After last year’s growth by 7.8%, Ireland’s economy is expected to maintain the status of the fastest growing economy in Europe, the figures released by the European Commission show. The predicted gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 has been set to 4.9% exceeding the figure forecasted three months ago. “Ease of Doing Business” survey supported by the World Bank Group ranks Ireland 17th globally outstripping such big economies as France (27), Japan (34) and a number of others. According to Eibhlin Curley, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown the “effective use of technology has been critical to keeping costs down and increasing sales.”
LEO Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is one of 31 offices that have been set up to assist anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. Early this year, Jobbio established partnership with the Dun Laoghaire Business Improvement District (BID) to raise local job awareness. “We are good networkers and the business community is very supportive of startups,” Eibhlin notes, marking out Ireland as “a great test bed for new technologies where a concept can be proved before exporting to larger markets.” With the experience amounting to 20 years of work in enterprise development agencies, Eibhlin Curley is now heading LEO in her hometown. We caught up with Eibhlin to find out what makes a business successful and which skills are the most in-demand.
What are the key factors that help the companies make it to the next level, i.e. grow, get investment, etc.?
The key factor is the ambition of the owner/manager to scale the business. With the right team and a compelling scaleable product or service the finance is available to help the business grow.
How do you see the Jobbio partnership with Dun Laoghaire? How helpful do you think it is in assisting the companies to grow?
Strategic partnerships are important for growth because finding allies who share common goals is mutually beneficial and have a ripple effect. The LEO supports job creation of export-oriented micro businesses so we are also interested in providing support to businesses hiring new full-time paid staff through our Priming and Business Development funding. It is helpful for employers to recruit the best talent available in a timely manner, so the companies are interested in the solutions like Jobbio because they save time and money.
What is the skill set for today’s successful entrepreneur?
Complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking, communication skills, interpersonal skills are the ingredients of successful entrepreneurs. However, attitude is more important with confidence, ambition and an appetite for taking calculated risks and tenacity.
If you are not failing you are not trying, so resilience is a key attribute of a successful entrepreneur.
What is your top advice for the startups preparing their business plan?
How are you going to make money is the key question you need to answer. A clear, concise, informative business plan explains what is the market need that your product addresses, how it is better than current offerings in the market and the business model that will generate enough cash flow to fund and expand the business.
What are the top three essential things that make a business successful?
First of all remember that cash is king, so make sure your business model and payment terms keep the cash flowing. Secondly, you need to constantly innovate; Hypothesize, Design, Test, Learn in a continuous cycle.
Never stop learning – about your customer, about your competitor, about market trends, about technology, new techniques and methods and new skills.
Finally, spend more time thinking and planning about how you will achieve your goals than reacting and doing. Make sure you are doing the right things (being effective) and doing them well (being efficient).
How does the Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown see the future?
The future is that entrepreneurial skills are becoming more important than ever. Being able to identify opportunities, device relevant solutions, process lots of information/ data to make informed decisions, build and maintain relationships and manage scarce resources are key life skills. LEO DLR are investing in teaching these skills from primary school students through our Enterprise Summer Camps. The Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Awards, give 22,000 secondary school students nationwide on an annual basis the skills and experience of running their own business, writing the business plan and financial reports.
LEO DLR are also running Entrepreneur STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) Camps in October and November for transition year student so the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown continues to build a highly skilled, confident and capable talent pool for the future.
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