 2009

Enteprise Ireland has unveiled its Internet Growth Acceleration programme (iGAP) which will endeavour to fast-track emerging Irish internet software and cloud companies and achieve rapid growth.

Developed by Enterprise Ireland in association with the Internet Growth Alliance, this new programme for high-potential internet companies will provide them with the tools and skills to develop and execute aggressive international growth plans and scale their business.

Recruitment for the programme, which starts in November, is now under way.

As first reported by siliconrepublic.com in May, the Internet Growth Alliance is the brainchild of established internet entrepreneurs, including Colm Lyon of Realex, Dylan Collins of Jolt Online Gaming and Ray Nolan of Worky.com, who have spearheaded a new initiative aimed at helping Irish internet start-ups to navigate the red tape of Irish business and go global fast.

As well as Enterprise Ireland, the Internet Growth Alliance has enlisted the support the Irish Software Association, the Irish Internet Association and the Institute of International and European Affairs to devise a training programme aimed at fast-tracking entrepreneurs’ international business efforts.

The focus of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is on internet-related companies with global growth potential and the ability to meet critical growth milestones.

The programme design is specifically geared to add significant strategic and business value to companies in both B2B and B2C markets with practical learning modules, support from implementation coaches, access to business advisers and industry networking.

Industry experts and experienced internet entrepreneurs will cover topics including monetising the business, revenue models, marketing, customer acquisition and retention, and preparation for funding – all key elements of a business strategy for growing internet companies.

“Enterprise Ireland’s new software strategy, as part of the Government’s Smart-Economy blueprint, sets out to develop and grow a thriving set of high-value, innovative, research-intensive Irish software companies,” Jennifer Condon, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s software division explained.

“The aim of the software strategy is to position Ireland’s software industry to maximise its opportunities in the “New Software Economy”. This New Software Economy is driven by the growth of the internet and changes in the software value chain. It is characterised by user demand for greater flexibility, global delivery and cost-effective solutions.

“The internet is providing opportunities for new business models as seen in internet-based start-ups and new delivery channels such as software as a service. These new business models favour flexible, innovative SMEs by giving them access to international markets via the internet.

“The Internet Growth Acceleration Programme aims to position Irish internet-related companies to maximise their potential in this new market environment and is specifically designed to address the needs of innovative companies, specifically those developing Web 2.0 type applications,” Condon explained.

This programme is a core part of Enterprise Ireland’s recently launched four-year strategy for the Irish software industry, which aims to drive the sector’s revenues to more than €2.5bn by 2013, by capitalising on changes in the global software market.

Outlining the importance of the internet sector in this strategy, Condon went on to say: “Internet-based businesses will form an increasingly significant part of Ireland’s software sector. Enterprise Ireland is working closely with our industry partners, in particular the Internet Growth Alliance, the Irish Software Association and the Irish Internet Association, to bring about sustainable change and growth in the sector.

“This programme is one of a number of initiatives to support these internet companies in their drive to develop their businesses and grow globally.”

Speaking on behalf of the Internet Growth Alliance, Lyon, CEO of Realex Payments, said the development of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is a great example of industry-wide collaboration at work.

“All the stakeholders in the Irish internet industry believe in the opportunity and the global potential the internet has to offer Irish businesses. With all the relevant industry associations and some key business advisers working together we see the emergence of a very important building block – the iGAP.

“This programme will give Irish internet entrepreneurs access to worldwide and local expertise. It is comprehensive, focused and intensive in its construction. In addition, it will offer Irish internet entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and get to know many other people in the same industry – both experienced and emerging.

“The business advisers of the Internet Growth Alliance are delighted with the development and look forward to working with both Enterprise Ireland and the participating businesses as we identify and support Irish internet businesses that will scale globally,” Lyon added.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Internet Growth Acceleration programme aims to fast-track emerging Irish internet software and cloud companies and achieve rapid growth.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years