The latest Refresh Boyne event on June 29th saw a packed house at The Cross Pub in Drogheda listening to Brendan Kearns, an Australian Digital Product Designer, based in London, speaking on ‘Creating a Design Culture’. This continues Refresh Boyne’s strong track record of bringing leading creative and technical thinkers to the NorthEast region.
For almost a decade Brendan has worked with design studios and technology companies in Australia, Europe, and North America. Currently lead designer for InVision Enterprise, the driving force behind design and collaboration at some of the world’s most innovative companies, Brendan is working on building a more powerful design process for millions of users. InVision simplifies virtually every aspect of the product design workflow and makes collaboration a core part of the process for millions of people across design, development, project management and marketing. Organisations such as Twitter, Sony, IBM, Uber, Evernote, and Salesforce rely on InVision Enterprise to power their design process.
During his talk, Brendan mentioned the following:
Learnings from some of tech’s best design teams
InVision’s seven principles of digital product design
How to start becoming a user-centered company
How designers can own user problems inside organisations.
Choosing the right methods for design at scale.
Start to create a design culture inside organisations
According to Sean Downey of Refresh Boyne “I was aware that the Boyne region had a very strong creative tradition, but I felt that a lot of the activity was fragmented and below the radar. Refresh Boyne events offer local creative talent and startups an opportunity to hear from leading thinkers across the creative and technical sectors, which are continually criss-crossing with each other”
Breanndán Casey of The Mill commented that “prior to the establishment of the Refresh Boyne voluntary organisation, it was difficult for like-minded startups in the technical and creative sectors to meet at the same event. The caliber of speakers has been very exciting, and includes startup expert Eamon Leonard, Valista Founder Raomal Perrera, and PR Guru Paul Hayes. Past topics include Gaming, Mongo DB, Lean Startup methodology, UX, and Podcasting. Our future speakers include Declan Costello, Head of IT Infrastructure at Ryanair speaking on ‘The Digital Transformation of Ryanair’, and International Investor Bill Liao of SOS Ventures on ‘Turning Impossible into Inevitable’.
Refresh Boyne is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of the New Media industry in the Boyne region. Refresh Boyne hold events that promote design, technology, usability and standards and is part of, and inspired, by the Refreshing Cities movement.
On Friday, 12th May, the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) Competition Final for secondary school students took place at East Coast Bakehouse’s Centre of Innovation. Twenty shortlisted projects from the original 100 applications, were reviewed in details by the judges. The overall winner was Blathnaid Murphy, a student at Our Lady’s College, Greeenhills, who impressed judges with her business, “Daisy’s Pawsome Bowties”. Blathnaid, at twelve years of age, is the youngest winner of the DYI competition.
Prizes were also awarded in each of the three categories (Science/Technology, Business, and Social Enterprise) for both individual and team entries. This is the fourth year of the awards which focus on all aspects of Innovation.
According to Breanndán Casey, BDM of The Mill Enterprise, “This competition has gone from strength to strength each year, and with circa 100 applications, it’s fair to say that Innovation is alive and well in Drogheda. We work with our partners State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, and Fitz Scientific to visit all nine schools in the region to highlight the innovation that is currently occurring locally, and to ensure that students have an opportunity to flex their creative muscles”.
Over 50 students had an opportunity to question a panel of local innovators including Alison Cowzer of East Coast Bakehouse / Dragon’s Den, Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific, Cormac Bohan of State Street, and Sean MacEntee of The Mill Enterprise on starting and growing a business, and how to ensure that innovation remains a focal point of your business. Alison Cowzer of East Coat Bakehouse commented “I am extremely impressed by the innovation on display today across all three categories. The standard is very high, and I can see how the judges had an extremely difficult process to pick the winners. Based on the level of innovation displayed, Drogheda’s future is very bright”.
Organised by a voluntary group of local business people, teachers, and The Mill Enterprise Hub, the competition challenges Drogheda’s students to think about an innovating career in science, social enterprise, or business.
