September 09, 2016

Access More Areas

The song says there's three steps to heaven, but what if you're unable to take even those few steps to enjoy the heavenly coffee or food in that highly-recommended café? Or what if you've travelled half-way around the world on wheels only to find the bathroom in your luxury hotel-room wheelchair inaccessible? For many of us who enjoy access all areas on our travels, it's easy to forget that for many of those wishing to visit with us some places remain out of bounds thanks to short-sighted or thoughtless design.

Big Steps For Change

When software engineer Matt McCann was visiting London in 2012, he chose a hotel that claimed to be accessible for his rollator. On arrival however, he found the only access to his hotel was up three steps, and the doorway to his bedroom was too narrow to gain entry.

Matt, our featured guest on the last Kickstart Your Business in our series, decided to fix the problem of travel for himself and others like him, by setting up Access Earth to provide up to the minute information and ratings on accessible services across the world. Launched earlier this year in Dublin and Chicago, Access Earth has already seen hundreds of venues and places of interest tagged and rated in the two cities.

Have App, Will Travel

Mick Clifford, our stand-in host on The Right Hook, marvelled that no-one else had seen the need and opportunity to serve this significant and often ignored group of visitors.

I suggested that as both a user of Access Earth and the entrepreneur behind it, Matt is uniquely placed to reach out to representative and advocacy groups, and appeal to their members to get rating the various venues in their local areas.

I also noted that the soul of hospitality is our ability to welcome in strangers and make them feel at ease, and a venue that opens its doors to all visitors is likely to enjoy significant advantage over those that don't in terms of building customer loyalty.

Your Entry Here

How do you suggest that Matt make the business of travel access more areas for more and more of those travelling?

Listen back to Kickstart Your Business and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

September 02, 2016

Indicators On For Great Parking

Ever been tempted to knock on a stranger's door and ask if you can park in their vacant driveway for a couple of hours whilst you do your shopping? Or wondered who owns the reserved but always-empty space in the busy office park? For many of us, particularly those whose car journeys regularly take us into congested parts of the business and retail centres of our cities and towns, the vacant space seems to cry out for an occupant. But who to ask?

Space, The Final Frontier

Whilst home for Christmas in 2011, English language teacher Liam Farrell found the shopping centre car parks full up, and noticed lots of empty driveways where he could easily have parked for a few hours if he only knew who to ask. Having used AirBnB on his travels, he decided to set up a similar service for parking, that would enable owners to easily lease their space and drivers to just as easily rent it, whether for a few hours, a few days or on a more permanent basis.

Liam, our featured guest this week on Kickstart Your Business, launched in Ireland in 2015, and plans to roll out his online booking engine in cities across the world later this year.

On Air Space

Our host this week, Bobby Kerr immediately warmed to the notion of a readymade parking solution for travelling fans heading to Dublin's Croke Park this Sunday to cheer on his beloved Kilkenny, and thinks that Liam is on to a winner.

Meanwhile, I suggested that Liam has very smartly parked his idea on a proven model, and is likely to motor past many of the mistakes that pioneers of the peer-to-peer commercial model, such as AirBnB, have made. At the same time, I stressed the importance of carving out that space for ParkingMotel on an international level as soon as possible, before one of the giants in peer-to-peer solutions reverses into Liam's great idea.

Park Your Views Here

How do you suggest Liam get car drivers everywhere parking quickly and without fuss using Parking Motel?

Listen back to Kickstart Your Business and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast at 6.25pm every Thursday on The Right Hook on Newstalk, and is available immediately afterwards on playback on

August 26, 2016

New Entry For Pre-Schoolers

With many small children spending a great part of their day in the care of others, particularly in the pre-school environment, out of sight shouldn't necessarily mean out of mind and unrecorded. For many pre-school teachers, the challenge though is in relating what's happened in the child's daily life to parents in a practical way. Hurried notes, and an even more hurried handover at the crowded end of the day, means that many of the milestone moments in the child's life pass unremarked.

Dear (But Not Costly) Diary

With a background as a pre-school carer, Vanessa Bileu understands the importance for both child and parent of regular updates on progress from the classroom. When she and her partner Joao moved to Ireland from their native Portugal, they pooled their respective talents to develop the ChildDiary software that enables carers to quickly and easily update parents in real time throughout the day.

Vanessa joined our host Tara Duggan and me on Kickstart Your Business this week to tell us about how her new enterprise was helping carers and parents to keep updated on the essential goings-on in the classroom.

