Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurs’

Propeller 3.0 Huge International Interest

December 29, 2012 2 comments


By Terence Bowden

Once again DCU Ryan Academy’s, Propeller Venture Accelerator, ranked 7th in Europe, is off to a flying start.  Over 140 companies applied from around the world,  An amazing 47% of them are internationally based including 8 from India and 3 from New York, other countries include Togo (which is always interesting), Nigeria, Israel, New Zealand and Malta but to name a few.  The map below gives a good illustration.


So far we held over 115 meetings including a lot of Skype calls around the world. Discussing items such as their business model, pricing structure, team development,  lowest hanging fruit and gaining traction with the market.

One of the goals I wanted to achieve this year was to help the general start-up eco system. While space is limited on the accelerator, the decision was taken to invite the mentors to get involved in two ways;

  1. By reviewing the applications and completing feedback forms.
  2. Providing feedback during the company presentations.

We had an amazing number of mentors volunteer to help and I would like to thank them for their time in doing so.  This feedback will be given to the companies in the New Year.

Presently Propeller has been nominated for a Europa award.  Over €3.2 million euro has been raised by the 12 Propeller companies. In addition, during Christmas week alone, over €1 million ($1.32 Million USD) has been secured in funding, a sign of the momentum Propeller is gathering!


Paul Healy, CEO of Fantom talks about his experience while on the Propeller Venture Accelerator

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Propeller Venture Accelerator, Application process opens 3rd September

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment


Once again the application process will open for Propeller Venture Accelerator which is Europe’s 7th Best Accelerator. The date will be the 3rd September.  So what is the deal;


  • €30,000 Euro investment (approx $37,000 USD)
  • Investor Day (previously investors came from Ireland, England, Italy & the USA)
  • Free Office Space (3 months during & 1 month after)
  • Mentorship (over 80 mentors that can guide, advice and open doors)
  • Introductions to potential clients, partners and investors
  • In total a deal worth €45,000 Euro (approx $55,500 USD) investment & services


  • 7.5% equity stake, valuing your company at €600,000 Euro ($740,000 USD)

“The Propeller Venture Accelerator has been a great experience one that has truly accelerated our company by at least 2 years if not more in only 3 months. With easy access to a number of experienced mentors we were able to achieve results so much faster.”

Tom  Byrne, CEO & Founder, HealthComms

“A good Accelerator propels a company to a different place. Sound business advice, alternative perspectives and the very welcome injection of cash allows the founders the space to imagine what their business could be, rather than how do they keep their idea alive until tomorrow.

Propeller did this for us. You go into the process focused on the money, too many dark days staring at unpaid bills makes you hungry, but the nurturing takes the lean look off you! An external eye on your product and your business plan gives a much needed reality check; a network of business contacts who are committed to help gives you a real trading start; and practical things like office space, professional advice and the insight of other founders like you help you believe you can make it. And that belief is the difference between success and failure. I would undoubtedly commend an accelerator program to any start-up business and Propeller is one of the best”.

Paul Healy, CEO & Founder, Fantom & Serial Entrepreneur

For more information visit our website

All Entrepreneurship is social?

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Interesting article from this months Stanford Social Innovation Review, by Carl Schramm who is President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In it he makes an interesting argument that over the past decade the term social entrepreneur has become “a fashionable way of describing individuals and organizations that, in their attempts at large-scale change, blur the traditional boundaries between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Given the ceaseless appearance of innovations and new institutional forms, we should welcome a new term that allows us to think systematically about a still-emergent field.”

He argues that use of the term ‘social’ could diminish the contributions of regular entrepreneurs, those who create new companies and then grow them to scale.He points out that these regular entrepreneurs create thousands of jobs, improve the quality of goods and services available to consumers, and ultimately raise standards of living. One example he uses is the mobile phone, he agrees that they obviously cannot cure diseases, but:

“They can spur the development of new business models, new companies, new technologies, and, thus, economic growth. Among businesses, cell phones also facilitate the scaling up of networks, firms, and innovations. They allow people to dream big, rather than focusing only on staying afloat. Several studies in the past few years have found that a 10 percent increase in cell phone penetration in developing countries would increase the annual growth rate of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) by nearly 1 percentage point.”

There is no doubt that economic prosperity is a potential help in getting people out of the poverty trap, but as we have seen in Ireland in recent years, this economic growth doesn’t necessarily mean that a gap in incomes doesn’t appear. A rising tide does not mean all ships rise.

Can Social Entrepreneurship be taught?

OK. I am biased on this one, being in charge of the Academy’s academic programmes in the first instance, and having taught entrepreneurship (commercial and social) for over half a decade I suppose I would be. But there is still an attitude out there that you can’t teach entrepreneurship. Yes, there are definitely people who are ‘born’ with some kind of entrepreneurship gene or at least get it through some form of nature/nurture mix. Yet I think, based on experience, that one can excite people enough, and show them the potential that they have, to start thinking about being entrepreneurs. Or at least thinking entrepreneurially.  The same goes for social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

The drive and passion for commercial entrepreneurship is similar to social entrepreneurship. And drive and passion are at the core. The need for capital is the same, the need for a great management team is the same, the need for scaleable and sustainable models is the same. And the need for passion is the same.

I would like to think that I have helped, over the years, to ignite this inherent desire in many people to do something different. And in the world of social entrepreneurship the passion runs deep. Yes, it can be negative. We probably have a bigger issue with ‘founder syndrome’ than in the commercial sector, as founders in the for-profit sector who don’t make the cut generally get cut out (I know that is brutal, but the start-up has to be the focus not the founder in this instance). In the social sector, it is more likely that the founder is in place years after the start-up begins. This is beginning to change with the introduction of social venture capital into the equation.

We need more social entrepreneurship programmes. And not just as a module in a Masters in a University. We need to spread the word and let those potential entrepreneurs feel the passion.

Grass roots innovation

January 7, 2010 Leave a comment

There is a hindi word  ‘Jugaad’ which is very applicable to many social innovations. The words literal meaning is innovation particularly innovation from very little resources. The word has started to get some interest in the West, but has been applied in India to social innovations. Out of interest, the word is also a slang term for the cars and trucks that one can see on the Indian subcontinent that are made up from parts appropriated from several vehicles.

Professor Anil Gupta of the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions tracks such social innovations through his Honey Bee Network, which ‘carries stories of  local ingenuity’ and in doing so acknowledges the local provider of the solution. These knowledge providers include innovators, farmers, scholars, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The network now has a presence in seventy five countries and counting. At a time when many social entrepreneurs are cash-strapped, it is worth taking a moment to look at how innovative solutions to social problems are progressed in other countries. As the saying goes, it is alright to steal once you steal from the best.