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Based in Galway - working with clients across Ireland.

What ‘grants’ and other supports apply to my startup business?

Enterprise Agency Supports

If you have ever wondered what supports that you and your startup business could and should apply for, read on:

This blogpost and the accompanying presentation will categorise the supports depending on the stage of development of your startup company: pre-enterprise; early stage; and established startup

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4 Point Formula to Win funding – The Startup Pitch [Book review]

The Startup Pitch Book Review Featured Image

I assist startups via training and mentoring to pitch for early stage investment to include enterprise agency supports such as New Frontiers and Competitive Start Fund in Ireland. I was delighted to find a superb book by Chris Lipp called ‘The Startup Pitch : A proven formula to win funding’. At 160 pages, it is […]

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Galway’s Startup Scene : 2017 Snapshot

Galway Ecosystem report Banner

  In late 2016, Startupblink contacted me to write a ‘Startup Ecosystem article‘ on Galway to feature on their global website. I agreed and enlisted the assistance of John Breslin, NUIG, PorterShed and Startup Galway; and Barry Egan, Enterprise Ireland West Region. The brief was very specific with set questions to be answered such as: […]

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Dealing with difficult clients as a Freelance Consultant

Troublesome trucks aka difficult customers

I was asked recently as part of a Q&A to discuss how I deal with ‘difficult clients’ or customers. Having provided a short and off the top of the head response, this post is my reflections on this very interesting question:     Starting Point : Choose your Customers Wisely   As a freelancer, you […]

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Business Model Canvas for Social Enterprise

Start a Social Enterprise Ballybane Feb March 2016

As I explained in this LinkedIn Pulse article entitled “Inspiring: Social Enterprise in Galway 2016”, I am involved in delivering a new ‘Start a Social Enterprise’ programme on behalf of SCCUL Enterprises and Galway City Partnership – first quarter of 2016 . Workshop 2 addressed business planning. Before the programme commenced, I was wondering whether […]

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Articles about CSF for InspiredStartups.com

Inspired Startups articles on CSF

The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) is undoubtedly a significant component of Enterprise Ireland’s suite of financial supports for early stage startups as per this Slideshare.     I recently wrote two blogpost articles for InspiredStartups.com with advice for startup promoters in terms of completing their application for Enterprise Ireland’s CSF. This short article outlines the […]

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Two hour Negotiations Workshop, DCU Invent, 10th November

Negotiations by Donncha Hughes

Donncha provides two hour, half day and full day Negotiations Workshops. Please contact to discuss your requirements.     I was recently asked by Maria Johnston, Operations & Enterprise Development Manager, DCU Invent Centre to deliver a two hour session on Negotiations at 10AM on Tuesday 10th November, 2015 for clients and startups. This post […]

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Ten things we probably knew and were reminded of during Startup Gathering Galway 2015

Last Friday (9th October 2015) was spent meeting new business acquaintances and talking to almost every startup promoter and supporter that I know in Galway. I attended 6 events throughout the entire day from 8AM till 9PM. Here are ten things (as recorded on Twitter) that I probably knew already but was reminded of:   […]

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[Book Review] Disciplined Entrepreneurship : 24 Steps to a Successful Startup by Bill Aulet (2013)

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I have just finished reading Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet, Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Published in 2013, it is a superb book (Book available in Ireland via Easons).   This review does not seek to summarise the book – for that I suggest you read this excellent post ‘A book in […]

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About Startup Galway Pitches Meetup

Pitch Meetup Banner

In March 2015, I volunteered to become a joint Co-ordinator along with Conor O’Donovan of the Galway Startup Businesses Meetup which is now a subgroup of Startup Galway and rebranded as Startup Galway Pitches Meetup. The idea of the group is to provide a forum for early stage startups to network with their peers, with […]

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About The Startup Business Planning Jigsaw

Introducing the Business Planning Jigsaw

Managing a startup business is NOT easy. Startup entrepreneurs have lots of balls in the air. Lean Startup books, theory and practice are brilliant but the question is which model or framework do you follow and when – and are they all relevant to an Irish startup situation? To address this dilemma Donncha devised the […]

