And finally, a bit of good news … well, for those with a bright idea for a technology start-up. The Sunday Times’ small business page reports on the range of incentives available for high-tech entrepreneurs who want to turn potential into reality.

County Enterprise Boards are a good starting point, followed by Enterprise Ireland, which last week launched the Competitive Start Fund, an initiative designed to help online and games-related start-ups get off the ground.

Ten start-ups will each receive equity investments (that’s cold, hard cash to you and me) of €50,000 in return for a 10% stake in their companies. Each of them will also receive an experienced business mentor as part of the deal.

Many enterprise boards are currently offering free office space and some are throwing in HR and legal advice, accounting services, broadband and utilities for the first year of business. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, one such package is worth €45,000.

The Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is also available – recognition there is usually a better chance of success when there is a good team involved in promoting the business. The scheme costs €10,000 for a company to participate but €7,000 of this is paid by Enterprise Ireland.

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