Take a chance a some funding for Irish start-ups

Last wednesday, Dublin based foodie, ex-Simply Zesty bossman and social media whizzkid, Niall Harbison, announced that he will be giving away 10 grand to 2 Irish based start-ups. Not surprisingly, the announcement created quite a few reactions, from both ends of the spectrum’s. The comments on The Journal read like a myriad of disgruntled readers, who are clearly extremely skeptical.

Is this another app start up web entrepreneur thing? yawn… go outside and get some fresh air?

Even prettier it became on Broadsheet, where the following culling went ahead:

And he might steal your idea (or anyone else reading the comments of his blog post which is where you enter the competition).

On the other hand, there was praise, encouragement and “fair old play to ya’s” from people in support of the little set-up Niall has come up with.

When I first started dabbling around with this whole social media malarkey in Ireland back in 2008, Niall and Lauren were just about to start up a small advertising agency called Simply Zesty.From the start, they caused quite a stir in the media landscape and the Irish twitosphere splitted in 2 sides: pro SZ and against SZ, each for their own reasons. I was always more on the pro SZ side, as I watched them grow from their first few gigs to a fully committed agency.

Heck, I even applied for a job there! (Which at that time had already been filled, I suppose I spend way too much time artsing and craftsing…). During the years, I attended some of their social media/press events and some of the sponsored photowalks, and met Lauren on a couple of occasions. I think I only met Niall once, but he always strikes me as a down to earth, get things done sorta type of guy.

Which is why I think it’s important to support whatever idea’s that float about to encourage people to get a kick underneath their asses and get started on that brilliant idea they always had. Niall is providing exactly that opportunity, with very little strings attached. A 10% stake in the business is what he’s in it for, but with that comes an extended network of people that will help the 2 businesses going and, hopefully, transform them into kick-ass solid companies.

What I also like is that Niall is open to any sort of start-up: be it a funky idea for, say, a laundrette-slash-café or something automotive, a coder dojo or a hairdressers salon, all ideas are welcomed. How you can entered, is stated clearly on Niall’s blog, where he explains the how’s, what’s and why’s a little bit further.

So, go on ya good thing, get off your ass and get your company going.

And also, Niall and Lauren, I hope the post-SZ era brings you nothing but great things!

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