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Galway Technology Centre Appoints New Manager

30 Apr

IMG_0867_cropGalway Technology Centre is a state-of-the-art ICT cluster of international repute and reach. It has accommodated the needs of both indigenous start-ups and in-bound international companies ‘soft-landing’ in Ireland. To date, this highly wired and connected facility has supported over 120 companies employing in excess of 1,000 higher value jobs, with this number rapidly growing despite the on-going economic crisis.

 Some of their predecessors and now graduate companies of this facility are major employers. The likes of Duolog Technologies, Storm Technology, Abbott Vascular and BioWare joined the facility in 2010; an IDA supported global leader and major employer for Galway during their launch.

 Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation start-ups at local level is critical for Galway’s future and this purpose built facility contributes to providing the type of environment entrepreneurs and early stage companies need to develop their business ideas into commercial enterprise.

 The centre provides a complete solution to entrepreneurs seeking a high quality environment in which to grow their enterprise from concept to commercialisation and beyond. In the words of GTC’s newly appointed Manager Niamh Costello, “We take care of everything; GTC is a one-stop shop for ICT, digital media, games and other knowledge based companies, offering low cost office space for start-up and growing companies with access to connectivity and a range of services that is second to none in the Galway area.

 The Centre is supported by Galway Chamber, Enterprise Ireland, Galway County & City Enterprise Board and WESTBIC. WESTBIC are located on site and according to Niamh, “provide support to high potential start-up companies in the form of mentorship and assistance with business plans and preparing them for investment funding. Our close relationships with Enterprise Ireland, The City and County Enterprise Boards, Galway Chamber and many others provide backup and support to companies located in the centre”.

 The GTC now houses over 30 companies and is growing in volume monthly. The centre provides flexible, high quality, serviced office space for early stage and developing enterprises. The integrated range of facilities and services are extensive and specifically designed to meet early stage enterprises with limited resources. The centre has invested in key ICT and facilities infrastructure and equipment so that the entrepreneurs can use their resources to concentrate on developing their products and meeting customer demands.

 Now after 19 years servicing the needs of start-up enterprises in Galway, the Centre is ready to support the next generation of knowledge based high growth companies into the future. This generation included BioWare/EA Games, an international company, which located itself temporarily while recruiting for their Customer Centre of Excellence and Network Operations Centre. Niamh comments that “As well as supporting start-up companies, the centre hosts some of IDA’s multinational clients as they establish a base in Galway, to have a readymade, serviced office space available where companies can be up and running with enterprise level ICT systems in the space of days has proved to be invaluable and most importantly allows these companies to concentrate on establishing and growing their presence in Galway.”

 The Centre is the perfect location for entrepreneurs with great ideas but limited finance who need the option to grow from one location without spending their cash on expensive telephony, broadband and firewall software and equipment. GTC’s serviced office space includes VOIP telephony, broadband, firewall, 24×7 access,  a HP training suite, an on-site O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar and a range of other services.

 Frank Greene, Chairman of GTC comments “GTC is a not-for-profit entity set up by Galway Chamber, WESTBIC & Enterprise Ireland to provide over 50,000 sq. ft. “Reference Point” for innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship in Galway City and County. GTC compliments the services provided by FAS, City & County Enterprise Board, Enterprise Ireland, Udaras na Gaeltachta, and the NUIG & GMIT Research centres. GTC provides a range of fully IT services spaces ranging from Singe Desk to up to 2500 sq. ft. units.”

 The centre will be holding a series of seminars given by GTC tenants in the coming months, on current topics surrounding social media in the workplace, app building and social management.

Please contact GTC’s new management team, Niamh Costello or Ann-Marie Tiernan on 091-770007 or mail info@gtc.ie with your queries about the services that GTC provides. www.gtc.ie

Busy Lizzie Business Brain Interview with Ronan Walsh @ MyToysDirect.com

16 Oct

This week we interview Ronan Walsh of MyToysDirect.com

1.    Why did you decide to start your business?

It has always been a goal of mine to start my own business. I have, for years,  being thinking about it but never actually doing it, so about a year ago I decided just to go for it.

I had looked at a wide range of areas, and felt there was a need for an online toy and gift store designed with both adults and kids in mind. One that was built and branded around 3 key points: Fun, Bright and easy to use.

2.     What have been the biggest challenges and achievements for your business?

The biggest challenge is trying to get the mytoysdirect.com name out there on a shoe-string budget.