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The Dip By Seth Godin : A Book Review

the Dip book by Seth Godin

Being the Best in the World is seriously Underrated … Seth Godin The Dip   You might be wondering how I came to read Seth Godin’s book, ‘The Dip – The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit (And When to Stick)’ published in 2007 early in 2015. He mentioned the idea of The Dip […]

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Running a ‘freelance’ business in Ireland in 2015

2015 Banner for Donncha Hughes, Business Advisor

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote an article reviewing 2013 and setting out my business ambitions for the year. I wrote it firstly as a planning and review mechanism for myself; secondly, on basis that it might be useful for anyone in the same boat; and finally, to highlight issues that have to be […]

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SCCUL Mentoring Programme Autumn Business Seminar

SCCUL Mentors Member

I was delighted to be asked by Liam Bluett and Michael Smyth of Ballybane Enterprise Centre to speak at their upcoming Autumn Business Seminar. It takes place in the Clayton Hotel, Galway on Wednesday 10th September at 6.00 PM with registration at 5.30 PM.The event will primarily provide a SCCUL Mentors Update by Colman Collins, […]

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Please support MediStori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Medistori Crowdfunding campaign

Today, I made a modest financial contribution as part of a Crowdfunding campaign to MediStori and I would ask everyone who reads this to seriously consider supporting this campaign – by making a contribution directly or telling someone else who would benefit from the product. The promoter is looking to raise €50,000 in the next […]

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Running a small self employed service business

A self employed person running a professional services business has a different outlook to most other businesses. I think that somewhat different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) apply when you want to track how the business is doing so that you can plan for the future.     Here is my review of my business in […]

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All about Startup Digest Galway

Startup Digest.com

Startup Digest Galway is new – it aims to feature all startup related events taking place in the Greater Galway and West of Ireland region. It is firstly a Google Calendar and secondly anyone can sign up to receive a weekly email listing the networking events for entrepreneurs. I have volunteered to curate Startup Digest […]

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How to build a business from your skills, domain knowledge and life experience?

Knowledge and Skills image

I recently wrote a blogpost for Tweak Your Biz discussing my answer to ‘What do you think of my business idea?’ To summarise, I always respond that it is your customers (and the market) that are the final arbitrator of whether you have a business. This blogpost is a follow up which asks, how do […]

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How to present data in a visual format?

Bullet graph

Bullet charts are a superb data visualisation tool – if you want to present results of a metric such as Sales across two periods e.g. this year versus last year (or against this year’s target) in  for instance a business plan update. The advantage is that they allow presentation of comparative information while also presenting […]

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Friday evening question to ponder – how do you run up a hill?

Running up a Hill

I asked myself a question today – How do you run up a hill? What is the best way? This raised more questions. Do you grit your teeth or do you smile, do you keep a steady pace or do you sprint up to get it over and done with, do you run in a […]

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Drop the ‘Lean Startup’ buzzwords please. Promoters, show me the results!

Lean Startup Buzzwords

I am proud to be an advocate of the Lean Startup movement. I have worked with lots of startups to firstly explain the principles and secondly to use the tools. Why – because when I read The Lean Startup, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, particularly Running Lean and most recently The Lean Entrepreneur, the […]

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What Enterprise Ireland are looking for in a New Frontiers Phase 2 Application in 2017?

Banner for New Frontiers Blogpost 2

Are you participating on one of the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Phase 1 programmes being delivered by the Incubation Centres in the Institutes of Technology in Ireland? If yes, you may have started completing your Phase 2 application. As a trainer on the programmes in DKIT, IT Sligo and GMIT, I would like to share […]

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Limerick City Enterprise Board Student Enterprise Competition is a great initiative

I am looking forward to attending Villiers School on the North Circular Road, Limerick this Thursday to meet the students for their market day as part of the 2013 Student Enterprise Competition organised by Limerick City Enterprise Board. I was delighted to be asked to be a member of the Limerick City judging panel along […]

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Latest report on Entrepreneurship in Ireland

Cover of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Ireland 2010

Ireland’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report 2010 was launched by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton T.D. on the 30th June 2011. The report, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, confirms that Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. There has been a decrease in the level of early stage entrepreneurial activity reflecting the current economic challenges. However, the rate of start-up enterprise activity in Ireland continues to be one of the highest within Europe.

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