Resources for starting a business
Starting a business as a young entrepreneur can be a real challenge, but there are a huge range of resources online to help you get started. It’s also worth researching the companies that offer support to start-ups in the form of funding, mentoring and expert advice.
Where to start
A good place to start is AIB’s website, where you can download a range of useful guides, including a ‘Practical Guide to Starting your own Business’. This resource begins with exploring the advantages of starting your own business, and ends with advice on managing cash flow. You can also download a business plan template from their website.
Meet a business advisor
For one-to-one business advice, contact your local Enterprise Ireland office. Each one has a start-up advisor who you can meet to discuss your business ideas. Enterprise Ireland also provides funding for start-ups that they consider a ‘HPSU’ (‘High Potential Start-Up’).
Invest Northern Ireland offers direct support in the form of advice, help with writing your business plan, mentoring and funding. They are also keen to support people who are under-represented in the general business population.
Explore government resources
BASIS is a source of all government information for new businesses. You will find resources on setting up and registering a business, business planning, the legal side of business, online trading and so on. You can also read about the grants that government agencies provide for start-ups.
County and City Enterprise Boards are a government agency that offer advice, mentoring, grants and training support for small businesses.
Sign up for a course
If you would like to develop your business knowledge, consider enrolling on a course. County and City Enterprise Boards run a variety of short and long-term courses, including a ‘Start Your Own Business Course’. The company also works to promote women in business.
Shadow a business
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs gives people the opportunity to learn about running a business from existing companies around the EU, through residential stay.
Keep your eye out for events that help you to meet business professionals. The NDRC’s ‘Swequity Exchange’ (Sweat for Equity) is a networking event which brings young entrepreneurs and experts together, to work on business tasks in teams.
Compete for funding
Startup bootcamp runs a three-month accelerator programme for new businesses across Europe, giving them seed funding, mentoring and office space. At the end of the three months, the companies have the chance to pitch to investors and venture capitalists.
NDRC offers funding to digital entrepreneurs through a selection of programmes, including its ‘LaunchPad’ investment scheme.
The Angel Investment Network connects businesses online with a range of potential investors. Your proposal will be sent to the investors in the network, in exchange for a fee.
Become an entrepreneur at university
Entrepreneurship societies are becomingly increasingly popular at Irish universities, as students recognise the importance of developing their business skills before they graduate.
Get involved in networking events and workshops, and find out whether your university supports student-run businesses.
University College Dublin is known for encouraging innovation among its students, with its own centre for start-ups, called NovaUCD. The support programme provides office space, workshops and mentoring to a host of start-up companies. All third-level universities across Ireland have enterprise centres to support student businesses.
It’s worth taking the time to research all of the support that is available to you, to help get your business started successfully.