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Galway Independent

Business

Driving growth

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017 1:00am

An early stage investor in tech companies, NDRC, is rolling out a new Regional Accelerator Programme for Galway’s digital start-ups, together with Enterprise Ireland and Galway City Innovation District.

The Accelerator programme is part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy for increasing the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than 10 persons and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

NDRC has mentored and invested in over 200 companies to date, which collectively have a combined market value of over €400 million and employ over 600 people. The NDRC contributes capital, up to €30,000, to early stage businesses and, most importantly, supports their development.

Commercial Director at the NDRC, Gary Leyden, explains that the Regional Accelerator Programme is about “getting the ventures to focus on what’s important”.

For the duration of the programme, enterprises co-locate with the NDRC, which provides them with mentoring and coaching. NDRC has already invested in a number of Galway-based companies but, until now, the companies have had to journey to NDRC’s Dublin base to experience the Programme.

With the launch of the new regional base in Galway, NDRC aims to bring their investor-led approach to start-up growth to the West, with Mr Leyden suggesting the Accelerator Programme is the “missing piece of the jigsaw” in Galway’s start-up ecosystem.

The programme will be based at the Portershed near Ceannt Station, the first building in the Galway City Innovation District, a not-for-profit company established by Galway Chamber which is attracting creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who wish to work closely with others in a supportive environment, as well as young technology companies with strong growth potential and eventually larger companies and multinationals. The GCID plans to open a larger hub for scale-ups in 2018/2019.

NDRC are now actively recruiting for the intensive new programme at the Portershed, with ten places available. The chosen high potential startups will be based for a three month period in the Portershed, which celebrates its first year anniversary this month.

The application process will be competitive, Mr Leyden warns, aimed at finding and supporting digital companies with the best potential for growth and expansion.

“We’re looking for a particular type of company; a company that has global ambition, that has digital at the heart of the innovation behind it and a team that can execute on that,” he says, adding that NDRC hopes to invest in around 30 start-ups in the area over the next two years.

“What we bring in is the expertise and understanding of what that type of venture needs to look like to attract the next stage capital that it will require to grow.”

NDRC’s accelerator model is ranked No.1 in Europe and No.2 in the world by the University Business Incubators (UBI) Global Index. Through the NDRC, entrepreneurs will be introduced to best practice models, learn alongside their peers, and be advised by experienced mentors on key areas such as customer acquisition, business models, and marketing metrics. They will also have the opportunity to pitch to investors at an end of year investor event.

“From the companies’ perspective, an Accelerator is a unique experience in that it really helps them focus on what’s important to get to the next stage of investment,” explains Mr Leyden.

But it’s not just the practical supports that benefit companies. “One of the biggest intangible benefits of any Accelerator is the peer-to-peer support, you’re among like-minded people and you’re all facing very similar challenges. Although you might be in very different businesses, you’re still facing the same challenges. So they get as much from each other as they do from the programme and the NDRC team.”

A ‘NDRC at the PorterShed Open Night’ will take place at 6pm next Wednesday 24 May, when entrepreneurs can find out about the new Regional Accelerator Programme and discuss their ideas with the NDRC team.

Register online for the event at www.ndrc.ie. See www.ndrc.ie/west for details on how to apply for the Regional Accelerator Programme. The deadline for applications is 29 May.

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