We face challenges every day, we are at the bottom of Mt. Everest looking up. There is a long road ahead with a lot of challenges and obstacles to overcome, but once you stay true to your goal and enjoy what you’re doing, it will be a worthwhile adventure.

We are placing a strong emphasis on our social media marketing and on site SEO, we are starting to see the results with traffic to our site growing week by week.

At the start I wanted to create a site that was bright, fun and easy to use, so to win the Digital/Online Friendliness Category in this year’s JCI Friendly Business awards was a fantastic seal of approval that we achieved this.

We are also thrilled with the feedback we have got from our customers so far.

3.     What are your plans for the future?

To continue to build and develop our brand. We want to continue to build our product catalogue and are constantly looking at ways to help and support Irish manufactures and distributors. We are also currently working on a new blog which will be aimed mainly at kids and will have a strong educational element to it.

We also hope to expand into the UK market in mid 2013.

4.     Who do you look up to in business?

I come from an entrepreneurial family so I have always looked up to them. I also admire anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit to start a business.

It is a very difficult economic climate out there, but it’s never going to be easy to start a business and that’s why business start-ups should be encouraged and nurtured now more than ever.

5.     What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Go for it… on one hand it might fail, and so what; but it might just as easily be a huge success. There are fantastic support groups and mentoring programs available. I was lucky enough to be involved in the SCCUL mentor program in Galway, which was a fantastic help to me and to my company.

The start-up scene is really growing in Ireland. LinkedIn is also a great tool for getting in touch with people who have started their own business, from my experience most entrepreneurs are more than happy to offer their support and knowledge in any way they can.

6.     How are you gaining visibility and promoting the business?

By any means we can. We are nothing if people don’t know about us.

We focus a lot on our social media channels, newsletters and improving our ranking on search engines.

7.       Do you use any Social Media?

Our main social media channel is Facebook. I don’t want our Facebook page to constantly be pushing for sales. We want it to be an engaging and informative side of our brand.

We also have a strong presence on Twitter and are building our Pinterest profile.

Twitter and blogs are also a fantastic way to look at and learn more about online marketing and social media trends.

More about 

Ronan Walsh | My Toys Direct

Office:   + 353 91 768 965

Mobile: +353 87 269 3398

Skype:    rwalshmtd

Linkedin.com/in/ronanw

Busy Lizzie Business Brain Interview with Jill Holtz @ mykidstime.ie

24 Sep

This week we interview Jill Holtz from mykidstime.ie

1.    Why did you decide to start your business?

For personal need. I ended up following young girls in ballet dresses down the road to find out where ballet classes took place.  I thought to myself, there must be a better way to find out about these things!  I thought we could do a printed after school classes brochure but Michelle, my business partner, has a print background and she pointed out it would be out of date as soon as it was printed, so we decided to create a website.

2.     What have been the biggest challenges and achievements for your business?

The biggest challenges have been trying to market on a shoe-string and learning how to run a business, as neither of us had any business background so it was all learning from scratch.  One of our biggest achievements has been growing to over 50,000 visits a month with a significant mailing list and social media presence, on that very shoestring budget!  We are also very proud that the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, supported our Positive Childhood campaign this year, that meant a lot to us.

3.     What are your plans for the future?

We plan to enter the UK market and perhaps other markets abroad while continuing to grow our Irish business.

4.     Who do you look up to in business?

Fiona O’Carroll from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is an inspiring businesswoman.  But I just really admire anyone who has stuck their neck out and gone for running their own business, big or small, because it does really take guts.

5.     What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Life is so short, you need to just go for it and be prepared for a rollercoaster, you will have some highs and some real lows but keep your vision clear in your mind and enjoy the experience!

6.     How are you gaining visibility and promoting the business?

We use social media extensively for promoting Mykidstime to our potential users, parents, whilst we work hard on our PR to build visibility and raise brand awareness amongst our potential customer base.

7.       Do you use any Social Media?

Yes, particularly Facebook, where we have built a very engaged community of parents.  As everyone knows, it’s not high numbers that count but how responsive and how engaged with your brand your community is, and we are proud of our Facebook pages.  We use Twitter to network B2B and to find out information, events.  I use Flipboard now for ideas for content for the website, and we launched our Pinterest page last year which is great for sharing content as well.