The 2017 winners who received their certificates and cash prizes included:
“Totem” – Social Enterprise Group Category, Drogheda Grammar School
“The antimicrobial potential of tree bark extracts” – Science Individual Category, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills (Niamh Ann Kelly)
“Edible insects for sustainable future” – Science Group Category, St. Oliver’s Community College
“It was great to have the diverse range of ideas this year, and more importantly, to see how the students have worked on their ideas over the past three months”, says Sean MacEntee, a Director at The Mill Enterprise Centre, “We also had 80 students attend the Innovation Workshop at Coca-Cola in March which gave students an opportunity to work on the innovation process.
“We expect at least 1 in 10 of Drogheda’s students will be running their own business when they finish education” says Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific. He continued “Blathnaid has already won a National Student Enterprise Award, and is the youngest winner of this competition. In the future, I’ve no doubt that these students will be employing people in Drogheda and making a very positive contribution to the local economy and community. This project gives them an opportunity to work on ideas and interact with like-minded students and entrepreneurs.”
On March 13th, participants of the second “Illuminate” Female Entrepreneurship Programme run by The Mill Enterprise Hub and DCU Ryan Academy, pitched their businesses to a panel of judges from Enterprise Ireland, Meath LEO, and AIB. The Illuminate programme was created by The Mill Enterprise Hub, with assistance from DKIT and DCU, to empower early stage female entrepreneurs to develop and expand their business. The programme is supported by Coca-Cola International Services, AIB, and the Louth & Meath Local Enterprise Offices.
The judges commended the high quality of pitches, and according to Christine Meade “the ambition, and ability of the entrepreneurs is truly remarkable. It’s critical that female entrepreneurs are supported in taking the often difficult steps in growing a business. We’re delighted to have supported this initiative, and look forward to hearing of the futures success stories of the graduates”.
The Illuminate Programme commenced in January 2017, with thirteen participants. It is the second Illuminate programme to be delivered at The Mill, which has identified Female Entrepreneurship has one of its priority sectors. It delivers to early-stage female entrepreneurs from Louth and Meath, an opportunity to participate in the specially created Illuminate course, which is accredited by QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) at Level 6, Minor Award. Participants are given the knowledge, skills and understanding to commercialise sustainable and profitable products by completing 12 study modules including Sales Strategy, Project Management, Business Risk Management, Sustaining & Growing Your Business, Marketing, and Leadership. Two graduates from the first programme continued to work with DCU Ryan Academy via the Enterprise Ireland supported programme, High Fliers.
The judging panel included Caroline Lynch from Meath LEO, Susan Cahill of Enterprise Ireland, Christine Meade from AIB, and Breanndán Casey of The Mill. The judges heard entrepreneurs from myriad sectors including business services, training, and technology firms. The motive behind the ‘fake’ €100,000 pitch is to encourage female entrepreneurs to focus on scaling their business, either with financial or mentoring support.
Breanndán Casey, Business Development Manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub, stated that “The feedback from participants has been exceptionally positive, and I’ve seen a huge transformation amongst the trainees over the past eight weeks. DCU Ryan Academy are the acknowledged experts in supporting female entrepreneurs, and it’s fantastic that local entrepreneurs can avail of the programme which is generously supported by local firms. I can see that their confidence levels, and focus, has increased sharply, with a number of entrepreneurs telling me that the course gave them an opportunity to step back from their day-to-day activities, and to carefully consider the long-term strategy and goals of their business, as part of the Business Model Canvas exercise”
Certificates of completion were presented to each participant at the Award Ceremony, and all trainees will attain full accreditation in the coming weeks when their Business Model Canvas is assessed.
On March 2nd, more than 70 students from Drogheda, Dunleer and Laytown, attended an Innovation Workshop organised by the Coca-Cola International Services team in Drogheda, as part of the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) Competition, managed by The Mill Enterprise Hub.
The transition year students availed of an opportunity to work on their ideas for the competition, and to practice some divergent and convergent thinking as part of the brainstorming process. They also heard sixteen year old local student, Aizzah Adil, outline her visit to Washington DC for the recent US Presidential Inauguration ceremony, and her thoughts on attending the Global Young Leaders Conference.
