Participants in a year-long enterprise programme at Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) today pitched their business ideas to investors, as they look to bring their high-potential knowledge-intensive businesses to market.
The M50 Enterprise Platform Programme (M50 EPP) is a one-year practically focused enterprise support programme aimed at entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of starting up businesses.
Having spent a year at the LINC (Learning and Innovation Centre) at ITB honing their business skills while receiving mentoring, the participants pitched their investment to a panel of investors, including: Derek Crawley, NCB Ventures: Justin Baily, Horwath Bastow Charleton; Martin Scully, Oyster Capital Partners; Liz Fleming, Halo Business Angel Network; and Damian Scattergood, Star TS.
M50 Enterprise Platform Programme participant
Amongst the companies pitching was Safefood 360, a cutting-edge food safety compliance software company, who launched in April. Speaking after his pitch, George Howlett, chief operations officer, Safefood 360, said of the opportunity, “It was great to have the opportunity to present Safefood 360 to a panel of experienced and insightful investors. Their interest was encouraging and their feedback valued, particularly as we are now seeing to raise second-round funding.”
Speaking about what venture capitalists are looking for in a pitch, Martin Scully, Oyster Capital Partners, said: “Tell us the business problem you are solving and how your solution will address it, how much you think the customer will pay and how you propose to target the market. What is most appealing is a disruptive technology that can be fully developed on an ongoing basis. We want to contribute to the rollout of a global sales organisation which typically means heading straight to the US market.”
The M50 EPP is about to launch its 2011 programme in late April and this year it was inundated with applications. “The programme at the LINC is in high demand,” says Claire Mac Namee, enterprise manager. “Companies that come on our programme have the benefit of top-class mentors in all areas of new business development, which really helps them accelerate their businesses forward at a rapid pace. They also benefit from basing their companies at the LINC and availing of all of the professional facilities that we have in place. The difficult job we had this year of shortlisting applications is testament to the wonderful creativity and innovation capabilities of the business people in Ireland at the moment.
There are 12 places in total being filled this year with the names of the successful companies being announced in the coming weeks.
Photo: From left, Liz Fleming, programme manager, Halo Business Angel Network; Damian Scattergood, managing director, Star TS; Justin Baily, partner, Horwath Bastow Charleton; Martin Scully, chief executive, Oyster Capital Partners; and Derek Crawley, partner, NCB Ventures