Monthly Archives: November 2016

The standard of entrants was higher than ever

With a prize worth €250,000 up for grabs, the race to be a part of the AIB Start-up Academy was fiercer than ever in 2016. After the Academy roadshow had travelled across the country dispensing advice and listening to new business ideas, almost 400 Irish Start-ups applied for their place in the most coveted business competition in the country. Judges from the Irish Times and AIB pored over the candidates’ pitch decks and in late January decided on a 22-strong longlist. The companies on the longlist included food producers, travel and sports companies, and innovative apps. One thing was clear: the competition was about to go up a notch.

The Competition Takes Shape

In February, each of the longlist candidates faced 15 minutes of fear, as they pitched their businesses to the judging panel. The pitching session – which consisted of a five-minute elevator pitch and a grilling from the judges – took place at the Irish Times’ offices in Dublin. The candidates did have a friendly face on hand though –  2015 Start-up Academy winner Fabien Peyaud – who came along on the day to offer some support and words of wisdom.

After a day of laughter, nerves, and some brilliant business ideas, the 10-company shortlist for the 2016 Start-up Academy was announced. With an exciting list of candidates including healthy meal delivery service Dropchef, packaging company Buska Ltd, and Cork-based spice purveyors Rebel Chilli, it was obvious that the competition was going to be hotter than ever this year. The line-up for the final was completed with the addition of wildcard pick Topper Technologies, who won over the voting audience on Twitter.

What is the primary value of your business plan

Here are some reasons not to skip this valuable tool and roadmap:

  • It will define and focus your objective, using appropriate information and analysis.
  • You can use it as a selling tool with lenders, investors, landlords and banks.
  • Your business plan can uncover omissions and/or weaknesses in your planning process.
  • You can use the plan to solicit opinions and advice.


Here is a checklist to help you get started:

  1. Write out your basic business concept.
  2. Gather all the data you can on the feasibility and specifics of your business.
  3. Focus and refine your concept.
  4. Outline the specifics using a “what, where, why, how” approach.
  5. Put your plan into a compelling format

Suggested topics you can tailor into your plan:

A Vision Statement: This will be a concise outline of your purpose and goal

The People: Focus on how your experiences will be applicable. Prepare a resume of yourself and each of your key people.

Your Business Profile: Describe exactly how you plan to go about your intended business. Stay focused on the specialized market you intend to serve.

Economic Assessment: Provide an assessment of the competition you can expect in your business.

Cash Flow Assessment: Include a one-year cash flow projection that will incorporate all your capital requirements. Try our cash flow planner to get started this year.