Series 3: Episode 3

Broadcast: 6/03/2011

Maureen Donnelly

Name: Maureen Donnelly
Idea: Watz Dat Party Box
Investment: ¤25,000
Equity: Asked for: 5% Dealt at: 49%

The Pitch: Complete party supplies & activities in a box delivered straight to your door.

Came up with the Idea: Maureen had been working in the children's party market for 9 years with Mini Chefs - Children's Cookery Parties - and was turning business away from clients living in parts of the country that she did not cover i.e. Galway, Kerry, Cork etc. Maureen came up with a 'Plan B' to facilitate such clients and decided to put an entire party in a box! "Having listened to what my clients were saying about organising children's parties, I thought that by supplying everything from the table ware, invitations, goody bags etc in one box along with the all important activity, would be ideal for busy parents. I also decided to offer different themes, not just cookery, so there will be something for everyone." She began to research the idea almost two years ago to see what was out there and although there are many party sites offering tableware, balloons etc., no-one is offering the all important activity. She decided to put boxes together for a minimum of 8 children but giving clients the option of adding more children if they wish. During the course of developing the product, Karen Healy came on board last April but decided to leave in December.

Personal Information: Maureen left school and spent a year in Rome as an au pair. While there, she learned Italian. When she returned home, jobs were in short supply so she did a year in Rathmines doing a commercial course followed by almost two years working with Niall McGahon & Company (accountants) in Dundalk. From there, Maureen was a PA to a director of an export company for two years and then moved to Dublin where she started a 12 year career in the Incoming Tourist market. She dealt with the Italian market dealing with the 'Go As You Please' sector. This involved handling individual client bookings from car hire to hotels etc., doing meet & greet at Dublin Airport and troubleshooting for them during their holiday here if they had any difficulties. During peak season, it was a 7 day a week, 16 hours a day (sometimes more) job but Maureen says it was great fun and no two days were ever the same.

She left Tourism when her daughter was born. She is a separated Mum of a teenage daughter - now 13 - and began Mini Chefs during her separation. It was ideal for her, allowing her to work from home to be with her daughter. She and her daughter moved back to Drogheda (originally came from here) in 2004, and continued with Mini Chefs. Although the majority of bookings were still in Dublin, she developed Mini Chefs further by running cookery camps during the school holidays & mid-terms which, during the 'Tiger' years were very popular & successful. They were for children from 5 years up to teenagers and still today, she has parents telling me how some of the children who attended still love to cook and are still open to trying new foods. However, like so many out there, business has slowed down greatly but rather than moan about it, she came up with Party in a Box.


Roger McGreal

Name: Roger McGreal
Idea: Bin Guardian
Investment: ¤60,000
Equity: 12%

The Pitch: A simple and cost effective solution to problems that can potentially exists in every household worldwide.

Came up with the Idea: Roger has always had an interest in identifying a particular need and inventing a solution that would address that need. He knew from business experience that simplicity and value are vital components in any products success. That obviously would have to marry with quality and functionality. Roger has developed the product through all its design stages to date. Patents in Ireland and the U.K. are pending, and an animated website is almost completed.

Personal Information: Roger has been involved in property development in Ireland, England and America for over twenty years. He owns and manages a very substantial property portfolio. The current slowdown in this market is allowing him time to focus on long held interests. He is currently working on two further projects. Roger has studied martial arts and trains frequently in a local gym. He is a keen aviator and trained as a pilot in Florida. He researched Patent Law and personally lodged the U.K. and Irish Applications. He also intends to finish my Barrister at Law Degree in two years.


Tom Watts

Name: Tom Watts
Idea: The Secret Recipe Company
Investment: ¤50,000
Equity: 30%

The Pitch: A route to market for secret/family recipes.

Came up with the Idea: The Secret Recipe Company was created by Tom in order to allow people with great traditional recipes a route to market. For people who may have a secret recipe, and have often wondered about selling it to generate extra income, Tom wanted them to be able to do this, by offering to produce your product for sale and pay you a royalty based on the sales. Tom has so far launched one secret recipe, which is currently stocked in shops Kilkenny/Dublin. He is still producing it at home. He wants to upscale the production and get stockists nationwide.

Personal Information: Tom has never been involved with a food business before. He has actually been running an interiors business for the last 5 years, designing and supplying wallpaper printed with images rather than a pattern. Things have been quiet for the past few months so he established the secret recipe company on September 30th with the goal of producing, launching and selling secret recipe #1 at the Savour Kilkenny Festival which was held between October 22nd & 25th. He has had the idea for some time, but it is only recently, since he has a bit more time on his hands, that he has been able to focus on developing the concept.


Terry Reihill

Name: Terry Reihill
Idea: Who Has It
Investment: ¤25,000
Equity: 10%

The Pitch: A website for Industrial Spare parts & surplus stock.