More about Jill

Before starting Mykidstime.ie in 2007, Jill had 15 years’ experience in the UK and the US in the fields of business analysis and Customer Relationship Management, including e-commerce data mining, with extensive project and people management experience. Jill managed projects for British Gas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, AIB. Originally from Scotland, she arrived in Galway in 2002 with a young child and did the Executive MBA at NUI Galway before working part-time until she plucked up the courage to launch Mykidstime with Michelle Davitt.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mykidstime

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mykidstime

Mykidstime Ltd  www.mykidstime.ie

Work More and Get Busy Tirelessly

4 Oct

People today are living in diversity. Workloads and work stations are sporting a different aura in the corporate market. What was practiced 10 years ago in the working sector may no longer be applicable today. Before there were less traffic and people are satisfied with only one job. Nowadays, with the large number of public and private vehicles, busy hours in the streets are extended. Traffic is congested. It cannot also be denied that a better livelihood is highly in demand as the cost of living also increases. That is why most people grab the chance of an extra job whenever they have the opportunity. Businesses are also working double time to meet the expenses of the company and to fairly provide wages to the employees.

A day has only 24 hours but people are seen everywhere working until the wee hours of the morning. They are working sleepless and at the end of another day, you will see them drained. Aside from the work they do outside their homes they still need to do some chores when they arrive to their loving abode. Their work has already squeezed their brains out of their heads and they can no longer bear the additional task waiting for them at home.

Need some help? This is high time you get additional work load without getting tired. The magic of Busy Lizzie will do the job for you. She has a magic wand that can make your day consume 48 hours all to be spent with your family.

Busy Lizzie is a website that offers virtual assistance to people engaged in business especially those who are in the small and medium enterprise and to individuals as well. Their aim is to make life easier. Everybody wants that. They can also offer virtual assistance to business owners by providing a virtual assistant who can manage their appointments and other tasks while away. Simple services can also be offered like household repairs or services.

Busy Lizzie will not be famous if not for their reliable services. Business assistance is very much likely asked from them. They can facilitate anything that comes around the business, from web design to e-marketing, from bookkeeping to decluttering. Busy Lizzie has been of service to people in the US, Ireland and England. Some people know about this virtual service assistance by word of mouth and the number of people that they are servicing is continuously growing. Thanks to the positive response of the people who experienced the direct magic from the company.

If you want an easier life, more time with your family and more time for leisure and fun activities, join Busy Lizzie. Facebook is already a place for every person, businesses and aspiring big business owners. If you know your way around Facebook then it is your chance to visit Busy Lizzie’s page and click on the “like” button. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Busy-Lizzie/38758469440 and http://www.facebook.com/BusyLizzielife for their business account. Go and browse their Facebook fan and business page and share with other followers your needs and interest in their services.

Facebook technology enhances online marketing

15 Sep

FACEBOOK has tackled several problems with the News Feed page — the very first page that is usually seen by anyone who logs on to the social networking site.

The News Feed is an all-important part of Facebook because of the essential content it brings to the viewing public.

The good news is that engineers and executives of the popular social networking site have come up with new algorithms of News Feed — for the purpose of providing users with relevant content — which are collectively known as EdgeRank.

You may not be aware of the fact that News Feed only brings the subset of the news produced by your friends, but think of this: if the whole content is shown up then this will only overwhelm the viewers.

Developers and other outsourcing sites such as my company, busylizzie.ie, are always trying to make sure that their respective sites and applications are ultimately publishing stories that will make a certain cut and make viewers want for more.

This has led to the conceptualisation of what is known today as News Feed Optimisation and the success of this endeavour is powered by EdgeRank.

EdgeRank is currently at its peak and the formula it uses is more or less straightforward. But you have to take note that there are items that will show up in your News Feed and these items are usually considered as objects.

If a user has an object right in the News Feed like status update, it becomes an object whenever you and other people on that particular site interact with that particular object involved.

Some of these objects would include some actions like comments and tags.

EdgeRank actually has three components which are very important to the algorithms of Facebook.

  • The creator of the item and the viewing user comes with an affinity score. The more messages you send to your friend and the more often you open and visit the profile of that particular friend means a higher affinity score for that specific user.
  • There is a specific weight provided for each type of Edge. For example, having a comment to appear on your page has more weight than that of a Like.
  • The most obvious and most important factor is time. This simply means that the older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.

You need to multiply these factors, add the Edge scores and you will obtain an EdgeRank for an object.

The higher your EdgeRank becomes the more that object will appear right in the user’s feed.

This is the reason why EdgeRank as social media marketing is considered as one of the most effective ways of outsourcing certain online businesses.

