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

August 08, 2016

He Shoots, ClubApp Scores

In a world where sports fans can follow professional big match action from anywhere across the globe, followers of local, amateur games are left short-changed. And yet the goal-mouth action or leap-frogging leaderboard on the local field of play may be even more important to them than those games being played out under a global gaze. The dedicated follower of the unfashionable who's unable to follow the action live is typically consigned to phoning in to a friend on the sideline to keep them updated.

Dedicated Follower Of Local Sport

When local sports fan Barry Nestor, our guest on Kickstart Your Business, grew frustrated at not being able to find up to the minute results for his favourite local sports competitions, he resolved to design and develop a service to deliver just that.

ClubApp offers sports clubs and competition organisers the facility to update followers on key events and action from the field of play via their mobile devices, and promises to bring the up-to-the-minute coverage that's typical of professional sports to the local playing pitch.

Local Heroes

As perhaps Ireland's greatest local sports fan, George was understandably excited about what ClubApp might offer him in terms of following his beloved 'Pres College' in Cork, whilst also enabling him to follow the leaderboard at golfing competitions at his own club, Milltown.

Meanwhile, I suggested that although they may see themselves in a different league, amateur sports do compete with professional outfits for the eyes and ears of sports fans. ClubApp is a real game-changer, and the benefits are likely to be obvious to local sports clubs and organisers across the world.

However, like many emerging entrepreneurs, Barry is a little reluctant to ask for the sale early in his sales pitch. On their website, for example, a lot of energy is expended introducing the various features and benefits, rather than offering the readily-won over visitor the option to 'Buy Now'.

Standing By For Your Report

What advice would you offer Barry and his colleagues at ClubApp to get sports fans all over the world following their favourite, local club in real time?

Listen back to Barry on Kickstart Your Business (July 28) and tell us what you think? We'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business broadcasts every Thursday at 6.25pm GMT on Newstalk, and is available for playback immediately afterwards on

August 05, 2016

A World Of Play

Primary school education packs in a lot of essential learning about how the world works, much of it textbook rather than hands-on. And yet we know from experience that we learn best when we can step into the real world and try it for ourselves, rather than try to work it out in our own heads or on paper. 

Teachers meanwhile are under-resourced when it comes to making classes practical rather than theoretical. As a result, many of us emerge from primary school with only the vaguest idea of how the world works, and typically unable to relate our textbook learning to the practical challenges we face everyday.

Do It Yourself

Primary school teacher, Colm Ó hAnluain, our featured guest on Kickstart Your Business, always liked to make his classrooms lively and stimulating. However, he struggled to find the teaching aids he needed to bring maths, physics and technical literacy to life. And so he decided to design and build his own.

Through his new enterprise, Cog & Axle, Colm offers Henry's Piano, a construction model (or Lévó) and storybook, featuring Henry and the practical challenges he faces when trying to move a piano (a big cumbersome object that children can readily relate to). Henry's Piano can be used by teachers right through primary school (whilst teachers in other parts of Europe are using it for some of their secondary school classes).

Leveraging The Power Of Gaming

Our host, Simon Delaney, and I were both delighted with Colm's invention. Simon, the father of four young boys, immediately saw the benefits for his budding engineers. 

Meanwhile, I was prompted to describe what Colm has devised as a game rather than a resource (which can have rather dry and worthy connotations). Henry's Piano is so beautifully crafted that it immediately invites the child in us to pick it up and start playing with it, so Colm might usefully explore some of this more immediate language that conveys the appeal of his invention.

Your Turn!

How do you suggest that Colm get more and more of tomorrow's engineers playing Henry's Piano?

Listen back to Colm on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think.

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