Five Kildare companies in running for €50,000 prize fund

Five local companies will slug it out this Wednesday for a business start-up package worth € 50,000 to the winner.

Five local companies will slug it out this Wednesday for a business start-up package worth € 50,000 to the winner.

The business ideas vary from an equine reproductive aid to a weekend party planner, but they all have one thing in common – they are the brainchilds of Kildare entrepreneurs eager to give their companies a kickstart.

The five finalists in the Newbridge 200 Business Start Up Competition will make a final presentation to judges during the free Ready Steady Go enterprise expo taking place at Newbridge’s Hotel Keadeen on Wednesday, October 3.

For the contestants, the experience may be a little like television reality show Dragon’s Den, as former Dragon, and presidential candidate, Sean Gallagher is on the judging panel. Mr Gallagher is a keynote speaker at the event, which will be opened by Minister Brian Hayes.

The prize will include a profession services support package, including accounting, business, HR, IT, sales and marketing, branding and PR professional services, as well as a support package from Enterprise Ireland, Kildare County Enterprise Board and AIB.

The competition is being run as part of the Newbridge 200 bicentenary celebrations.

Pat Sutton of sponsors O’Kelly Sutton in Kildare town, said that the standard of entries was “quite good”.

“Initially the entries were slow coming in, but a lot came in over the last two or three days,” he said. “The competition was confined to companies in the Kildare area, or people living in Kildare. Some of the entries weren’t that serious, but there was a good share of people who had put sufficient effort into them.”

Most of the entrants were either at the idea, or early launch, stages of their business.

The 40 or so entrants where whittled down to a shortlist of 20, and these companies attended a masterclass in business planning, held in Newbridge Credit Union at the end of August.

“It was interesting, in talking to the entrants, to find out that the competition had triggered some ideas for them. And one or two people had been sitting on ideas for a while, and the competition triggered them into putting these into action.”

Wednesday’s judging panel will be composed of Mr Sutton, Mr Gallagher, Kate Shortt from AIB, Con McNamara of Newbridge Chamber, David O’Reilly of Newbridge 200 and David Wright of the Ready Steady Go expo.

Each participant will give a final five-minute presentation about their business, and the winner is expected to be announced at 2.15pm.

The final five are:

Equilume (Barbara Murphy, Sallins)

Equilume is a light therapy solution for horses that will maximise reproductive efficiency within the thoroughbred industry and beyond.Loylap (Patrick Garry, Naas)

Loylap is the next generation software in the customer loyalty and retention space. It enables users to accumulate loyalty programs from all their favourite businesses in one easy to access place; their smart phones.

WOW Weekend Planners (Catherine Johnson and Tracey Maher, Newbridge)

WOW Weekend Planners is a one-stop shop for the county of KILDARE. Their aim is to establish Kildare as a ‘point of destination’ for those seeking a weekend getaway, through their website www.wowweekend.ie.

AQEoR Technologies (Geraldine Gibson, Maynooth)

AQEoR Technologies will deliver cloud based software specialising in the Analysis, Quantification and Evaluation of Risk across the Governance, Risk and Compliance functions of financial services institutions.

Foirfe - Woodshield (Seamus Kennedy, Monasterevin)

Foirfe (Irish for perfect) will provide a unique patented process to coat timber posts and rails in recycled plastic. Suitable for Agriculture, Horticulture, Equine and Fishery applications amongst others, the posts will be maintenance free, have a 50+ year life span and are green tech as they lock in carbon and do not leech chemicals.

The Ready Steady Go business expo in Hotel Keadeen this Wednesday, October 3, is open free to all locals who want to either start a business or grow their enterprise. For details on seminars and speakers, log on to www.readysteadygo.ie.

- Laura Coates