On 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 a larger room in the venue in order to cater to all guests. Speaking along with myself were many talented entrepreneurs acting as role models for ambitious businesspeople 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 is 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.
Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group