According to Anna Keller, Business Systems Director, Coca-Cola International Services, “We hope that the workshop opened students’ eyes and minds to new ways of thinking, and will act as an idea generator for students as they complete their DYI application. “Innovation is crucial to the success of Coca-Cola, and after the workshop, all of the local Coca-Cola International Services team commented on the ingenuity, enthusiasm, and creativity of the students. Judging by the quality of material at the workshop, we’ve no doubt that the Drogheda region is producing future business and social leaders which we can be proud of”.
The guest speaker, Aizzah Adil, who is a student at Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, vividly outlined her thoughts on how the best leaders operate. According to Aizzah, “we were lucky to meet a number of international leaders from the world of Arts, Business, and Politics. The common thread amongst them is that they can bring other people onto their team, and are also open to listening to advice, when needed”. In a passionate speech, Aizzah spoke of her wish to ‘change the world’, and was adamant that all the students in attendance were capable of doing so.
“The Drogheda Young Innovators competition has allowed us an opportunity to develop the innovation mind-set amongst local transition year students ”, said Breanndán Casey, the BDM of The Mill Enterprise Centre, “This year the programme is being developed and supported by innovative local companies, such as State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, and Fitz Scientific. It is great to see local companies showing their support to youth entrepreneurship projects in Drogheda, and fantastic that we can highlight innovation that is taking place every day in our community. The students now have a hunger to work on their projects and aim to attend the final at East Coast Bakehouse’s Innovation Centre on May 12th. The generous sponsorship of cash prizes for group and individuals has helped to see the number of applications in 2017 double to over 100, highlighting the number of innovative ideas in the region”.
Transition year students in the nine Drogheda-based secondary schools (including Dunleer and Laytown) will have a chance to put their innovation skills to the test and win the 2017 Drogheda Young Innovators competition.
Now in its 3rd year, the 2017 competition was launched on Thursday January 19th, in the new conference facilities at The Mill; Drogheda’s Enterprise Hub.
Organised by a voluntary group of teachers and local business people, the competition challenges Drogheda’s 2nd level students to think about an innovating career in science & technology, social enterprise, or business. The competition is supported by local innovative companies such as State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse and Fitz Scientific.
Applicants will attend an Innovation workshop on March 2nd at Coca-Cola’s Southgate office which will look at divergent & convergent methods of thinking in identifying and defining innovative ideas. The final will take place at East Coast Bakehouse’s Innovation Centre in Drogheda.
There are 3 main categories – Science / Technology, Enterprise / Business, and Social Enterprise. There will be cash prizes for group and individuals in each category, and one overall winner. Applications for the Young Scientist and the Student Enterprise competition will be eligible to apply.
Drogheda Grammar School scooped the top award in 2016 with its team of three – Simon Radike, Cian Mc Grady and Charlie Kinsella. They started Flashdiscs, a company developing & selling leaving certificate revision material on audio CDs.
“Recognising & rewarding our young innovators is a big deal. We want to encourage and reward Drogheda’s best young innovators. We want Drogheda to be proud of its science, business and social innovators”, said Breanndan Casey of The Mill at launch. “I fully expect some of these students to be establishing businesses in The Mill in the next decade, and building on our rich heritage of innovation”
“Marketing with a Tight Budget” is designed to support SME business owners looking for efficient, effective and low-cost marketing strategies to help the business to grow and prosper. Marketing is an essential commercial function, no matter what type of business you run, or what type of business you plan to start. Without marketing, no-one will know your business exists. This workshop focuses on conventional and traditional marketing strategies that will complement online strategies.
This half day interactive workshop is for
Start Up entrepreneurs;
People interested in leaving employment to start and run their own business;
People who have been unemployed, have a business idea and are considering starting their own business.
SME / Business Owners and Managers.
Customer Focus – Customer Needs
Importance of understanding and knowing the customer and their needs
Customer Segmentation – identifying the target market
Create strong consumer insights: Why will people buy?
Branding – Product Benefits
Importance of Branding
Understanding your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Developing a SWOT analysis
Importance of competitor analysis
Marketing 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place & Promotion
Product: Is there a market need for the product / service
Price: Is the pricing strategy right?
Place: Has the business got the appropriate ‘distribution’ for the product / service?
Promotion: What is the key message? What are the best channels to reach the target market with a limited budget?
Is the product / service benefit clearly communicated and is there a call to action. Date: Thursday 6th of April 2017