18 May Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland – Day 4

The Queen’s visit continued to affect our visit.  We were headed to meet with Webroot today, and found ourselves stuck in the middle of a bridge due to rolling barricades.  No worries – we rescheduled for next week!

We met young Alex Hamilton this morning.  He’s one of six employees at the Dublin Web Summit run by Paddy Cosgrove.  He’s got a terrific background with plenty of stretching experiences early on – e.g., service work in Kenya.  His enthusiasm is infectious!

We also met with Gordon McConnel.  He’s the former Deputy CEO of the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship and Director, Propeller Accelerator; but now headed to ASU in the USA!  The students really enjoyed his take on Pracademics versus Academics.  He’s a fun and dynamic speaker, and truly believes entrepreneurs can be created!  But the best start-ups need two people – a Yin and a Yang.  He mentioned the importance of mentoring and coaching, which has been a recurring theme.  He also advised the students to read widely in the tech world.

Lastly, we had meetings at Enterprise Ireland where we met with Jessica Benson, Lorcan O’Sullivan, and Aiden Stack.  We received a fantastic overview on how government can work to accelerate the development of entrepreneurs as economic drivers.  Right now, 9% of the Irish work force are engaged as entrepreneurs (the US is 8%).  Enterprise Ireland falls under the Minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation.

Lorcan addressed why do business in Ireland?

  • Infrastructure
  • Funding
  • Access to EU market – bigger than US
  • Easier and cheaper than around the US
  • Labor laws friendly
  • The concept of like-minded “clusters”

Aidan Stack spoke about the Accelerated Growth Programme.  Its primary goal is to develop CEOs, and the main predictor of CEO success is whether the CEO is a “serial entrepreneur.”  Skills and ambition are also key.  Besides the need for coaching and mentorng, another recurring theme has been the total emphasis on tech.  But like the US, not enough students are coming out of the university with skills in these areas.

There a four pillars to the Accelerated Growth Programme:

1.  International sales strategy – MOST IMPORTANT!

2. Finance – manage cash and raise cash

3. Leading people – building and mobilizing team

4. Strategy

Bottom line:  Only the market can say who will succeed!  That’s the ultimate metric…

Tomorrow is travel to Sligo!

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