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These were the bumper industries for Irish startups last year

It was a big year for new businesses.

IRISH ENTREPRENEURS SHOOK off the economic woes last year and launched the highest number of new businesses in 7 years.

Nearly 18,000 companies were formed last year, 14% more than in 2013 and the most since 2007 – before the recession took hold.

And 6 industries had their biggest year for startups since at least 2000, according to the latest business-registration figures from Vision-Net.

Easily the highest number of new companies came in the professional services sector, which had 4,618 startups last year.

That figure was the above the next-highest total of 4,574 from 2000 and nearly 15% up on last year.

The category includes everything from holding companies to advertising and recruitment.

The biggest increase for 2014 came in the real-estate sector, followed by construction and finance – although some of the biggest growth over the past 5 years has been in IT startups.

That sector had its biggest year since the dot-com boom in 2000.

All of the top-10 sectors for new company registrations last year showed signs of growth. Here is how each one fared:

Startups5 Source: Vision-Net/TheJournal.ie

A good time to expand

One startup to launch in 2014 was Galway-based Tara Dalrymple’s Mission Possible, which is in the process of being rebranded as FeelsRight ahead of a new website launch over the next month.

The site will allow employers to organise for their workers’ out-of-office chores and tasks to be outsourced as rewards or recognition.

It means that when they are at work, they will be more focused, more productive – it’s a win-win because employers get more engaged staff and employees get their stuff sorted while they’re at work,” she said.

Dalrymple, who was last year named one of Ireland’s top women in technology, is bullish about her company’s prospects with plans to launch in Galway and Dublin first before expanding across the island and into the UK.

She said the work, which could cover anything from dog walking to waiting for a parcel delivery, would be outsourced to local businesses which would have the added benefit of growing the economy for domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Images by Clare O'regan Tara Dalrymple from FeelsRight Source: Clare O'Regan

Setting goals

This month, TheJournal.ie’s ongoing SME focus will shift to how setting goals and getting staff working together can make a big difference to helping enterprises grow.

When asked how she would benchmark her achievements this year, Dalrymple said working with a “performance coach” was key to keeping her on track as it took away the temptation to “press pause” on her goals.

“I sit down with him and create my own goals, make sure they’re achievable and give myself milestones,” she said.

I have always set a big, hairy, ambitious goal for the year that I try to hit as well. I think if there’s someone else that you are working with, that makes you want to show achievement. I’m a busy mother-of-three with 2 businesses – having this external person helping in my life has made me realise that I can achieve a lot more.”

If you have a suggestion for an Irish SME you would like to see featured in January or know a business with an innovative way of keeping staff motivated, send the author an email below.

- First published at 6.45am

READ: Small business employees can forget about a wage hike this year >

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