Aiming to fast-track new and innovative businesses that can export successfully to markets around the world, Invest Northern Ireland’s latest Propel Programme embarked on a new phase this month as 26 successful candidates entered its crucial second stage.
Invest NI’s Propel Programme provides entrepreneurs with an invaluable range of practical business support mechanisms required to develop an initial concept into a winning product with international appeal. The uniquely nurturing and progressive learning environment encompasses intensive business development workshops, mentor-led expert guidance, market entry advice and vital financial support. In the last three years the programme has already helped many local entrepreneurs to set up and grow successful businesses based on innovative ideas, products and technology and have gained close to £4 million investment.
This year’s 26 entrepreneurs come from an array of industries from all over Northern Ireland and are set to enter into another intensive period of workshops and mentoring over the next 10 months. Participants will also have access to £20,000 of financial support.
Over the coming week’s we’ll be profiling some of the 26 start-ups who make up the Class of 2013 starting today with Orlagh McGahan…
A product designed for barristers, by barristers
As a practicing barrister for eight years specialising in family law, Orlagh McGahan was fortunate enough to build up a large client base. However, with a busy practice came a significant amount of administration. Faced with a time management problem, Orlagh decided to embark upon a software development strategy which was how her product ‘Briefed’ was born.
‘Briefed’ is a case management system designed to help barristers spend less time on administration and more time arguing their cases. She explains;
“Befitting the Bar’s tradition of collegiality and reinforcing the benefit of the library system, ‘Briefed’ is truly a home-grown product, designed by barristers for barristers. It is a 100% secure programme which can run on computer or mobile device giving you access to information from anywhere, whether that is case information, fee notes, calendars or expenses.”
Orlagh quickly realised the scale of the project and the opportunity it presented, not to mention the associated financial implications that came with it. This is what led her to the Propel Programme.
“Having read one of the Invest NI e-Newsletters, I spotted the opportunity to apply for the Propel Programme. It has greatly assisted me in validating my business model and identifying a roll out plan for my export markets. As well as the expert input at workshops which is fantastically informative I find the provision of the workspace in Belfast- the ‘Hub’ – a truly excellent idea. It is giving me the opportunity to work in an environment surrounded by other young businesses lead by highly motivated individuals. The facility allows free flowing ideas, assistance and support, and is a truly enjoyable and stimulating working environment.”
Being first into the market with an innovative online tool designed specifically for the unique world of barristers, Orlagh hopes that her product will become an industry standard for all new barristers to run their business, regardless of what country or jurisdiction they work in.