Call issued for Longford entries in Google’s Adopt a Startup Programme

Alan Walsh

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Alan Walsh

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alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

Call issued for Longford entries in Google’s Adopt a Startup Programme

Pictured l to r are: Richie Spence, Founder Beutifi.com and Sorcha O’Grady, Director of Sales Truckscience and Ian Harkin, MD Arklu.

Google is calling for Longford Startups to apply for a position on its Adopt a Startup Spring 2017 programme. 

The online application process opened on Monday, November 21 and closes on Thursday, December 1 forms part of Google's commitment to supporting the Startup community in Ireland.

No Longford start-ups have yet participated in Adopt a Startup and it is hoped that this year the county will be represented for the first time. 

With 30 positions on the programme up for grabs the full list of companies selected will be revealed in early January 2017. Successful applicants will receive 12 weeks of hands-on mentoring and access to exclusive lectures and workshops. Interested Startups should submit their entry at:https://events.withgoogle.com/ adoptastartup/apply/

Head of Google Ireland’s Startup Engagement programme, Paddy Flynn said, “This is a hugely beneficial programme for Irish Startups. The types of Startups we are looking for, and who will benefit the most from participation, are those in business for more than one year, with a strategy in place for acquiring new customers and already generating revenue. They will be thinking globally and rapidly scaling their business, or planning to enter into new markets over the first six months in 2017."

He added, “This is an intense programme so participants also need to be available to participate in a hands-on three month mentoring program and be willing to embrace change and take action on feedback given. Since we launched our Adopt a Startup programme 2014 we have worked with almost 100 high potential Irish Startups and many have gone on to raise significant capital funding and greatly increase their employee numbers.”

Each company selected will get to work with a dedicated Google support team to develop and improve their overall business strategy with the programme culminating in a Dragons Den style competition final in Spring 2017.  

Now in its fourth year, the success of the programme has seen 2016 winners Arklu, Truckscience, and Beutifi.com go from strength to strength, growing their profiles and expanding their businesses online.

Overall winner of the 2016 programme Ian Harkin, managing director of Donegal toy maker Arklu, said that since taking part his business has already exceeded targets compared to previous years of business:

“We are well on track to double our turnover this year compared to last year and since winning the competition our sales have tripled compared to the same period last year. In addition, we have signed a worldwide book deal with Penguin publishers, one of our Lottie dolls returned from space having spent 264 days on the international space station, and we are close to signing off on a major new investment. By this time next year we also hope to have doubled our current workforce to employ 20 people in Donegal.”

Ian added, “We were a little hesitant about entering the Adopt a Startup programme because we are a product based company. We thought this programme would only suit IT based businesses. But we quickly understood that Google is helping all types of businesses every day to be found online and to find new customers, in every part of the world, no matter how remote, so it was a golden opportunity for us to learn from the them.”

Mayo’s Truckscience and Dublin’s Beutifi.com who placed second and third respectively in the 2016 programme also spoke of similar success since completing the programme.

Sorcha O’Grady, Director of Sales & Marketing, Truckscience said, “The Google Adopt A Startup program has had a hugely positive impact on our business.  It helped us to measure and improve all of the stages of our customer journey. In the six months since completing the program, we have acquired as many new customers for our Axle Weight Calculator as we did in the three years prior to participation and we now have customer in over 20 countries around the world.”

Richie Spence, Founder of Beutifi.com said, “The programme provided us with the skills and tools to improve our user experience, understand our customers in much more detail and showed us how we could target and acquire them in a much more cost effective manner, so much so we have improved our booking conversion rates by almost 70%.”

The Adopt a Startup Programme forms part of Google's commitment to supporting the Startup community in Ireland through mentoring events such as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur and hosting community events with partners like Startup Weekend and Enterprise Ireland. This commitment includes the expansion of the Google Tech Hub Network to Ireland by partnering with Dogpatch Labs a physical space for startups to work from and for community events. The Google Tech Hub partnership helps to open new doors to mentorship, investment and growth opportunities, and to help developers and entrepreneurs launch new ideas and turn them into thriving young companies. Irish Startups also avail of direct support from Google for Entrepreneurs programs in Dublin, London and the US.