A Full House for the AIB Start-Up Academy Night in Athlone

John Touhy of Nightline Delivery Services speaking with Ciara Donjon of Theya at the Athlone AIB Start-Up Academy.

18 Sep 2015

Posted in:  Business Support

What’s it all about?

The Sheraton Hotel in Athlone played host to the sixth AIB Start-Up Academy night as the Midlands’ start-up community gathered in huge numbers for an entertaining night of expert business advice and networking.

The AIB Start-Up Academy in association with The Irish Times provides start-ups with the chance to network with their peers and showcase their businesses. Start-ups can also enter to win a place on the AIB Start-Up Academy training program which will take place early next year. Two runners-up and an overall winner will share in a prize fund worth over €250k. Applications are still open, apply here.

Business storytelling, meet our speakers

John Tuohy, CEO of Nightline and Parcel Motel, delivered an excellent presentation to the audience, detailing the lessons he has learned on his 23-year journey to build what is now Ireland’s largest independent courier firm. John’s key advice to start-ups was to always be thinking about the next revenue stream as technology and consumer trends are continually evolving.

Ciara Donlon, founder of THEYA was the second expert speaker of the night. Ciara noticed that there was a lack of post-surgery lingerie on the market and decided to launch an innovative product specifically designed to the needs of breast cancer survivors. The business has gone from strength to strength since its foundation last year. Ciara’s passion for her business and her customers was evident to all who attended.

Pitch Perfect

Three start-up owners also took to the stage to pitch their businesses to the crowd. The first speaker was Daragh O’Rourke from Auctus, a company who produce animal health and nutritional feed.

Lynda Syron of Mollie Moo’s Pet Farm was next up to pitch her business. Despite only opening 5 months ago, Lynda’s pet farm is proving to be hugely popular and is drawing in visitors from all over the Midlands region.

The final pitcher of the evening was from 2015 AIB Start-Up Academy finalist, Karl McCarthy. Karl’s ticketing app Usher shows users what events are happening in Dublin on a given day and provides an opportunity to book tickets for those events. Usher have recently joined forces with Billetto UK and Karl believes that his experience in the AIB Start-Up Academy has helped his business grow.

Audience Participation Time

Following the speakers and pitchers, Gary Quinn of the Irish Times chaired an entertaining and informative Q&A session which gave members of the audience a chance to share their experiences and quiz the experts. For those who couldn’t make it to the Sheraton, the event was streamed live on Periscope, validating John Tuohy’s point about adapting to new technologies!

What’s Next?

The next stop for the AIB Start-Up Academy is the Sky & Ground Bar in Wexford Town on Wednesday September 30th. It’s free to register, but places are limited!

View our recap video of the previousAIB Start Up Academy Letterkenny event.

Find out more about the AIB Start-up Academy.

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