Early Language Skills

Our host Tara and me, both parents with memories of the rushed handover at the end of the busy day, immediately warmed to the idea of a dynamic journal where essential details could be recorded throughout the child's time in pre-school.

I suggested that Vanessa and Joao might reflect the key triangle of child, carer and parent better throughout their promotional resources, in particular their website. They appeal separately to carers and parents, but need to begin the conversation squarely in the space shared by the three from the homepage onwards. This picture from elsewhere in their websites is a great example of how this triangular relationship can be illustrated effectively.

Time To Make Your Mark On ChildDiary

How do you suggest Vanessa and Joao get the whole pre-school world recording the essential details of the child's classroom life in ChildDiary?

Listen back to Kickstart Your Business and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business is broadcast at 6.25pm every Thursday on The Right Hook on Newstalk, and is available immediately afterwards on playback on

August 19, 2016

Making A Dent In The Market

You know it shouldn't hurt but somehow it does. That crushing disappointment as you notice the dent in your pride and joy in the carpark is nothing like the dent in your wallet you fear it will take to fix it. Not to mention the time your beloved transport will be off-road for repair. And so you resolve to take the hit to your pride, and hope that in time you won't notice it anymore. Or pretend you don't, but of course you do.

A Shiny New Business

With a background in IT, this week's guest on Kickstart Your Business, Wayne O'Sullivan of DentPro, spotted a gap in the market for a service that would fix dents easily, without the traditional fuss and cost associated with the service.

He set up DentPro, which is available at a growing number of sites around Dublin (with plans to extend the network across Ireland, and then the world), or at your home or office thanks to their new mobile service. DentPro provides a ready quotation via their mobile app, and Wayne estimates that in addition to saving motorists time, his service offers savings of up to 90% on the usual costs.

Making A Dent In A Shiny Market

Mick Clifford, this week's host of Kickstart Your Business, applauded the simplicity and directness of Wayne's new offering. DentPro brings something new to the market without hitting new customers in the pocket.

Meanwhile, I admired Wayne's comprehensive offering. His range of packages means that any motorist or company with a car or fleet of cars is likely to find an offer that appeals, whether that's a once-off fix or an annual protection package.

Make Your Point

How do you suggest that Wayne make a real dent in the worldwide market?

Listen back to Wayne on Kickstart Your Business, and let us know what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business features on Newstalk each Thursday at 6.25pm and is available immediately afterwards on Playback at

August 12, 2016

I Spy With My Butterfly

As any parent of young children will tell you, the great challenge is in prompting good behaviour without resorting to the threat of punishment. Left unchecked, minor transgressions such as a refusal to go to bed at the appointed time, flat rejection of any vegetable that's even faintly green, or drop-to-the-floor tantrums at the supermarket, can become real threats to family harmony, leaving parents and children alike frazzled and resentful. So what's a parent to do, to stop behavioural molehills turning into mountains?

Something Beginning With Good

Enter Butterfly Spy, the brainchild of Jane Wherity, our featured guest on Kickstart Your Business. As a mother of three young boys, Jane struggled to manage their behaviour without resorting to the threat of the wooden spoon. Over time, through the trial and error that parents everywhere will recognise, she devised a butterfly figure to perch on the shelf, watching over her potential miscreants, and rewarding them for good behaviour in the form of stars on their very own personal Butterfly Spy Card (and the prospect of a treat on achieving bronze, silver or gold status).

Someone's Been A Very Good Entrepreneur!

The eye's of this week's host, Jonathan Healy, himself a father of three young and, by his own account, unruly children, lit up when he saw Jane's Butterfly Spy kit and heard how her ingenious system might help curb his youngster's enthusiasm for mischief.

Meanwhile, I suggested that Jane needs to make much more of her Butterfly Spy figure on her website and the Sibling Packs, which are available for brothers and sisters who already have a Butterfly Spy in the family. Whilst the monarch butterfly, selected by Jane because they are local to countries all over the world, does feature in her logo, the brightly coloured figure really comes into its own in the form of the figurine.

A simple image showing the butterfly on its perch, keeping a watchful eye on the playing children, would be very appealing whilst immediately showing how it works.

Cast Your Own Eye Over Butterfly Spy

How do you suggest Jane get her Butterfly Spy flying high over households across the world?

Listen back to Jane on Kickstart Your Business, and let us know what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business features on Newstalk each Thursday at 6.25pm and is available immediately afterwards on Playback at