Just a heads up - This is NOT a sponsored post. All these words and opinions are my own, because they might be helpful to other small businesses.
A couple years ago, a friend of mine suggested I apply for the IEDR Optimise Fund. My first thought was "What's an IEDR and why is their fund optimised?"
The IEDR are the .IE Domain Registry, the people who look after all the .ie domain names. Part of their job is to promote local businesses with a .ie and to encourage more Irish SME's to bring their business online. To do that they've set up a yearly competition called the Optimise Fund. They choose 15 winners who receive €10,000 worth of consultancy to help further develop their websites.
Sex Siopa won for 2014, and it was an incredible experience! They paired us with Drew Shiel from Elucidate Consultancy who was not phased at all when Paddy and I told him we wanted to be trained up on SEO & Analytics rather than just give him the website to work on and give it back to us when it's done. We took away so much invaluable information that has helped us better understand our website and where we needed improvement. I was never really a web-dev type person, so Drew's patience with me was much appreciated.
The following January, they had a ceremony in the Shelbourne where our awards were presented to us by Minister Alex White. That's right. That's a sex shop owner.... having her photo taken with a government minister!
Even if you don't win, the IEDR folks are so sound! They're there to help, so if you have any questions regarding your .ie or getting one set up, definitely get in touch with them. I can't recommend them enough.
The IEDR are accepting applications for the Optimise Fund till April 8th. It's super easy to fill out and you can find it here.