Project stage: Delivering and Implementing.
The problem: The challenge of starting a business or social venture can be significant, and entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs may struggle to navigate the complex start-up process, develop a clear business model, and access funding opportunities and space to do this. This can hinder their ability to make a positive impact in their communities and create sustainable ventures. Therefore, the need for a start-up program specifically designed for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs is a critical issue to address.
Target Groups: Local start-ups and emerging social enterprises.
Geographic Area: Dublin Northwest.
Partners: Dublin City Council, Department of Social Protection, Dublin Northwest Partnership.
Solution: Provision of a ten month incubator programme that supports employment by facilitating local start-ups, many of whom are in receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme (BTWEA) to take their business to the next level, building on supports already provided to some by the Department of Social Protection via the BTWEA and Dublin Northwest Area Partnership via the Start Your Own Business Course.
Funders: Dublin City Council.
Changes made: Since 2016, we have run the programme on seven occasions and have supported 70 local startups. The programme has a high level of success and as of January 2023, 76% of participants were still active and engaged in running their business.
What people said:
“From start to finish, Innovative Communities’ Incubate for Growth Programme for startups was incredibly worthwhile for our company. It was hugely beneficial to the early development of our business along with our own journey as entrepreneurs. We were supported with regular one-to-one mentoring sessions, introductions to business and mentoring networks and full access to the Hub. Annabelle and her team accommodated all of our needs as an early-stage company. They consistently went above and beyond to support us, while the Hub office environment couldn’t have been any more welcoming.
This is much more than an incubation programme, Annabelle opened us up to her own personal network in the social enterprise space, which was invaluable when deciding on our company’s structure. The Hub is a great place to work from and connect with like-minded people in the space. We would strongly recommend this programme to any social enterprise or business.“
–Conor O Laoire, Co-Founder & CEO | Amplify, David Beaky, Co-Founder & CMO | Amplify www.amplifydonations.com
“As part of this programme, I received free desk space in the social innovation hub in Ballymun’s Civic Centre, one-to-one mentoring with the wonderful Annabelle Conway and the opportunity to meet a range of wonderful organisations and individuals doing great work. What I gained most from the programme is a sense of community and camaraderie. People to share the ups and downs of the start-up world with – celebrating the wins and keeping you going through the tougher days. Although I am officially off the programme, I will continue as a member of the hub and expect to visit regularly.”
Anne-Marie Macken, Founder, Money Coaching Ireland www.moneycoaching.ie