The AIB Start-up Academy in association with The Irish Times is in it’s eighth week with all of the finalists announced, including a reader-chosen wild card company.
The winner and two runners-up receive a prize package of €250,000 to share which could change their lives and their businesses forever, with the overall winner receiving a €20,000 cash investment.
We asked Carrie Doorley, Kilkenny mother of two and founder of Queezybags, how it felt to have been chosen to take part in the program.
It felt so exciting to be selected, just unbelievable. I have enjoyed sharing the eight weeks with the other finalists and it feels really comforting to have had a space with people who have travelled a similar journey.
In terms of the benefits she has received, like many other participants she mentioned learning as much from the other companies as the experts themselves.
“I am so conscious that I don’t have a business education background and I feel that the Academy has helped bridge that gap and help her gain some more confidence in moving forwards. Also the learning from the other finalists. Many are a little further ahead in their journeys so I am looking forward to the stories.”
Due to the lack of competition in the market for convenient and hygienic sickness bags, Doorley thinks this gives her business the edge.
“I think most of the other businesses already have competition in their market areas, whereas the Queezybags is first to market in the retail space as regards disposable sickness bags.”
“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced sickness and Queezybag, despite being a very simple product can bring such reassurance and is a really practical help that can save you a lot of time and money as you can avoid a big cleanup.”
The grand prize is a life-changer and Doorley knows that is could transform her business.
“Winning the grand prize will do many things for the business. I have already seen that there is a link between media and increased Queezybag sales. Winning such a large media investment will most definitely increase those sales to a level where I could devote all of my time to the business and built on that further. I am currently working full-time and the cash element would also be a huge support in taking that final leap.”
Doorley hopes that the profile of her company being raised will boost business and help her expand abroad.
” Looking at last years finalists, life thankfully does not end when the academy is over and businesses continue to thrive and develop. I too hope to be able to encourage and inspire next year’s finalists, and indeed anyone on an entrepreneurial journey. Queezybags will be well established in Ireland this year and then head into UK market and beyond.”
AIB are Backing Brave. To read more about the AIB Start-up Academy in association with the Irish Times, visit here.