Propel Programme paves the way for investor funding for new business
Warrenpoint entrepreneur Gabriel Bradley has secured over £500,000 in venture capital investment to help him grow his business, Taskmaestro, following participation in Invest Northern Ireland’s Propel programme.
Mr Bradley, who owns several pizza outlets, set up Taskmaestro to develop and market an interactive touch screen panel, to help manage staff in the hospitality sector. The product, which now has an international patent, is currently being trialled in several high profile outlets. These trials have demonstrated the software can lead to significant cost savings and efficiencies through better management of equipment and energy usage.
“From the experience of running my own pizza outlets I noticed that staff often forget or neglect to carry out their core duties, especially when the manager is not around to remind them. That’s where the inspiration for Taskmaestro came from,” says Mr Bradley.
“Taskmaestro is ideally positioned to take advantage of emerging market opportunities such as the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), introduced by the Food Standards Agency for food businesses in March. My software can help businesses meet the highest standards through better process and task management. My own trials have already achieved a 5 star rating in my own outlets both of which use the software. My ambition for the company now is to grow turnover to over £5 million per annum within the next five years. This venture capital funding investment is essential to achieving that,” he adds.
Taking part in the Propel programme helped Mr Bradley to focus on getting his new technology business up and running and learn how to build a strong value proposition which would appeal to venture capitalists.
“Propel was a unique and very useful experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture. This allowed me to see the real potential of my idea and build a business plan focused on export sales and growth which I have subsequently used to secure finance,” he says.
Propel is designed for entrepreneurs with ideas for businesses that have the potential to scale up and reach significant export growth. The programme provides salary support, master classes, mentoring from local and international experts, and access to potential investors.
Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, says: “Taskmaestro is just one of several innovative companies that have benefitted from our Propel programme.Venture capital funding is vital for hi-tech, early stage businesses and the Propel programme, by helping businesses become investor ready and introducing them to potential investors, helps make that valuable link between the business idea and business success.”
The Propel programme is now open for applications. The closing date for applications, which can be made online at www.propelprogramme.co.uk , is 4pm Friday 15 April 2011.