Digital Transformations Funds 10k Digital Society Bursary

Details of a major award for writers and artists, creative professionals, developers and designers to be launched in Ballina on 19 May 2018.

This year-long bursary provides a significant opportunity for practitioners of any discipline (visual, performing, musical, literature, media, technology) to deliver a project responding to the emerging digital society. The bursary will be open to individuals and groups in Ireland and abroad and the recipient will be launched at the Digital Transformations conference in Ballina on the 19th of May.

An information session for potential applicants will form part of the conference programme.

The purpose of the bursary is to increase awareness of the digital society and to make artistic responses to it a more central part of the debate.

The winner of the bursary will be required to consider the themes of the digital transformations conference in developing their work: Digital Human, Networked Personality, Art for What’s Sake, and Manifesto. Studio, rehearsal and accommodation space at the Ballina Arts Centre in Mayo will be made available and the recipient will be required to provide some educational outreach and workshops at the centre.

“I’m thrilled to be offering this bursary as a way of supporting people who want to explore the digital society in their work, and to put that response centre stage in the debates happening today about what kind of society is emerging via digital technologies,” said conference director Scott Coombs. “Enriching human contact and the human voice is essential for this transformation to be beneficial,” he said “and this artistic response needs to be heard not just on the street, but in classrooms and boardrooms as well. The digital society is throwing arts, policy, education, culture, media, technology and business together in ways that only the arts can really fathom.”

See for full details.


Two New Bursary Programmes for Flmmakers based in Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon.

As part of a new partnership Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils have come together with filmmakers from the three counties with a view to enabling the film sector here to grow and develop.​

Each of the three local authorities involved in this project recognise the value of film as an artform and the contribution that film can make to the region – socially, culturally and economically. In adopting a regional approach, we recognise that we can achieve a lot more by harnessing the capacity, resources and energy of agencies and practitioners of all three counties.

Find out more about the SLR Film Development Project at Leitrim County Council Website HERE

The closing date for both opportunities is 30th June 2018.

Courtesy Leitrim County Council

networking west

Top 5 Networking Events in the West this Spring

It’s the new year and it’s time to get out there and promote your business, get inspired and expand your network.

There are so many great networking and business events taking place across the West of Ireland; we’ve rounded up our list of the ones not to miss.

1. Leveraging Ireland West Airport, How can your Business Benefit? BOI Workbench, Galway, 18 Jan 2018

Ireland West Airport had a record-breaking year as the airport’s passenger numbers increased by 7pc or 48,000 to 733,869. How can your business benefit from that, and even create more demand for those routes?. Join an interactive talk with Donal Healy, Head of Marketing & Route Development. This event welcomes hoteliers, tour companies, local business owners and anyone who can add value to the west region’s airport. Learn about the routes in place for 2018, the demographic of people through the airport into the west region, and how you can target cities of origin. All welcome!

Register at

2. Hackaholdem, The Building Block, Sligo, 03 & 04 February

sligo hackathonHackahold’em – a gamified version of a hackathon is set to take place in The Building Block, Sligo on February 03-04 2018.
Bringing together up to 40 programmers, designers and product developers, the event will take place over a 24 hour period with 5- 7 teams set to participate.

The event is for developers, designers and all-rounders in the digital space and our aim is to bring the fun and community feel back into hackathons, while providing a space for participants to network and build something cool together.

Sign up now!

3. Digital West, GMIT, Mayo, 30 January

Emerging trends and careers in Digital Media and how companies can stay competitive will be the focus of a public seminar in GMIT Mayo on Tuesday 30 January, delivered by leading professionals and academics in digital media, marketing and technology.

Organised by the Mayo campus academic staff in collaboration with the Innovation Hub, the “Digital West” event will include topics on Digital Media Strategies, Bots & Automation, Google Analytics, Automation of Digital Media, Blockchain, and more.

This Dynamic FREE event will focus on emerging trends in Digital Media and how they will affect companies and individuals in 2018 and beyond.
As the digital media landscape rapidly evolves with the introduction of new technologies such as AI, analytics, automation and a movement towards high definition video communication, companies are finding it increasingly hard to attract and maintain talent.
More at

4. Open Talent Speed Dating, Galway, 06 April

Open Talent Galway

Open Talent is a two-part event where people of all backgrounds come to Galway city over two days in April for a sweep of 1-1 interviews, and speed dating events with local businesses. Want to get straight to interview?

Register at

5. Startup Weekend West (Ire): Future of Towns, Achill Island, 27 April

Keel Beach

Keel Beach, Achill

Achill Island, Co. Mayo is the destination for the upcoming Startup Weekend West taking place on Friday, April 27, 2018. The theme is the future of towns.

