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Starting a business grants? Where to begin?

  • 29-12-2022 9:56pm
    Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭

    I have an idea for a website/app aimed at the primary school sector that I am very confident could be quite successful, and would easily expand to the UK and US in the future.

    My issue is I have no idea where to begin. I have no experience in IT or business management. Would I be better off paying a company to design and run the website within my specifications, while I work on the content for the website? Or would it eb better to find a partner with IT experience to work together on developing the app? Is there any grants I can start applying for to get the ball rolling on this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 656 ✭✭✭Mick Tator

    That's a very common question here. Jn response, the first response also is a question, so "How much money do YOU have to invest in the project ?"

  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭PeterPan92

    I have enough money to make the entire thing happen myself. However, the experience and expertise someone from the IT sector could bring may be invaluable in the long term. Also, while I could bankroll the entire thing, I would like to take advantage of any grants that may be available.

  • Registered Users Posts: 656 ✭✭✭Mick Tator

    That's not an answer. You say:- "My issue is I have no idea where to begin. I have no experience in IT or business management"

    With no idea and nothing else, apart from what you think is enough to bankroll a project. I doubt you have sufficient funds for a launch. What you've written means you have no idea about how to bring it to market. The chances are that your 'idea' is already out there and working, if it is any good, or tried and dead if not. If, as you say, you "have no idea ...etc" you will not be able to pick a suitable partner, nor judge what is a decent business proposition, etc.Go off and do a LEO course first, it will open your eyes a little and prevent you losing your shirt.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭wandererz

    Having been through this myself (working in IT) , I can say that it can be a real minefield setting things up.

    In terms of grants, even though people and websites are like "there are tons of grants available" etc etc, in reality choices are very limited.

    If your website is going to trade (I.e. accept payments for purchases) then you may be eligible for a contribution towards the development costs.

    Typically this is done via your Leo.

    There is business funding available from Enterprise Ireland but this requires a business model that can trade internationally, I.e Export - International sales.

    Firstly, the website. Does it require any special features? Will the app be embedded into the website? Or will it be mainly a brochure website and everything else is done on a mobile app?

  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭PeterPan92

    I mean, your question was “how much money do you have to invest in the project”, so it answered that.

    I understand where you are coming from re: being done before, but having worked in primary education for over 10 years and having spoken to other teachers about the idea, it hasn’t - at least not in Ireland. Every part of it has been done individually, yes, but it has never been brought together and packaged in the way I am envisioning before, and i know it could be successful with the right launch and people behind it.

    thanks for the advice on the LEO courses, I will definitely look into it!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭PeterPan92

    Thank you! The website would accept payment from schools (likely yearly) for access. Teachers could access from one portal, and students from another. Each would have a different view, or the website/app depending on the portal and log in they use. Teachers could decide on their end what the students can see, and student feedback would go directly to the teacher only account,

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,776 ✭✭✭antoinolachtnai

    There is great advice above.

    it is worth putting some time into working out in detail what you would develop and how it compares to what’s there already. It’s worth getting other professionals’ opinion too. This is all stuff you can do yourself if you have the time.

    in reality the cheapest way to achieve what you want is to acquire (purchase) an existing company that provides part of the solution you envision and expand from there.

    This sounds difficult and yes, it needs a lot of skill and knowledge. But it takes even more skill and knowledge to start from scratch. Getting into the procurement cycle for example will take years if you start from scratch.

    There are other potential partners you could think about. One in particular that you could think about is the educational publishing companies.

    On the whole I think you are underestimating the complexity of what you want to do. That shouldn’t stop you from seeing if there is away forward but I would be very cautious about putting your money into this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭wandererz

    That's good advice above and reminds me of the procurement process and cycle as well.

    If it's government schools you are thinking about in terms of quantity then one has to deal with the tender / procurement cycle and being able to show sufficient trading experience and revenue etc.

    That's not going to be viable for a good many years down the road.

    The other option then is the private schools and things like the Educate Together schools.

    This of course restricts the target market.

    I know because I dealt with this.

    Lots of intricacies to be considered before plowing ahead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,586 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    Have you done any competitive analysis? There's no end of Virtual Learning Environments available out there that operate in this space. Are there any teachers or principals that you can approach confidentiality to see if they'd be interested in paying for your service?

    Look out for a Start Your Own Business course locally as the first step.

    Grants shouldn't be a deciding issue for you. Either the business can make money or it can't. If grants appear at some stage, consider it a bonus. The big question is whether you can make the business stand up or not.

    Post edited by AndrewJRenko on

  • Registered Users Posts: 455 ✭✭onedmc

    As someone who started a successful business in the training/education area and has significant IT background I can tell you is not about IT and it's not even about the Idea.

    It's about the implementation, I agree with @Mick Tator it's probably been done before and perhaps you can do it better, smarter or cheaper, Great.

    Most importantly you need to test your idea, get a working model and get a school or teacher to pay, actually hand over money (MVP). Which I think would be the hardest thing. If you can do this without IT then even better.

    On the IT side, there are plenty of learning WordPress apps like Teachable, LifterLMS, and LearnPress, the one that I use is LearnDash. There are non-WordPress ones such as Canvas, moodle and hundreds of others. All of these have the ability to do complex teacher-student relationships they have class setup, games, tutorials (grinds), they support K-12 requirements have payment systems and lots more. They are all flexible and extendable we are currently working on building ChatLpt artificial intelligence into Canvas to help our learners.

    Grants are difficult to get in the early stage but there are plenty of supports such as mentoring and training from the local LEO. But they want you to go through the process funnel. First, do a course, then do a business case, then ..... etc. Their measure of success is how many got through the funnel to the end.

    I'd be careful with spending money until it is tested and verified. The best partner is someone that can deliver a relationship with the schools and teachers. . Someone who actually gets money out of them already.

    Good luck

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  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭PeterPan92

    Thank you for this. Would you mind if I contacted you privately? Just a few questions to ask

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,643 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    You need two core things: a good product and a customer base that will purchase it. So check out both aspects as thoroughly as you can before the third step of financing development. If as seems likely you are in the education sector, probably employed as a teacher - realise that the real world of commerce is quite different. You'd be used to a monthly salary, in business you're only as good as your last customer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 766 ✭✭✭EIREHotspur

    Technically what you are asking for sounds straightforward.

    Like said above you need a membership/Learning Plugins website (stay away from Apps as they will quote you monopoly money figures).

    One such grant available is for Ecommerce websites from the Local Enterprise Office.

    I think you could get the initial website to test your idea done for €2,500.

    Having dealt with schools in the past though, they are very wary and difficult to deal with.

    That is my personal opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 David228

    Investing in your website for games is a good idea. But don't expect that it's cheap to make such a website. But it can also be profitable. I recommend you an article with reasons why it is worth investing in your individual website:

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,412 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    For a first time Entrepeneur I’d highly recommend New Frontiers (phase 1 and phase 2)

    Phase 2 is Six months in length and you get a monthly €2,500 tax free stipend for it too

    If you want info on it let me know, but I think it should almost be mandatory for new entrepreneurs