In 2017, I attended Phase 1 of the New Frontiers Programme which is run by Enterprise Ireland. The programme ran two nights a week over six weeks. There was no fee to attend. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone starting a new enterprise, whether your idea is just an idea or is a semi-developed product. What follows is a series of posts which give an outline of course material for each night. Included in the posts are some interesting points that I found very beneficial.

There are 11 posts in total but I will be publishing one every few days. Each of the speakers and facilitators are aware of my posting these pieces.

Niall

Night 1 – Introduction

Opening night was very encouraging. The session started at 5.30pm but as soon as I arrived at 5.20pm I was in a room with 21 entrepreneurs chatting. I immediately learned that the course was not open to all and that some attendees knew of people that applied that didn’t get accepted. This was encouraging to hear. Our facilitators for the evening brought…Read More

Night 2 – Idea Exploration and Creative Thinking

 Tonight was our first night in The LINC Blanchardstown and the topic for the evening was Idea Exploration and Creative Thinking. The session was hosted by John O’Loughlin. Before our session started it was explained to us that we should see challenges to our business ideas as positives. Essentially, it is good to get negative comments as it is a way for us to discover…Read More

Night 3 – Market Opportunity Problem / Pain ID

Ron got us thinking about our elevator pitches. The elevator pitch should succinctly cover the first three points. At this point, he asked everyone to briefly describe their product/service. My answer was ‘An online appointment booking system’. This got me thinking, though, that I need a better description. So here is… Read More

Night 4 – Market Analysis / Customer Identification

On the way to tonight’s talk, I had an interesting thought, “What is the next step for this startup and what, if anything is stopping me getting there.” Nothing too groundbreaking but a worthwhile exercise to answer this every few weeks. Tonight’s facilitator was Roddy Feely. I was… Read More

Night 5 – Route To Market

For the second session in a row, tonight’s facilitator was Roddy Feely. Roddy started off by explaining what he meant by the term Route To Market (RTM). Essentially, the route to market is how you go about getting your product or service in front of your customer. Much of tonight’s… Read More

Night 6 – Lean Business Model Canvas

Early on in the talk, Alan mentioned how our businesses must be ‘Repeatable and Scalable’, in other words, we cannot be tweaking the product for each prospect…this struck a cord with me on today of all days. Alan then said ‘most startups fail from a lack of customers rather than a lack of development’, again this was very much on the topic from where my head was at…. Read More

Night 7 – Marketing Communications

In preparation for tonight’s class which was again facilitated by Roddy Feely, it was requested that we read an extract from What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. The lesson seemed to be the importance of knowing your customer and knowing your market. As an illustration of this point…. Read More

Night 8 – Legal Issues

Tonight’s talk was given by Fred Logue (Twitter, LinkedIn). Fred is a former engineer turned solicitor (with FP Logue Solicitors) and he managed to make what, to me, is an uninteresting subject relatively lively and upbeat. Fred covered many topics and answered questions from the group as well as he could. However, as we only had two… Read More

Night 9 – Business Case Document and Team Makeup

Alan then spoke about the different types of growth that startups can experience and referenced the hockey stick graph versus a straight line growth graph. After a further group exercise around The Lean Canvas, some useful and informative interaction occurred between Alan and the group. Some takeaways from this were… Read More

Night 10 – Financial Planning

There was an interesting point made right at the start, 97% of Irish employment is through small and medium enterprises. With that in mind, no two small firms are the same so direct advice should be sought as opposed to copying second-hand advice. In the first half of the evening, Gail spoke about the differences between acting as a sole trader… Read More

Nights 11 & 12 – Presenting The Case

The final two nights of the course require the participants to present their project to a panel. The presentations were supposed to last for four minutes and be followed by a few short questions. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the first night of presentations… Read More