As part of the 'Policy Support for Industrial Resilience' online webinar which took place on the 26-06-2020, New Frontiers the national programme designed to develop entrepreneurs was presented by Alison Walsh, New Frontiers Manager, at the Rubicon Centre, Cork Institute of Technology. In her intervention, Alison focused on the impact New Frontiers is having regionally across the Southern Region via the Rubicon Centre.

New Frontiers is delivered on behalf of Enterprise Ireland by Institutes of Technology across Ireland. The programmes' primary purpose is to accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential and contribute to job creation and economic activity in regional locations.

Since its inception in 2012, New Frontiers has engaged with people whom are either wishing to start their own business or who have lost their jobs and gave them the platform to reinvent themselves and create new start-ups. Consisting of practical and interactive workshops, personalised one-to-one mentoring, financial support and co-working space, New Frontiers provides the supports for anyone seeking to develop their business idea into a successful start-up. 

New Frontiers differs from privately funded accelerator programmes in that it does not take equity in the start-ups it supports. The focus of the programme is supporting the entrepreneur (promoter) rather than the start-up itself. The goal of the programme is to help the entrepreneur take their early-stage idea from business concept to investable business. 

New Frontiers at the Rubicon Centre CIT supports 12 participants annually in the establishment of their new businesses. Over 110 participants since 2012. 

Image: The 2018 cohort of New Frontiers programme entrepreneurs outside the Rubicon Centre @ Cork Institute of Technology 22-10-18., with Programme Manager Alison Walsh.

One of the reasons that the New Frontiers Programme has worked so well is that each business receives personalised supports which is focused on their business, but provided in a collaborative environment: 

  • Regional access to across 14 programmes and 16 locations. 
  • Open to business ideas from across all sectors
  • Support valued at €30,000 including €15,000 tax-free stipend
  • Further support available to the value of €10,000+
  • Personalised one-to-one mentoring
  • Expert advice and guidance from an experienced programme team, business practitioners, investors and other entrepreneurs within the Institutes of Technology and Universities.
  • Access to R&D facilities and specialist expertise of host HEI, Cork Institute of Technology
  • Practitioner-led workshops in all areas of building a business.
  • Regular milestone review meetings to monitor your progress.
  • Free co-working space (during Phase 2 and 3).
  • Support and guidance in the development of a strong business plan.

Alison Walsh, New Frontiers Manager, at the Rubicon Centre believes “New Frontiers has a long history of success in the Rubicon centre in CIT, supporting highly innovative and exciting early stage founders who participate on the programme. They get access to the vast experience and skill set within the CIT campus eco system and grow to become employers in the region adding significantly to the local economic activity.” 

The Concrete outcomes of the programme @ the Rubicon Centre include:  

  • 110 Number of start-ups since 2012 – employing 610 staff  
  • 73% Survival rate for programme companies
  • €1,640,000 financial support from Local Enterprise Offices
  • €9,600,000 in H2020 funding won by programme companies
  • €1,300,000 in Competitive Start Funding (26 projects)

George Bulman, Operations Manager at the Rubicon Centre believes one of the “biggest challenges with each iteration of the programme, is creating an open culture to integrate new entrepreneurs with the network of start-ups in Rubicon is paramount. As is finding the right role for programme entrepreneurs, as many have a fantastic business idea but are perhaps the right person technically to navigate the start-up or vice versa.” 

For further information on the New Frontiers programme contact Alison Walsh, New Frontiers Programme Manager on E-mail: [email protected] or access further Information via the Rubicon Centre’s website or the New Frontiers Blog