This unique Startup Weekend will bring together designers, developers, county councillors, urban planners, founders, and much more to conceive ideas and build solutions that will bring life and economic vitality back into Irish towns.

The weekend costs just €60 to attend, and that includes all meals each day, a t-shirt and some cosy accommodation.

On Friday, some of the attendees will pitch an idea for 60 seconds. The best ten ideas (voted for by attendees) will progress to build a team and then through to pitch at the final. On Saturday, mentors and coaches (who are established business owners or experts in their area) will be brought in to help guide the teams through execution. On Sunday, the event will finish with the final pitches and winners announced. There’s also a cracking after-party.

TechStars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Full details on how to get involved at


One Region One Vision Conference Video Highlights

For 2018 the Western Region will be recognised as European Entrepreneurial Region.

Recognising the success of our indigenous and small enterprises. Our commitment to innovation will see us become one of the most resilient places in Europe.

The One Region One Vision Conference took place in Galway on November 28th.

The Western Development Commission was delighted to collaborate on this conference with the North Western Regional Assembly.

One Region One Vision celebrated achievement, whilst also promoting investment in our competitiveness through Structural Funds and launching our Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.

So get your 2018 moving by watching the One Region One Vision inspirational speakers including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Harry Hughes of PortWest, Mary Rodgers (Portershed), Adrian Weckler (INM) and many more.

sligo hackathon

Hackahold’em – a Hackathon With A Twist Set To Bring Start-up Community Together in Sligo

Hackhold’em – a gamified version of hackathon is set to take place in The Building Block, Sligo on February 4th – 5th 2018.

Bringing together up to 40 programmers, designers and product developers, the event will take place over a 24 hour period with 5- 7 teams set to participate.

Overall, the event in Sligo aims to develop the start-up community by bringing together a mixture of developers, engineers, and doers, who will work together intimately over twenty-four hours to collaborate and bring an idea to fruition.

A hackathon is a unique opportunity for coders, developers, designers, ideators, and mentors to come together, brainstorm, problem solve, and create innovative solutions to real life challenges. With the added element of a poker game, teams will receive chips upon entry to the event, and the team with the most chips at the end of the event will win the overall prize fund.

Founded by Mayo native Noel Mulkeen and YoungHwi Cho from Seoul, Korea, the duo met as tenants in The Building Block co-working space which is home to a mix of start-ups, SMEs and remote workers.

Mulkeen, an experienced entrepreneur, found and built a mobile software business. Since relocating from Stockholm to Sligo, Noel he has co-founded – a tool to help businesses communicate their values to consumers through their CSR initiatives. With a keen interest in helping the start-up community in Sligo reach it’s full potential, he commented on the event: “This is a new way of bringing together a community of programmers, designers, ideators and mentors together, and to see what we can create; we’re excited about the event itself, but also the new relationships formed as a result of it. Hackathons have produced some very successful ideas which have gone on to become start-ups and full blown companies. We’re really excited about the potential of this event.”

John Reilly, head of the Local Enterprise Office, Sligo, said: “There’s so much innovative talent in the business community here in Sligo. It’s great to see a forum like this where they can get together, network and have some fun.”

Originally from Seoul, Korea, YoungHwi Cho, moved to Sligo in June 2017. He is a co-founder of BourbonShake, which runs Steemhunt, a blockchain-based social community, and Bark, a location-based chat app. As a recent addition to the local start-up scene in Sligo, YoungHwi is enthusiastic: “We think Sligo has so much potential to be a unique start-up and entrepreneurial hub –  we expect this event to be an excellent catalyst to promote this type of ecosystem here.”

Major sponsors for the event include Overstock, Local Enterprise Office Sligo, The Building Block and Bank of Ireland.

For further information and to register your interest in attending, visit or follow @hackaholdem

the building block

Bank of Ireland’s Startlab goes deep in the West.

Startlab, Bank of Ireland’s unique startup incubator is looking to extend its reach into the West region with its newly formed “startlab remote” programme. Originally based in Galway, the programme runs over a 6 month period and helps fledgling tech startups to scale by providing complimentary facilities including desk space, high-speed Wi-Fi, conference rooms as well as one to one sessions with key coaches and mentors, introductions to investors and support from Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Team. Startlab remote will see Bank of Ireland link up with the growing number of coworking spaces opening in the region such as the, The Leeson Enterprise Centre in Westport and The Building Block here in Sligo. Successful applicants will benefit from the suite of supports the programme has to offer as well as desk space in their locality.

Tracy Keogh, Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Manger for the West explains, “Our startlab remote programme came about from listening to the community and our customers. A move to Galway simply wasn’t on the cards for some of our candidates so we needed to explore how we could still support them. Successful applicants will have their desk space funded and will have access to everything the programme has to offer such as mentoring and access to our network. I would encourage any tech startup with global ambitions to apply”.

