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iGAP Calls Internet Entrepreneurs

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DateThursday, September 02, 2010

iGAP Calls Internet Entrepreneurs 

Internet Growth Alliance Programme Returns for a Second Year to Help Budding Irish Web Entrepreneurs Go Global



REALEX-Colm-Lyon.JPGThe Internet Growth Alliance programme (iGAP), a business led initiative that is designed to help budding Irish internet businesses go global, has been opened for a second round by Enterprise Ireland (EI).



There are many excellent role models, experts and associations involved in the Irish internet industry, and with the support of the independent Internet Growth Alliance, these stakeholders have been brought together in an environment of collaboration to find practical ways to help internet businesses scale internationally.



Brian Caulfield, the serial technology company investor who was the programme lead for the inaugural programme, is returning as lead for iGAP 2. In a recent EI blog post, Caulfield, who was recently named the first ever HBAN Business Angel of the Year (more), said: "I have spent the last eight years as a venture capital and angel investor in technology companies. Prior to that, I was a technology entrepreneur for ten years. In those 18 years working in and with start-up companies I have become convinced that many entrepreneurs fail simply because they don't have a clear vision of what their business really is; who their customers are; what their proposition for those customers is; how they are going to reach those customers; how they will make money from those customers. In a nutshell, they don't have a clear strategy.


Continuing, he said: "Getting to that clarity is essential for every business.  That clarity enables you to prioritise tasks amidst the chaos of a start-up. It enables you to focus the team on what’s important. It enables you to articulate a clear and, hopefully, compelling investment opportunity to potential funders of the business. iGAP is a programme that is designed specifically to help early-stage internet companies to develop that clarity and to give them tools to help them to execute on the strategy they have defined."



Participants on the iGAP are assigned an Enterprise Ireland Business Advisor, the names of whom have yet to be confirmed. However, participants can be assured of the support of renowned entrepreneurs such as Ray Nolan (HostelWorld) and Dylan Collins (Demonware & Jolt Online) who along with several other Alliance members, sponsor and attend the network meetings.



Onformonics had previously completed M50 EPP programme when it became a participant of the first iGAP. Co-founder and MD Conor McGoveran told "The EPP allowed me to cover some core business areas that I was missing due to my technical background, in particular marketing and finance. The iGAP course really assumed this knowledge or in some cases wasn't relevant due to the nature of internet businesses."


McGoveran added there were some very smart people in the room. "The pace, quality of content and general participation of all the attendees was definitely of a higher calibre than the EPP, and in general felt more intense and direct. While I won't go as far as to say it changed my life (yet), I would say to any internet startup that if you have to exchange granny to get on the course, 'Do it'!"



Colm Lyon (pictured), founder and CEO of global payment providers Realex Payments and start-up CaraPay, originally spearheaded the iGAP concept, and is delighted to see that Enterprise Ireland have launched the second iGAP2. Talking to this morning, he said he hopes that 200 Irish internet businesses will apply: "The programme, which started and ran last year is unique in that it is specifically designed for Irish internet business who wish to scale internationally. It runs over six months giving participants to time to consider their learning and apply it to their businesses - all with the support of local and international business advisors. Every Irish internet business will benefit from participating on this programme."



Competition for places is expected to be intensive with Enterprise Ireland having already received around fifty applications.  Visit the iGAP website here.  Revised closing date for applications is the 10th September.



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