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Donegal County Council

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1 Donegal County Council
AER Training Academy – 2nd April 2014 Business Boot Camp Project Donegal County Council

2 Presentation Outline Introduction to County Donegal
The Business Bootcamp Project Implementation and Organisation Structures Partners Communications - Strategies and Tools Evaluation Plan Funding Model Project Outcomes

3 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 DONEGAL NORTHERN IRELAND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

4 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 3rd level qualification in 2011) A location for overseas Investment Developing a world wide network (Donegal project) Telecommunications connectivity (Project Kelvin)

5 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 (Derry- Letterkenny) An outdoor capital (Tourism, maritime) A culturally rich & creative county

6 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%)

7 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

8 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 Donegal Collaboration with all enterprise agencies, including Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) good Supports available yet still an identified gap

9 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 advantage?

10 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 Ireland.’

11 Business Boot Camp: The Project
) Business Boot Camp: The Project Targets 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 annum. 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. Niche SME sectors targeted: Creative Industries Health & Life Sciences Engineering Renewables & The Environment (including marine science and forestry) Tourism Software & Emerging Technologies Food & Agri. Food Business Tradable Services (including financial and customer services

12 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.

13 Business Boot Camp –Network Online Business Boot Camp Materials
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.

14 Business Boot Camp SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses Close fit of project aims and objectives with Interreg IVA Priority aims and objectives of supporting economic strategies 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 guidance Self belief is a concern for many a young person Least likely group to engage in government support programmes, can lead to increased recruitment challenges 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 long-term

15 Business Boot Camp SWOT Analysis
Opportunities Threats Expansion beyond initial partnership region can create further economic development 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

16 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 business Want to learn from the experts in the field of SME and micro-enterprise development

17 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 partners Reports back to parent organisations / bodies (elected council) Regular monitoring and reporting of progress Dedicated Project Co-ordinator employed for duration (3 years)

18 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.

19 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 Belfast Lisburn Castlereagh Newtownabbey North Down Carrickfergus 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)

20 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

21 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

22 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

23 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 regions Centrally agreed criteria, ensuring equality of access and quality across the project

24 Communications 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

25 Communications Flyers
Business Bootcamp Programme Struggling to find a job? Why not make your own If you are aged between 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

26 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

27 Communications Internal Communications External Communications
Meetings s Telephone Online Systems Consultations with enterprise providers Conferences External Communications Seminars Workshops Internet Broadcast and Print media Electronic press releases Endorsements and Promotions Interviews and Photographs Leaflets and Posters

28 Evaluation Strengths Weaknesses
Brought together a strong meaningful partnership 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 partnerships More diverse and dynamic economy Identified a ‘gap’ in entrepreneurial supports for SMEs 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 identified 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

29 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

30 Attended by Donegal County Council representatives e. g
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.

31 Funding Project funded under The European Regional Development Fund Through 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

32 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 businesses; 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.

33 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 business.

34 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)

35 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

36 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?


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