Top Irish Entrepreneurs Talk Business at NUI Galway
Monday, 29 November 2010
"The economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business", that's according to three of the top entrepreneurs in the country. Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming; Philip Reynolds, C&D Foods Ltd. and Terence Monaghan, Managing Director TCRS Ltd. (formerly of BetaTHERM) gave their views, advice and guidance on entrepreneurship at NUI Galway recently. Chaired by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the panel discussion focused on the characteristics of entrepreneurs, the importance of leadership and strategy, and how overcoming challenges and learning from mistakes is critical in the entrepreneur's journey. The event was organised by the NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland Western Chapter. Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director and organiser of the event, highlighted the importance of these events for budding entrepreneurs stating that "the panellists gave a great insight into their journeys and experiences. Their stories are very valuable for anyone who is planning on becoming an entrepreneur or those who are at an early stage in building their own businesses". The discussion highlighted the rich, dynamic and varying forms entrepreneurship can take. For example, Philip Reynolds took over an indigenous family run business which has now become an international supplier of pet foods on the global market with plants in the UK and Holland and a turnover of €150 million. Dylan Collins brought his entrepreneurial skill to a love of gaming developed during his college days. Collins is widely considered to be one of the most experienced online gaming/media entrepreneurs in Europe, having founded three companies with three successful exits (two of which to leading NASDAQ companies). His company was recently acquired by GameStop for $300 million. Terence Monaghan is a Galway man who showed his entrepreneurial drive and ambition when he spearheaded the management buy-out of BetaTHERM in the late 1990's which was subsequently sold at a significant profit. Terence is now Managing Director at TCRS Ltd. and is a global entrepreneur with a significant presence in China. The panellists gave honest, candid and insightful input about their success and challenges to date. The importance of effective staff recruitment practices and ensuring a good fit between employee competence and attitudes with the requirements of the job was suggested as critical by all entrepreneurs. "The management team is what differentiates successful from unsuccessful companies" said Terence Monaghan. The entrepreneur's leadership capability was also discussed and Dylan Collins argued that "effective leadership is about having a vision and guiding people towards it – even if the course changes". All three entrepreneurs agreed that the economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business. "Entrepreneurship takes many forms and is not only about starting up a business and can be done at any stage in someone's career" said Pádraig Ó Céidigh in his concluding remarks at the event.