Two young Dublin friends set up business with little capital

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Two young friends from Malahide have set up two businesses selling ice grips for shoes and snow socks for cars, despite the economic recession. Source - Spikeys Ice Grips & Snow Tyre Grips.

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Mike O'Keeffe (29) and Colm Ginty (27), who met through a mutual friend last summer, considered several business ideas including recapturing energy produced by gym-users, cereal bars (that is, restaurants that serve different types of cereal – they exist!), and stock-exchange themed pub nights. After rejecting all of these for various reasons, they saw the opportunity to sell equipment that would help the Irish public deal with the coming winter. Thus Spikeys Ice Grips and Snow Tyre Grips were born.

Mike O'Keeffe is in full time employment as an engineer. He's also in his second year of a part time masters in engineering in IT, Tallaght. After crashing his car twice on the snow and ice he purchased a pair of snow socks to try out for himself. Impressed by the difference these socks made, he decided to get into this business and help others regain their confidence on the ice at a more competitive price. This is how SnowTyreGrips was born. With investments from family and friends he imported 600 top quality snow socks from China. They are available online at, and can be found in AutoFast repair and servicing centres in Dublin and Cork.

Colm Ginty is a masters student at Trinity College Dublin. Remembering his own falls on the ice last winter and how quickly the shops in Dublin sold out of ice grips for shoes, he logged onto in search of Chinese suppliers. He found a reputable company in Shenzen that could provide him with a quality product at a low price. From then on the process was very quick. Colm transferred €2, 500 to the company's bank account, and within a week 800 pairs of rubber ice grips with zinc-coated cleats were waiting to be picked up at Dublin Airport. Colm has a website at where the customer can order and have their purchase shipped to them within two days. His grips are also stocked by Malahide Hardware, O'Brien's Hardware on Talbot Street, Tara Leather (opposite Tara Street dart station), and the Student Union shop in Trinity College.

Mike and Colm are both thoroughly enjoying the process of starting and running a business, despite the current economic climate. Through SpikeysIceGrips Colm has already more than recouped his initial investment, even though the bad weather has not yet kicked in. Having commenced trading slightly later, SnowTyreGrips is growing slowly but steadily in a highly competitive market. Both friends are happy to play their part in keeping Dublin safe and moving over the holiday period.


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Colm Ginty

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