ONE OF THE COOLEST places I have ever visited sits just outside the main campus of the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and it offers a place for start-ups to grow their business idea. It's the Arclabs building (viewing the landscape outside one of its windows at left) and it holds some of the brightest minds in southeast Ireland. The South East Enterprise Platform Programme (SEEPP) helps interested start-ups take a place inside the Arclabs, but it's competitive and there are some considerations to weigh in the balance. The next set of openings occur in September 2008 and applications are currently being interviewed for a place on the programme. SEEPP is a vibrant programme, supporting start-up companies in the South East region since 1998. More than 140 new enterprises have gained benefits from SEEPP, in areas as far-ranging as e-learning, software development, education, entertainment, food, engineering, manufacturing, waste management, energy, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. But it's not for everyone, and the interview process sorts out that detail.
I interviewed for a slot with SEEPP several years ago and it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I didn't want to work out of the SEEPP-designated offices, preferring instead to plough the grant assistance into SOHO operations that better suited my needs. That didn't wash with the interview team and I was left holding the can. You risk being turned down when trying to make things work in your best interest.
My situation should not discourage someone with an innovative, well-thought out business idea. People who have earned a third-level qualification (minimum Diploma) would find the SEEPP programme most interesting, because it's possible to get onto the Post Graduate Diploma in Enterprise Development run by WIT.
For further Information on how to apply, click into the SEEPP website or contact SEEPP Programme Manager Eugene Crehan on +353 51302953
Eugene Crehan: ecrehan AT wit.ie