New Sweat for Equity programme to get start-ups going

11 May 2012

Techies, creatives and those with ideas for new start-ups can now apply for Swequity Exchange, a new programme that the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) in Ireland is pioneering to spawn start-ups and match mentors up with new ventures.

The idea of Swequity, which is a play on the words ‘sweat for equity’, is to pool tech, business and creative experts together to form new digital start-ups and help them move their ideas forward.

The Swequity programme itself will run for five weeks at Inventorium in the NDRC, which is based on Thomas Street in Dublin.

Mark Kearns, who heads up Inventorium, said the NDRC has already received between 30 and 40 applications from people with start-up ideas.

He said that between six and 10 start-ups will get on Swequity Exchange once all of the applications are assessed.

The programme is particularly reaching out to developers, marketers, business executives, sales executives, designers and anybody with a digital business idea.

“We’re going to try to balance the teams as much as possible,” said Kearns.

He said the NDRC has also put together a sufficient team of mentors, who are a mixture of seasoned entrepreneurs and those who have recently set up their own ventures.

“Some of the mentors set up their own start-ups two to three years ago and are scaling up so their memories will be very fresh of starting a business. The experiences they are going to impart will be very real,” he said.

Kearns said participants will be exposed to the Lean Canvas business model, while Raomal Perera, the co-founder of network365 that was later sold to Valista in a multimillion-dollar deal, will also be sharing his insights.

Interested techies, business experts, designers, creative gurus or marketers have until 1 June to get their ideas in to the NDRC.

Kearns said the application process is straightforward. “All we want is for people to describe their idea in less than 250 words,” he said.

Teams will then work together at NDRC for five weeks, culminating in August.

And team members get equity in the business if it kicks off.

“We’re hoping that some of the teams will move on to other programmes at the NDRC, such as Launchpad, after they emerge from Swequity Exchange.

“We will give them ongoing support, however, as they get their start-ups up and running. And hopefully we will run another Swequity Exchange in the autumn,” he added.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic