Donegal AER final presentation 280314

AER Training Academy – 2nd April 2014
Business Boot Camp
Donegal County
Presentation Outline
Introduction to County Donegal
The Business Bootcamp Project
Implementation and Organisation Structures
Communications - Strategies and Tools
Evaluation Plan
Funding Model
Project Outcomes
Location of Donegal within the Island of Ireland
• Northern most county
in Ireland.
• Border of 140km with
Northern Ireland and 9
km with the Republic
• Population – 161,137
(Census 2011)
• NW Cross Border
Population 380,000
This is Donegal 2014
A fast growing County
(grew by 13,873 people between 2006
– 2011; represents a 9.4% growth)
A highly educated and motivated
workforce (26,867 people attained 3 level qualification in 2011)
A location for overseas Investment
Developing a world wide network
(Donegal project)
Telecommunications connectivity
(Project Kelvin)
This is Donegal 2013
Research and Development Resources
(Third level colleges, Cross-Border links)
Abundant natural resources (wind, wave,
landscape, renewable)
A growing cross border gateway (DerryLetterkenny)
An outdoor capital (Tourism, maritime)
A culturally rich & creative county
The Business Bootcamp Project – Key Drivers
Northern Ireland
Trend is mirrored in both regions
- In Donegal, high unemployment
rate for 15 – 24 years old
Republic of Ireland
High levels of unemployment
among the young generation in
each jurisdiction
- In Donegal, 18,869 people
unemployed (26.2%)
The Project - Key Drivers
Local Research had highlighted:
Lack of competitiveness and job opportunities in rural regions
Especially among the younger mobile age groups
An increased level of migration among the younger mobile age groups
This region is at a social disadvantage because of the rural dispersal of
the population
• Key obstacles to entrepreneurship were:
- Access and distance
- Connectivity (telecommunciations MANs, Project Kelvin)
- Access to Finance
- Isolation
- Lack of clusters
The Project –Key strategies
County Development Board
launched a 10 year
development strategy in 2002
All agencies agreed on need to
prioritise support for
enterprise creation
Very good entrepreneurial
potential and culture in
Collaboration with all
enterprise agencies, including
Local Enterprise Offices (LEO)
Supports available yet still an
identified gap
The Project – key drivers
Business Boot Camp
 Restricted market locally
in Donegal- need to look
outside, e.g. cross border
market, national and
European markets
 Challenge – how do we
make such markets
accessible to Donegal
 Donegal Diaspora Project –
assistance in making
international links
 How to we turn
comparative advantages
into competitive
The Project Objectives
Business Boot Camp is a three year programme: (Jan 12–Apr 15) :
 To address the development of a dynamic economy across both rural
and urban areas
 To reverse youth migration from rural areas
 To help young entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business ideas
 To exploit opportunities that arose from this cross-border relationship.
Aim: ‘To enhance the capacity of young
entrepreneurs to develop businesses in
underutilised growth and export sectors,
creating a more diverse and sustainable
cross-border economy, through the
extension of the economic impact of the
COMET region and the economic use of
natural resources in the North West of
Business Boot
Camp: The
Niche SME sectors
•Creative Industries
•Health & Life Sciences
•Renewables & The Environment
(including marine science and
•Food & Agri. Food Business
•Tradable Services (including
financial and customer services
The cross-border partnership
(both north and south) sought:
 To deliver Boot Camp ‘Start’ to 36
young entrepreneurs per annum.
 To deliver Boot Camp ‘Grow’ to 36
additional young entrepreneurs per
 To deliver Boot Camp ‘Export’ to 12
participant businesses per annum on a
location needs basis.
 To establish a vibrant interregional
business network with 50 members.
Project Elements
Business Boot Camp – START
It develops young entrepreneurs on the cusp of starting their
business with a suite of tailored interventions to maximise success.
Business Boot Camp – GROW
It is a business development programme which takes businesses
through the process of realising growth potential and businesses
have to be trading for at least 6 months
Business Boot Camp – EXPORT
It is an intensive residential project in a transnational setting,
affording businesses an invaluable opportunity to expand business
ideas and introduce to export potential.
Project Elements
Business Boot Camp –Network
 It will connect, develop and promote inter-regional trade by young entrepreneurs
across the regions
 Opportunity for all participants to continue developing networks created during
the project
 Be open to young entrepreneurs outside the Boot Camp Project, who are looking
to develop a business network.
Online Business Boot Camp Materials
 All participants have access to a World Class Enterprise Resource Centre at no
extra cost to project or individual
 Access to a world class online support platform (Cost - £250,000)
 Access to highly interactive support materials used during workshops.
 Access to constantly updated market information – 4,000 factsheets, video guides,
case studies.
Business Boot Camp
SWOT Analysis
Close fit of project aims and objectives
with Interreg IVA Priority aims and
objectives of supporting economic
Businesses and entrepreneurs can take
advantage of cross-border opportunities
Allows for creation of potential high
growth business in identified sectors
Can lead to an increase in entrepreneurial
culture across regions
An increase in exports and growth
activities can lead to an increase in
entrepreneurial activities
Young entrepreneurs have least
experience so require substantial
Self belief is a concern for many a
young person
Least likely group to engage in
government support programmes, can
lead to increased recruitment
As wages are higher than international
competitors, could result in exports
suffering on price competition thus
reducing the overall impact of
participant businesses in the economy
Business Boot Camp
SWOT Analysis
Expansion beyond initial partnership
region can create further economic
Release of creative ideas can have
positive impact on business creation,
increase in skills base, export and growth
opportunities and sharing of knowledge
Fostering of relationships in global export
markets both through shared events and
online activities
Economy exiting recession can result in
increased opportunities for entrepreneurs
Issues with availability of corporate
finance can result in some entrepreneurs
not getting the funds needed to establish
the business
Delays in project assessment and funding
can cause a change in growth sectors or
further youth migration
Long term unemployment due to current
austerity measures together with negative
media reporting, can create an
environment that is not conductive to
promoting entrepreneurship
The Project
Eligibility requirements
Project participants must meet the following criteria:
• 16-35 years of age
• Live in the following areas: Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownabbey,
North Down, Carrickfergus and County Donegal
• Want to address constraints to developing or growing own
• Want to learn from the experts in the field of SME and microenterprise development
Implementation and Organisation
The Business Boot Camp is based around 3 intensive interventions that
develop young businesses at crucial points in their lifecycle, while at the
same time, exploiting under-utilised, emerging or growth SME sectors,
extending the impact of the regions’ largest economic generator and
building a solid regional business network.
• Project Governance
– Overall Project Steering Committee established with north/south
– Reports back to parent organisations / bodies (elected council)
– Regular monitoring and reporting of progress
– Dedicated Project Co-ordinator employed for duration (3 years)
Partnership and
Collaborative Working
Business Boot Camp project
Is a north/south initiative spanning two jurisdictions
Is run in conjunction with partner agencies in each of the targeted Interreg IVA
regions i.e. Donegal, Belfast Metropolitan area
Utilises specialist local enterprise expertise e.g. Enterprise Support Agencies (IDA,
Enterprise Ireland, County Enterprise Board in Donegal)
Maximises the sharing of best practice across enterprise development agencies in
the regions
Complements existing supports & Avoids duplication.
Project Partners
Donegal County Council is made up of 29 elected members from Local
Government across 5 Electoral Areas
COMET (Councils of the Metropolitan Area) is made up of six local authorities in
the Greater Belfast metropolitan area
North Down
Services were also procured for the delivery of elements of the programme. These
partners were:
The Advantage Foundation (Northern Ireland)
Full Circle Management Solutions (Northern Ireland)
Finding Partners
 Donegal County Council established a European Unit in 2010
 Belfast City Council has an EU Unit also
 Both EU Units identified common challenges in their regions
 Key issues identified: to address youth unemployment at a local level
 To look at opportunities to assist young people to start or grow their own
business in the current adverse economic conditions
 To create a more diverse and sustainable cross-border economy
Partner Alliance
 The partnership represents a new cross-border relationship (strategic
alliance between Donegal and Belfast Councils)
 The partnership benefits both regions:
- By establishing a trade bridge between both jurisdictions
- For Donegal - The COMET region represents through its ports and
infrastructure, the entrance point for tourism, trade and exports
- For COMET – Donegal has underutilised natural resources such as
Renewable/ Alternative resources, highly educated workforce and
emerging hi-tech industries which can be further developed
Partner Arrangements
COMET are lead partners – interaction with Funding Body, recoupment of
monies, etc
The project is staffed jointly by members of the partnership and incorporates
- a joint cross-border management team
- a cross-border events
- a project co-ordinator (based in Donegal County Council)
A project overseeing committee meets on a quarterly basis or more often if
required to decide key dates and milestones
The relevant agencies in the partnership works closely together to share
expertise and knowledge
Partner Arrangements
Co-ordination and management through a central point so all activities are
managed on a needs basis across all regions
Partners agree to co-ordinate and exchange information
Use of collaborative on-line system in place to be used by all parties – Business
Boot Camp Web resources
Joint monitoring of Project budget
Joint organisation and implementation of all Networking Events in each of the
Centrally agreed criteria, ensuring equality of access and quality across the project
Key Communication Challenges
• Rural dispersal of the population of County Donegal
• Telecommunications / access difficulties
• Lack of clusters and networks locally
Project Co-ordinator
• Undertook regular feedback interviews with participants
• Assembled a representative group of young people together to provide opinions,
feedback and input into project
Communication Plan and Strategy Agreed
• Advertisements and editorials in papers
• Leaflets, Flyers and Posters
• Radio interviews
• Social Media Workshop
• Facebook page
• Events
Communications Flyers
Business Bootcamp Programme
Struggling to find a job? Why not make your own
If you are aged between 16-35 years old, live in County Donegal and wish to start or grow a business.
Then you’re eligible for the business boot camp!
The programme is backed by Donegal County Council and is run by Programme partners, Enterprise NI,
Advantage and Full Circle.
The Business Bootcamp programme seeks to nurture those with a business idea, a business to develop
and grow or simply just the dream of being your own boss. With one to one mentoring, expert advice,
unrivalled training in business plan preparation, future planning and marketing strategy, help with
finding funding, help to manage your business more effectively, bespoke residential training for growth
participants, either a business plan or growth plan…the list is substantial.
And in the current economic environment what’s even better is that it is all entirely…Free!
You can find out more at the below: or email: [email protected]
Communication Messages
The Business Boot Camp is unique and innovative on the Island of Ireland as it is
the only programme of its type that supports young entrepreneurs through a
combination of resources, it is free and provides a number of benefits:
Everything you need to prepare for initial start up phase
Opportunities to discuss idea with experienced business professionals
Receive 3 months start up support
Enterprise Shadowing with an established business
24-7 Online Support Platform and Business Toolkit
Unrivalled training in business plan preparation, future planning and market
Strategy to help you prepare for life in business
 Help with identifying suitable funding and assistance in applying for it
 Essentially, the opportunity to access start up finance
Internal Communications
Online Systems
Consultations with enterprise providers
External Communications
Broadcast and Print media
Electronic press releases
Endorsements and Promotions
Interviews and Photographs
Leaflets and Posters
Brought together a strong meaningful
Sharing of skills and knowledge
Large network pool – mailing list database of
over 15,000 organisations and businesses
(Donegal Diaspora Project)
Encouraged and supported young entrepreneurs
to start and grow their business
Created a cross border network for trade and
More diverse and dynamic economy
Identified a ‘gap’ in entrepreneurial supports for
Identified Virtual/Digital elements: has the
potential to develop further with funding
Approach used innovative – how they recruited,
trained, mentored and supported businesses
Skills deficiencies – additional support needs
identified and gaps in mainstream supports
Deciding on which business ideas or businesses
to assist – unable to accommodate all demands
Would benefit from a transnational element e.g.
access to trade abroad, access to networks
Eligibility criteria somewhat restricted
SMEs may appeal to some niche areas – trying
to ensure spread / coverage of sectors
Evaluation: participant feedback
“Well done.
Had a very enjoyable day on Thursday. Today I have taken Grainne Kelly’s advice
and set 5 goals/values for the business (written down) and have set in motion that each
team member have 5 monthly goals that are in line with them. We will see how we go
from there.
Austin Duignan, Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co Ltd.
“One usually has to travel to the cities to these events, for the opportunity to hear and meet
such an array of speakers, (and usually at a stiff price. Inspiration, business advice, take
care of yourself advice, insight into real life journeys all rolled into one day, brilliant.
Thanks again,” Joe Coyle Financial Consultants Ltd
“I think this would be a great annual event. It was nice not to have the pressure of having a
stand there, it meant I could just enjoy the speakers and meeting other business owners. It
was a good mix of speaker and break-out sessions. I liked that it wasn’t all about doing
business, it was also about taking care of yourself while doing business. Looking forward to
the next event!!”Paul Murray Architectural Services + Design
Attended by Donegal County Council representatives e.g. The
Mayor, County Manager and Director of Services, Community,
Culture and Planning. Speakers included boot camp
participants Tania McGroarty, Niall Mulrine and Joe O’Donnell.
A video produced by boot camp participant Andrejs Plavins
was also showcased on the day.
Project funded
The European Regional Development Fund
The European INTERREG IVA Structural Funds Programme
Programme Objective: Supporting Strategic Cross-Border
Co-operation for a more Prosperous and Sustainable
Region –
Enterprise Theme
Duration: January 2012 – April 2015
Grant Aid: £831,205 under Priority 1, Theme 1: Enterprise
Project Outcomes
This project contributes to broader economic development through the development
of the SME and youth sectors:
Engaging potential young entrepreneurs who are on the cusp of starting a business
and guiding them through the start-up process;
Engaging businesses with unrealised growth potential and growing these
Engaging business that are on the cusp of exporting and exporting for the first
time; and
Creating a cross border network for trade and partnerships
Working with young people with a view to passing them on to progressing on to
higher level supports.
Project Outcomes
 To date, START Programme
– 93 young entrepreneurs have participated on the programme in the
COMET and Donegal regions
 To date, GROW Programme
– 80 young business owners have participated on the programme in the
COMET and Donegal regions
 For START Programme
 of the 40 Year 1 participants, 36 completed their business plans (90%
Completion Rate) and
 28 have started their business (70% Start Up Rate).
 COMET Region participants
 some participants have gone on to secure Arts Council funding (CIIF
Creative Industries Innovative Fund) and NISPO (Proof of Concept)
funding in order to assist them in getting up and running with their
Project Outcomes
• which was a Donegal/Belfast grow programme participant,
originally from Donegal but moved to Belfast has secured 100K in Crowdfunding
Some participants, have gone on to become Invest NI clients and have been part
funded to go to Trade Shows
Other participants have also progressed onto further high potential start up
accelerator programmes i.e. Invest NI Propel Programme (NI) and New Frontiers
Programme (ROI) in USA
First Business Connections networking event held in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal
Town on February 2014 was a considerable success and inspirational (115
businesses attended)
Holding a second event in The Holiday Inn, Belfast on the 7th May 2014 (150
businesses expected)
Overall Project Outcomes
Project very well received locally
SMEs have participated positively in all aspects of the Project
The Project met a clearly identified need and gap for SMEs locally
New networks and relationships have been established
Greater openness to wider/ cross-border/ regional opportunities
Project Improvements
Future supports required:
EU: A lot of support provided to improve access and connectivity – e.g. project Kelvin, complimenting local and
national investment
Trying to address local gaps which remain in telecommunications
Isolation – promote networking within and outside the region – Boot Camp networks, Diaspora networks
Access – continued problem – lobby for improvements (Derry and Donegal airports)
Access to finance is an issue – information and support (e.g. COSME?)
EU unit – key role in accessing networks, policy and funding
How do you continue to build on comparative advantage and build this into competitive advantage?

similar documents