Came up with the Idea: Terry came up with the idea, when he kept noticing companies having accumulated stock, either for their own maintenance backup or to satisfy customer demand. Now, due to numerous reasons, they find they have this stock sitting on shelves, gathering dust, being devalued at the yearend stock take and in extreme cases- stock dumps. So, he decided that, for an annual fee, he would create a website dedicated to industrial spare parts and surplus stock where they can upload unlimited quantities, and with it a chance to turn this surplus stock into revenue. For buyers it offers an opportunity to find parts faster, easier and from sources they probably never knew existed. It could be a tradition supplier or somewhere as diverse as a local quarry or food factory. With main dealers carrying less stock, and people trying to keep equipment running longer (rather than replacing) and as the site can be searched by part number, description or browsed by category, it allows the buyer to see, who has it in stock, the location, all product details and it provides all the relevant information for the buyers to make contact with the supplier to purchase the part.

Personal Information: Terry is a 47 yr old Engineer with 26yrs industrial experience. He has been involved in product design, development, production management and materials management. The past 16yrs have been spent as Group Purchasing Manager for a large manufacturing company in the midlands. Machines were sold, decommissioned, or plant altered leaving all these spares on the shelf. Every year at stock take these parts were on the shelf and he knew there had to be a market for them. The idea for Who Has It was born. Terry has extensive industrial knowledge. He doen't claim to know everything and realises there is a lot of hard work ahead of him. Terry is a people person and has a positive outlook on life.


Paul Laffan

Name: Paul Laffan
Idea: My First Hurl
Investment: ¤25,000
Equity: 30%

The Pitch: Miniature personalised hurleys. Ideal gifts for babies & toddlers.

Came up with the Idea: While looking for a nice present for his Godson's christening, Paul came up with the idea of a miniature hurley, which could be engraved with the baby's name & date of birth. He looked for such a product online and in shops. And when he realised there was no such product on the market he set about doing it himself and came up with his new business 'My First Hurl'.

Personal Information: Paul is married to Aileen and lives in Wexford with 3 young children. GAA has been a huge part of his life, for as long as he can remember. He has been playing hurling since he was 3 or 4 years old. Paul is a qualified electrician and instrumentation technician. He worked as an electrician for a few years after he qualified. Then, he opened Bookmakers in Wexford in 2003. In his spare time, he sells miniature hurleys & sliotars. The business has proven to be quite popular and he has had a lot of positive feedback from customers, which he is really pleased about. He intends to put more time into growing the business in the future.


Greg Fry and John Karma

Name: Greg Fry and John Karma
Idea: Career News TV
Investment: ¤20,000
Equity: 80%

The Pitch: An interactive and video driven website dedicated to all things Career Related. Aimed at helping job seekers, students and pre start ups by providing relevant information, news, free career webinars and job opportunities.

Came up with the Idea: Greg came up with the idea when he saw that there was no site out there that provides visual career advice and content. He also liked the idea of watching a news bulletin that is dedicated to career news. Both he and John also felt that the idea of an interactive "community" based website that engaged with jobseekers would be visited on a regular basis.

Personal Information: Greg Fry has over 10 years Recruitment experience in the Irish and US markets. He holds a Diploma in Business and Life Coaching and a Marketing degree. Greg has engulfed himself in social media over the past 18 months and believes it is one of the most cost effective and income generating tools that a Recruiter, Employer and Job Seeker can use in these challenging times.

John Kamara has over 10 years experience in organisational and marketing strategy, talent acquisition & management, sales, new market acquisition, organisational re-engineering coupled with his training and public speaking experience of the past 6years In the recruitment world John has been known for his advanced and "out of box" acquisition techniques, strong background in sales, marketing strategy and operational management. He has gained experience working in various international markets i.e Jamaica, Germany, Angola Ireland, Switzerland, India, Kuwait, South Korea, China and West Africa Countries


Bernie Everard

Name: Bernie Everard
Idea: My Home Number
Investment: ¤20,000
Equity: 50%

The Pitch: My Home Number is a new product for the home market offering a simple solution to number your home with a contemporary house sign.

Came up with the Idea: Bernie started making house signs from off cuts of material and using our spare capacity, selling customisable house signs online. The idea for a contemporary off the shelf solution to number your home came about when she was exhibiting her range of contemporary customisable house signs at the Ideal Homes Show last autumn. Customers were inquiring if she had an off the shelf solution to number your home.

Following the show she tried many design and material options and came up with a modern contemporary signs that looks great, is value for money and easy to assemble. She went to the National Craft Fair with her new product and it received great interest. Based on customer feedback she made some changes and went again to the Spring Ideal Home show again with further changes and packaging. The product sold very well. She has since employed the services of a packaging consultant to help me develop a brand.

Personal Information: Bernie was born in Celbridge, Co. Kildare and daughter of a local Celbridge businessman. She always knew she would have her own business some day but was never sure what it would be. After graduating from UCC in 1990 with BSc in Food Business, she worked in the meat industry for a short period and then moved to pharmaceutical for almost 10 years. During this time she married Martin and took time off during her career to have 3 children, Roisin aged 15, Lorcan aged 13 and Sive aged 9. She started business with Martin in 2005 Re-imagine Signage Solutions and has been working in the sign business since then.

She is highly motivated and determined female entrepreneur and wanst to build a successful and sustainable business with export potential.


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RTÉ One, Sundays, 9.30pm


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