Startlab Galway is one of 3 incubators run by BOI with a Fintech focused programme in Dublin and a startlab space in New York to help companies tackle the U.S market.

The Building Block’s Community Manager Karen Foley commented, “Bank of Ireland’s startlab is a fantastic initiative for startups in the West of Ireland and The Building Block, a hub for entrepreneurs and startups, are looking forward to welcoming the successful candidate to join our growing community here in Sligo.”

Head of Bank of Ireland Sligo, Tara Rodgers offers, “Sligo is the major urban settlement in the Northwest after Galway and we’re delighted that the startlab programme is expanding. The student population that the 3rd level institutes attract here make it a breeding ground for innovation and the startup community here is really taking off”. “All aside Sligo is a great place to live and is a must see on the West Cost, according to Vogue magazine no less”, laughs Rodgers.

Applications are open until the 30th of November on

For more information: You can arrange a 1 to 1 meeting with Programme Lead Graham Clarke on the 27th November in The Building Block

back for business

New Entrepreneurship Programme for Returning Irish Emigrants

Back for Business is a new pilot initiative to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants returning or recently returned to live in Ireland.  It addresses the challenges that all early stage entrepreneurs face with a particular focus on the additional barriers and challenges faced by those who have been out of the country for some time.  This can often result in their local knowledge, contact base and professional and personal networks being less developed than those of typical entrepreneurs.  Back for Business aims to bridge this gap.

Supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Back for Business initiative aims to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants returning or recently returned to live in Ireland.

back for business

Paula Fitzsimons Consulting is managing the Back for Business initiative which will be run on the same basis as the Going for Growth initiative  – Entrepreneurs supporting Entrepreneurs at Lead facilitated round tables.

Lead Entrepreneurs in place around the country include –

  • Áine Denn, Altify, (Dublin)
  • James Murphy, Life’s2good (Galway)
  • John O’Hare, Azotel, (Cork)
  • Julie Currid, Initiafy, (Dublin)
  • Mary McKenna, formally Learning Pool (Donegal)
  • Tom Brennan, formerly EirGen Pharma (Waterford).
  • Chris Winning, Corporate Care Relocation,  will advise on issues relating to returned emigrants.

The programme runs from November 2017 to May 2018 with no costs to participants. The deadline for completed application forms to be returned is no later than Friday 3 November 2017.

Further information at



export summit

Export Summit 2017 – Taking you from Local to Global

Ireland’s leading new one day event for businesses seeking to expand internationally, export products or set up overseas operations, will take place on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

This event will give you valuable insight into current trends and best practices. As a delegate you will gain valuable, practical insights which will assist in driving your business to a global market. There will be an emphasis on innovation, competitiveness and talent development plus vital financial and logistic advice.

Is it your ambition to grow sales and develop new markets?

Save the Date in your diary now and join us on Thursday November 9 for what promises to be an unmissable event on your annual business calendar. Inspirational Keynote Speakers will include Damien Costello, Head of Innovation, Synecco; James Murphy, CEO and Founder of Lifes2good and Colm Feeney, CEO and Founder of SSL Logistics. Also in attendance and sharing their expertise will be overseas and International trading experts from Enterprise Ireland.

Breda Fox, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Galway outlines the importance of this event for any West of Ireland business considering immediate or eventual growth into overseas markets. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for small and established businesses to meet experts and businesses who are successful in overseas markets. It will help those attending on the day to gather the knowledge and information about the supports available to help themexpand into ever-expanding and increasingly competitive overseas markets. We offer many different types of client supports including mentoring, training, networking, special seminars and events, such as this Export Summit. Growing business overseas brings a unique set of challenges for our clients. We want to give them the best possible chance of success by introducing our clients to business leaders who have invaluable expertise in this area.”

Enterprise Ireland Regional Director – West Region Barry Egan said: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy aims to support more Irish companies with global ambition to achieve greater scale and expand their global footprint. Our strategy aims to increase client company exports to 26 billion per annum by the end of 2020 with an ambitious target to growthe level of exports to over two thirds outside the UK over the period. The‘Export Summit’ will provide companies from across the West of Ireland with a valuable opportunity to examine the potential of a range of new markets and new strategies for growing their business. This is an important event in the Region’s business calendar for 2017.’’

Identify the ideal market for you.

Current leading sectors in the export market include Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma, Engineering, Manufacturing and International Services. These sectors are chiefly targeting developing markets in UK, Germany and France for expansion. Enterprise Ireland and experts will deliver an overview of specific markets including, size, profile, culture, localisation and accessing local European markets.

