The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) have just launched new supports nationwide that will help early stage founders take the first steps to creating globally scalable and innovative tech startups! Local startup innovation hub The PorterShed will serve as a regional centre of excellence, delivering programmes for founders in the North West, from Donegal to Galway.
The new Office Hours, Founder Weekend and a Pre-Accelerator will be delivered across Ireland by Dogpatch Labs Dublin, PorterShed Galway, RDI Hub Kerry, and Republic of Work Cork, with each hub providing best-in-class training at a local level. The programmes are built with a regional mindset, embedded in the community, and drawing on the wealth of entrepreneurial experience across Ireland. Confirmed mentors for the North West hail from Galway, Donegal and Sligo.
The supports will give founders across Ireland access to a network of globally renowned entrepreneurs, investors and mentors for feedback on their idea, advice on resources that can accelerate the growth of their startup, and a structured programme to prepare to pitch for investment or to apply to the NDRC Accelerator. The early stage programmes do not take equity in the companies, and are free for accepted teams.
The PorterShed team includes new programme manager, Rosemary Gallagher, whose previous roles included the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Health Accelerator. Rosemary will be developing and delivering accelerator programmes at the PorterShed under the Galway City Innovation District, including the NDRC pre- accelerator.
“Joining a community, sharing your idea, getting feedback and mentoring are so important in the early parts of your entrepreneurial journey,” said Mary Rodgers CEO PorterShed. “Now for the first time, we have a programme manager drawing together the strengths of the region, and delivering a new set of supports which all feed into the national accelerator.”
“We’re in a strong position to mobilise and support more regionally based Irish startups than ever before,” continued Rodgers. “Through the NDRC, we’re delivering tailored services for founders in the North West, while also remaining connected and aligned with the other regions. Eventually, we want to get to a point where every county in Ireland feels well positioned to nurture globally ambitious, innovation driven startups.”
Office Hours help entrepreneurs take their first step through one-to-one 25 min slots with experienced NDRC Programme Managers and leaders. Selected founders receive feedback on their idea and advice on how to navigate different funding and supports available within the ecosystem. Additionally, entrepreneurs in every county will also be able to access an extended 1000+ mentor network from companies such as Google, Stripe, Facebook, Unilever, Enterprise Ireland and many others. Office Hours run weekly from 10am - 12pm beginning 19 February. Applications can be submitted HERE.
Founder Weekend is a chance for aspiring entrepreneurs to immerse themselves in the Irish startup community, develop their idea with expert mentors, or find that co-founder to spark a new idea with. Over a 2-day high energy sprint 50 attendees will learn firsthand what it takes to move an idea from concept to creation, and how to validate their problem, market and customer. They’ll take part in feedback rounds with mentors and investors, and Q&A sessions with inspiring guest speakers, before pitching to a panel of entrepreneur judges. Founder Weekends will run every quarter throughout the country starting on 13-14 March. Applications are accepted until March 7 HERE.
The Pre-Accelerator helps entrepreneurs validate their startup idea with customers, structure it to get investment, and prepare to get accepted onto the NDRC Accelerator. Over the course of 6 days across 6 weeks, early-stage startups take part in workshops delivered by successful founders, receiving one-to-one feedback from entrepreneurs and stress testing their pitch with real investors in mock boardroom meetings. The Pre-Accelerator ends in a virtual Demo Day pitch, broadcast live to investors, VIP entrepreneurs and potential customers. The first NDRC Pre-Accelerator runs from 29 March - 7 May. Apply before 7 March HERE.
“For early stage founders it’s critical to test your idea, challenge your assumptions, and ensure you’re building products that customers want to buy,” says Rosemary Gallagher, Programme Manager at PorterShed. “A pre-Accelerator programme will equip you to ask the right questions, and receive feedback from subject-matter experts who have been there before. We’re here to guide you on that journey.”