Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Creative approach opens new doors for start-ups

Five entrepreneurs have pitched new business ideas to a panel of potential funders as part of a scheme being run by Belfast Metropolitan college.

The e3 Creative Hub Programme event was by three Northern Ireland 'business angels' – Elaine Smyth of E-Synergy, Mary McCall from Treat Ticket and John McGinn from John MacMahon & Co.

Focussing on the lucrative creative business sector and supported by the Arts Council, the scheme offers business support from seasoned business practitioners, encourages and promotes creative thinking and provides networking opportunities that promote collaboration and partnership.

The five business hopefuls were handpicked from a pool of 15 start-ups after being identified as having the potential to bring their products and businesses to market.

The finalists will benefit from more in-depth support and mentoring, funding to attend product events and meetings with potential customers outside of Northern Ireland to support the sustainability of their products as well as being able to pitch their ideas to the business angels in the hope of securing financial investment or further mentoring support.

E-Synergy investment manager Elaine Smyth said she was impressed by the entrepreneurs:

"I was so encouraged to see the drive and determination of the young entrepreneurs as they presented exciting new business ideas to the panel," she said.

"The Belfast Met Creative Hub programme is providing an excellent opportunity for early stage business to build strong foundations for future success."

Programme participant Brian Spencer, a digital lawyer, blogger and artist has developed a digital strategy service for law firms and said that the experience been a very worthwhile one.

"Not only has it provided me with opportunities to work creatively and collaboratively to develop my service but it has opened doors for me to access mentor support and guidance in business fundamentals that will make a difference to the success of my business."