There are so many different ways in which you can make use of an EdgeRank; it not only helps enhance your Facebook News Feed but enhances your online marketing business as well.

Tara Dalrymple is the founder of outsourcing company busylizzie.ie.

Busy Lizzie Partnership Programme

5 Apr

At Busy Lizzie we understand that strong partnerships are essential to business success in terms of enhancing the value of products and solutions, extending the reach into new markets, and improving the ability to meet customers’ demands. Therefore, we are constantly developing strategic partnerships with leading service companies and resellers. Our most recent partnership is with Jill Holtz of www.mykidstime.ie , both companies came together to dually promote their beneficial services to individuals and families looking to cut back on office tasks and make the most out of their time with their families.

Other partners include La Maison Chic, Brendan Costelloe & Associates, Call Management, Those Two Girls, Hotel Express, Access Italy – Tour Guides, Safety Net, uMobilize Promotions and Design 18 to name a few.

In conjunction with making our own partnerships, the Busy Lizzie team have devised a PartnerProgramme that delivers a comprehensive portfolio of products to you on becoming our Partner. We carefully select you as Providers based on the quality and value your products and services bring to our clients.

In addition to the increased revenue potential, there are many benefits in joining the BusyLizzie Partner Programme including:

  • New market/client base
  • Increased web traffic
  • Working with a company with a proven track record

So, if you feel your company has the potential to become a Busy Lizzie partner email us today. Increase your chances of success and become a partner today.

Doing Your Own PR

30 Mar

Why dealing with the media needn’t leave you in a spin

26 Mar

Featured in Irish Independent 14.10.2010

PICTURE the scene: You own a factory in Mayo and you have a staff of 100. In the last few days, you have had to make a difficult decision. You inform your staff that you need to let five people go. Following your announcement, the local radio station has been chasing you for a quote. What do you do?

In situations like this it is easy to feel hounded and see the media as your enemy. But if you take the right approach, the media can be your friend. It can help you put yourself across to your team and to your customers in the best possible light.

It’s the media’s responsibility to tell both sides of a story and, by and large, most journalists live up to that responsibility.

You can take action right now and get the media on your side with these simple tips.

Find the right angle

The media is always looking for an angle, a hook that makes a story stand out. Figuring out what your angle is and what you want to say will help you to cope with any questions the media put your way.

If you were the Mayo factory owner, there are two angles you could explore.

You could take a transparent approach, explaining that you needed to shed the jobs in order to save the rest of the jobs. You can soften the blow by reassuring people that the new processes you’ve brought in will lead to more efficient service for your customers.

Or you could accentuate the positive. Demonstrate that you’re taking care of your former employees by offering them money for retraining and point to the good work your factory has done for the local community.

End on a hopeful note by saying that with increased profitability you may be able to take back your previous employees, and by thanking those employees for the hard work they have put in.

Other strategies you could use include hosting an open day for the media and locals. Make sure to offer plenty of free food and drink — the media love freebies!

Or maybe your factory’s new processes make it more environmentally friendly. That’s a real good-news story for your factory.

Make a statement

When a crisis strikes, take pre-emptive steps by making a statement to the press. This shows the media that you are willing to talk. Journalists are working to tight deadlines, so they’ll be delighted that you’re making yourself readily available.

As the chief executive of our hypothetical Mayo factory, you can create a short statement explaining why you’ve taken this step and what your plans are for the future.

End the statement with a quote emphasising your regret at the redundancies.

Planning for the future

Good media management isn’t just about firefighting. It’s important to create a strategy that will help you develop an ongoing relationship with the media. First, identify outlets for your press releases.

What local media is available to you? Don’t forget to include radio stations as well as newspapers.

If you read any publications or listen to radio programmes that are relevant to your business, you could target them.

Start sending your press releases to these outlets and keep sending them — persistence is the key.

Create relationships

You may not believe this, but journalists are human beings! And the personal touch goes a long way. Within the outlets you’ve chosen, make a note of the names of the journalists who are producing the pieces.

If you ring the organisations, they’ll be happy to supply you with an email address or phone number, so you can contact them. Don’t worry if you don’t get an instant response — if you keep sending press releases, journalists will recognise your name and start featuring you.

Call in the professionals

As a small business owner, it can be hard to find the time or the perspective to deal with the media. Consulting with a PR agency will help you make the most of what the media has to offer.

Tara Dalrymple worked for publisher Dorling Kindersley and PR agency Financial Dynamics and is the founder and chief executive of Busy Lizzie.

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