Benefits of Export Summit 2017

150 delegate businesses fromthe Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma and Engineering sectors will develop insight into current trends and best practices fromexperts and keynote speakers; benefit from workshops aimed at driving their business fromlocal to global, covering innovation, competitiveness, localisation and logistic solutions; gain access to support fromagencies including: Lean, HR and Financial experts who are focussed on increasing export sales growth and network with Irish companies in each key targeted sector.
Attendees will have an opportunity to gain access to a showcase of the many agency supports available to Irish companies.

Keynote topics

Export business challenges and solutions will be addressed in keynote topics including‘Global Sales through Innovation, Design & Supply’ (Synecco), ‘Growth through process & people, challenges of scaling & growing an export business’ (Lifes2good) and‘Global Market access through Smart Supply Chain Practises’ (SSL Logistics).

Explore developing markets in the UK, Germany and France

Speakers include Marina Donohoe, UK & Northern Europe  Director,  Enterprise Ireland; Eddie Goodwin, Enterprise Ireland, Manager, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and Susanne Dirks, Founder & CEOe-Vorsprung Consulting, who will address the issues associated with localising communications for export markets.

This one day event takes place at the Clayton Hotel on Thursday, November 9. Places are limited so register now.

For additional details, registration and booking, visit or contact Local Enterprise Office Galway on (091) 509090


Sprit of Change Mayo Ideas Week

Don’t miss the Spirit of Change Seminar opening at Mayo Ideas Week

The Spirit of Change seminar, the opening event for Mayo Ideas Week 2017 will be held on Monday 25th September 2017 (5.30pm – 8.00pm), St. Mary’s Hall, GMIT Mayo Campus, Castlebar.

Now in its eleventh year, the “Spirit of” event has become a regular on the annual calendar of business events in Co. Mayo. The Spirit of Change seminar will explore the challenges and opportunities arising across the changing international, political, social and business environments. We will feature a series of speakers outlining their vision for the future and their strategies for managing change including: Yvonne Holmes, Head of Business Performance & Analytics at AIB, Willie Ruane, Chief Executive Office of Connaught Rugby, Dr. Mark White, Manager of Marine Development Team at Marine Ireland and Fiona Slevin, Chief Operating Officer at Orreco. The event is designed to provide inspiration for a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs across the West Region, to spark discussion on the opportunities arising from a period of change, and the potential for diversification into new products and markets.

The chairperson for the evening will be Tommy Marren, Station Manager with Mid-West Radio, and the event is being hosted by Mayo Local Enterprise Office in association with AIB, and supported by WestBIC, Enterprise Ireland, the iHub at GMIT Mayo Campus and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Places for the event are limited and are filling up fast as the event is fully attended each year. Register now for free at the website or

This event is being held as part of Mayo Ideas Week 2017, which runs from 25th to 29th September. Mayo Ideas Week is a series of idea generation, entrepreneurship and business events hosted by the development and enterprise organisations in Co. Mayo.

Full details on all events available at

Follow us on social media at #MayoIdeasWeek

Empower Programme

New Entrepreneurship Programme For Females In The West of Ireland

EMPOWER Programme 2017

The Empower Programme is a new Female Entrepreneur Programme targeted at female entrepreneurs from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
This programme plans to address specific challenges that hinder females and will help to fast track female-led businesses.

It will be delivered by the GMIT Innovation Hubs who have a successful track record in delivering entrepreneurship programmes across the region.

There are two parts to this Programme – EMPOWER Start and EMPOWER Growth

  1. Empower Start: is one half day a week over 12 weeks (20 females from the region) Criteria – early stage or in business less than 1 year. Lots of Soft Skills Development along with the business modules and skills.
  2. Empower Growth: is one half Sat a month over 11 months (12 females from the region) Criteria – in business more than 2 years of fully understands value proposition and customer segmentation and looking to scale and grow.

How To Apply

The EMPOWER Programme is designed for female entrepreneurs living in Mayo, Roscommon or Galway. To be considered for the EMPOWER Start Programme you must be actively planning a new business or in business less than 1 year and for the EMPOWER Growth Programme you must be in business more than two years, can clearly understand your value proposition  and customer segmentation and are looking to scale.

This is a competitive process and consideration will be given to those looking to scale their business and employ more people.

Full details on how to apply are at

Empower Programme Launch Event

To mark the start of the Programme, come along to a Launch Event on Weds 13th Sept in the Connacht Hotel in Galway. Speakers on the night include Chanelle McCoy (Chanelle Pharmaceuticals), Breege O Donaghue (ex CEO of Primark and Chair of the Design Council of Ireland) and Evelyn O Toole (CLS and E&Y Ent of Year Finalist in 2017) along with a panel of female entrepreneurs at an earlier stage of development. Tracy Piggott will MC the event.


Register for the event at:

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