One Region, One Vision Event – What 2018 Holds for The West of Ireland

One Region, One Vision Event – What 2018 Holds for The West of IrelandOn Tuesday last, September 28th, the Salthill Hotel in Galway was host to a spectacular event on the prospects of 2018 for The West of Ireland. Organised by The North-West Regional Assembly, the event attracted a huge crowd and had to be moved to larger room in the venue in order to cater for all guests. Speaking along with myself were many talented entrepreneurs acting as role models for ambitious business people in The West of Ireland, namely Harry Hughes (Portwest), Adrian Weckler (Independent Newspapers), Dr. John Breslin (NUIG) and Mary Rodgers (Portershed), and each guest offered unique experiences, views and ideas. Reflecting on the afternoon and remembering what each speaker had to say I noted a number of key points that stuck with me. Here are my top takeaways from the event: The West is a very excellent showcase of wonderful entrepreneurs e.g. Harry Hughes, Pat McDonagh, Evelyn O’Toole, Barry O’Sullivan and many others – so there is so much to learn from the start-ups that have been successful in the region. Collaboration of all the support organisations is so important to encourage entrepreneurship in the regions – this was echoed by so many of the participants on the day. Our colleges are playing a major part in listening to what the companies need regarding skills and are devising courses to grow talent in these areas – much work done but more work is needed as the jobs of tomorrow are changing rapidly. The encouragement of entrepreneurship should be encouraged at an early age and nurtured during secondary schools so students are well versed about the possibility of starting their own company in the future. It is a very real opportunity for those who have the characteristics to make it happen. Ireland is still lagging behind in the EU when it comes to our start-up birth rate – we are now the 2nd lowest in the EU – that needs to change dramatically! ‘Out of adversity there is opportunity’ something Harry Hughes mentioned during his presentation – you need to be ready to take the necessary risks to move forward in order to capitalise on opportunity. Entrepreneurs should not be afraid to sell their vision in order to find top talent to join them and never underestimate the ‘candidate experience’ when they apply to your company for a job. That experience will be the deciding factor for the candidate when choosing their preferred employer. There is endless potential in The West and North West of Ireland. 2018 holds an opportunity for us all to reach that potential together as One Region – fully unified, sharing experiences, guiding those who need assistance to get off the ground successfully.   There is no doubt about the entrepreneurial spirit and talent here, now we must encourage confidence in that ability and collaborate to make our region go from great to awesome.           Michelle Murphy Director Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services...

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Invest4Success Event Showcases the Potential of the Upper Shannon Erne Region

My colleague Ita Hodder & I attended the Invest4success event in Croke Park last Thursday afternoon on behalf of Collins McNicholas. The event was a great success, showcasing some of the established and upcoming businesses in the upper Shannon Erne region. There were representations from businesses in counties Leitrim, Cavan, Roscommon & Longford all discussing the potential for investors, partnerships and employment opportunities in the region. Basing the event in Dublin offered an opportunity to reach a wider audience and in particular the diaspora living outside the area. The event was well attended and we heard some very positive presentations from Abbott Diagnostics, Vistamed and Cora Systems, who spoke of their commitment to the region and their continued growth. Some of the other businesses exhibiting on the day included; ATA Group, Masonite, Merenda, Obelisk, Prior medical and Lakeland Dairies. For employment opportunities many companies discussed the values of what working in the regions can offer. This includes shorter commuting times, affordable housing, access to schools, strong communities and all round better quality of life. This was reinforced by some of the local tourism initiatives we heard about such as the Blueways project by Waterways Ireland, highlighting the excellent recreational activities available in the region. Overall the region plans to create almost 2,000 jobs in the next few years across a number of sectors which will have a significant impact on the area. It was great to see such a positive message being construed across the board from the larger multinationals to the smaller start-ups. If you are interested in hearing about specific employment opportunities in the region please contact me...

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Collins McNicholas at the SCCUL Enterprise Awards

Collins McNicholas were again heavily involved in the SCCUL Enterprise Awards 2014 which were presented in the Bailey Allan Hall in NUIG on 29th January 2015. This year was the fifth running of the awards where 140 companies competed for 6 category awards, 6 runner up awards in each category, 6 One to Watch awards, and a special merit award. There was also a special recognition award which was presented to the Murren family in recognition of the services of Jim Murren former CEO of IDA Galway, who was a former judge in the awards process and former SCCUL mentor. Over 600 people including SCCUL personnel, exhibitors and members of the public attended what was has become one of the biggest enterprise awards in the country. Collins McNicholas sponsored the Business Services category and the first picture above shows Colman Collins presenting the joint category award to Brenda Dooley of Axis Healthcare. As sponsors Collins McNicholas were allowed to have a stand at the awards ceremony where Michelle Murphy, Caroline Ward and Caroline Dowling were in attendance. Michelle Murphy was also a judge in the awards process. Frank Ryan Chairman of IDA opened the awards ceremony and our second picture shows Liam Bluett former GM of SCULL Enterprises, Colman, Frank Ryan Chairman IDA Ireland and Michael Smyth GM of SCCUL Enterprises. Our final picture shows Colman outlining the SCCUL mentoring process which many of the award winners are joining as mentees. We look forward to the 2015 SCCUL Enterprise Awards. For more information on SCCUL, visit:...

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Christopher Byrne, CEO of SensorPro speaks at Start Up Galway event

On Tuesday September 30th I had the pleasure of attending the latest installment from www.startupgalway.org in McSwiggans, Galway. Startupgalway.org was set up by Barry O’Sullivan the former VP of Cisco and John Breslin of NUIG. Their goal is to make Galway a hub for ICT start-ups in the same way it has become a medical device hotspot. This was a well-attended event with everyone excited to hear the key note speaker. Our speaker was Christopher Byrne, a tech entrepreneur, transatlantic sailor and runner who lives in Dingle, County Kerry. He is currently the CEO and co-founder of SensorPro, a messaging and feedback platform that has served many brands including Pampers, Brown Thomas and Family Dollar. In 1992, he co-founded Cashbook.com which pioneered electronic payment and reconciliation solutions on the IBM AS/400 and Microsoft platforms. The products were distributed worldwide by SSA, now Infor. Cashbook.com was acquired by e-procurement firm Clarus Corporation in 2000 for $60 million. The event took the form of a Q&A session with Christopher being asked a wide range of very interesting questions on his experience with starting a venture and the struggles along the way. The event was later opened up to the audience, mostly consisting of developers and techie professionals. It also included many considering starting a business or those who have recently started a small venture. Some of my key take points included: While a great product is crucial you must also focus on the sales and marketing side. Many start-up technical companies spend too much time producing the “perfect app.” If you don’t focus on sales and marketing the product, your business will...

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Enterprise Ireland CEO Discusses Entrepreneurship in Ireland

Julie Sinnamon the CEO of Enterprise Ireland addressed the SCCUL Mentors Group which I chair and I thought some of the following comments she made at this seminar might be of general interest. Julie is extremely optimistic about the prospects for the food sector and anticipates a 50% growth in that sector over the next 5 years. She sees much of the growth in this sector being located in the regions. This ties in with a broader objective to ensure a balanced distribution of EI support across all parts of the country. She is very optimistic about the future of EI companies generally and this optimism is positively influenced by the recent PMI data (Purchasing Manager’s Index) which is at its most positive in the past 6 years. One thing Julie would like to see is more female entrepreneurs and she made the point that of the 250 senior management personnel in 100 companies that EI have recently supported only 8 of the executives were women. Julie puts this down to a lack of female role models, an unjustified lack of confidence and the fact that the average age of the entrepreneurs EI supported is 32 which is an important age in a woman’s biological cycle. Julie also said that 50% of inward entrepreneurs are now people with no Irish connections at all but who want to locate here because of Ireland’s strong entrepreneurial culture. Julie described the challenge of scale facing Irish companies which is seen in the fact that Ireland has a small number of very big companies and a very large number of small companies. She...

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Transition Year Students Take Part in Entrepreneurial Workshop in Galway

I recently facilitated the first day of a two day ideation workshop in NUIG for transition year students. The event is sponsored by Intel and staffed by the teachers of the participating schools and members of the Galway and Corrib Lions Clubs. The idea behind the event is to generate an entrepreneurial spirit in the young people attending in the hope that it might encourage some of them to consider starting their own businesses as opposed to looking for a job working for someone else. Ninety students took part in this event and it was encouraging to see the motivation, enthusiasm and innovation of the participants. The students had to work in teams on a very serious problem facing young people at the moment, the 28% youth unemployment rate. The fifteen teams had to each work on one aspect of this problem and come up with a fully costed solution showing how part of this problem could be addressed. This was to be done in a way that would result in a new product or service being provided, that would involve the start-up of an enterprise and a reduction in the number of unemployed young people. In particular they were encouraged to use new technology in a creative way as part of this process. It was very encouraging to see the energy, enthusiasm and innovation of each team in coming up with new angles and solutions to what has seemed to be an intractable problem since the onset of the recession in 2008. If these students are representative of young people in general then the future of the country...

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