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Programme to give a helping hand to start-ups in Northern Ireland

By Margaret Canning

Start-ups from Northern Ireland and further afield are invited to apply for a major 90-day accelerator programme.

Start Planet NI is designed to help high potential start-ups access early stage support and private equity investment in Northern Ireland.

The programme, which has 10 places, is based in premises in Belfast's Donegall Street, dubbed "Revolution BFS".

Start Planet NI is backed by start-up mentor Bill Liao, an Australian now living in Cork.

Mr Liao is a venture capital investor and co-founder of the CoderDojo movement, a network formed to help young learn how to code.

He told a launch event yesterday that international start-ups could apply for the mentoring support.

"We live in a global world, and if you want to have impact outside your borders, why limit yourself?" And he said he wanted passionate, dedicated teams with great business ideas to apply, adding: "Lone founders only win in the movies - and then, only when they have a good script."

Invest NI is supporting the seed accelerator, which will be run on a day-to-day basis by Wayne Murphy and Diane Roberts from Xcell Partners.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Liao said the end of the 90-day programme should see the start-ups with their product "market fit".

"I co-founded XING, which is the largest online business network in Germany, and that was cash flow positive within 90 days," he said.

Start-ups have until September 18 to apply for the programme, which begins at the start of November and ends three months later.

  • To apply to the programme, visit www.startplanetni.com.

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