What About An Alternative Irish Enterprise Agency?

I watched tonight’s TV programme with dismay, as one entrepreneur after another – people at the head of sizeable companies – recounted their depressing experiences dealing with the State agency responsible for supporting our national industries.

These were highly competent and highly qualified people, every one of them a high achiever, and each one looking like a defeated schoolboy in the face of governmental inertia.

As one businessman said, they only wanted to get me off the phone.

I had an idea.  What about these clever people getting  together and setting up a parallel support agency?

I’d like to set up a business and I’d like to talk to one of these smart, practical people.  I know they wouldn’t ask me a hundred negative questions designed to suck the life out of my idea.  They’d look for the good in it.  They wouldn’t be thinking of getting me off the phone.

How about that for an idea?  How about putting the future of Irish enterprise in the hands of Irish enterprise?

How about people with ideas for business talking to people who have actually run a business successfully?

Is that such a radical notion?

17 replies on “What About An Alternative Irish Enterprise Agency?”

First Thursday of every month, 11 a.m. Absolute Hotel, Limerick. Open Coffee. we don’t do, can’t do.

I’d 100% agree, state agencies appear to be going out of way to wrap these people up in a red tape, and God knows we need job creators now. Reminds me of Geldof back in the 70s/80s recalling how he went to a bank manager looking for a loan for his a magazine he wanted to set up for people to advertise and sell stuff. He was laughed at. Years later someone sets up Buy and Sell mag which as far as I can see is still a great success.

You’re spot on again Bock. (“I know they wouldn’t ask me a hundred negative questions designed to suck the life out of my idea”. Reminds me of a commenter on another thread.. has this been thought of .. has that been thought of.. for a fucking few vegetables and a bit of a green space..)

What about this for a plan
We could kill off all the ” blockers” in the government and public service. That is all those who seek to prevent progress at all costs and view all forms of innovation as a threat.
With these snouts removed from the trough the wages and pensions bill would be greatly reduced. Furthermore we could harvest their organs and sell them off as anti-matter. As a replacement for enterprise grants we could give new businesses an exemption fromdealinf with red tape and beurocrats for a period of three years

Fianna Fail dictionary;

Enterprise = The sting
Enterprise Support = ‘How much do I get out of it?’
Research & Development = Holiday in Florida for self and Missus
Training Grant = Potential kickback
Construction Training = An extension built by FAS apprentices
Employment = A five year summer job for the idiot son filing at FAS or the HSE

Seriously though to respond properly to Bock’s suggestion I’d go further and reward enterpreneurs for supporting small business start-ups. I’d say that in return for either an equity stake or comittment to the provision of a rolling lease on an empty premises I’d reward entrepreneurs with 20% profits or a scale of percentage profits from a one-year to a five-year plan.

A commitment of resources from an established business to a new one should be a rewarding experience for any entrepreneur on a practical level and needless to say the governance around it should be tight enough to make sure it doesn’t become a tax-con.

I availed of a grant 20 yrs ago, The amount was 5k, I knew a lot of people at the time availing of same, The logic behind this grant was that on an investment of 10k they would give you back 5k……sounds good ?
I had a pain in my legs from jumping through hoops, filling forms, providing what my Mother gave me for breakfast when I was 7.
However, I soldiered on, I being the obsessive I am took their criteria to the nth degree and executed the project as required, I attempted all manner of cost cutting incl hard labour by myself and kids ! I could not complete the project for under 25k, Yet several other people I knew completed the project completly outside of guidelines, basically joke projects, spending little or nothing, had their inspection and recieved their 5k cheque.
I was inspected and asked could my facility be used by the Gov agency for example ” days out ” and No they were’nt offering any recompense for same, They got a ” not on your nelly ” response from me.
The 5k was appreciated and needed by me at the time but since then I thought there should be some criteria put in place whereby people availing of grants for promotion of business should have to pay a levy of maybe 2% on original amount of money into a fund for emerging business after they are 3 years in profit.This might create awareness for existing successful business of emerging talent who are in need.

Brilliant idea Bock.
Beautiful in it’s simplicity.

Don’t have time to comment now but hopefully others will expand on the idea positively.

The ineptitude, waste and inefficiencies in our existing job creation agencies has already been well documented and little is to be gained from regurgitating it again here.

I don’t think that would work, Bock.

If anybody went to an entrepreneur with an idea that could be turned into profit, the entrepreneur would hijack the idea for his/her own advantage. It’s the nature of the beast.

Getting entrepeneurs to cooperate for the common good or for altruistic reasons would be like herding cats.

Private enterprise by definition is about individuals seizing on opportunities to make profit for themselves.

It’s the antithesis of public service.

Hi Norma: “I being the obsessive I am took their criteria to the nth degree and executed the project as required, I attempted all manner of cost cutting incl hard labour by myself and kids ! I could not complete the project for under 25k, Yet several other people I knew completed the project completly outside of guidelines, basically joke projects, spending little or nothing, had their inspection and recieved their 5k cheque.”

I’m guessing Norma that you were fairly new to this country at the time? This is the way we do things here. People who follow the rules do not get rewarded. They either modify their behaviour, go insane, or go and live in a proper country.

This group might be worth looking at;

Just a quick reminder about the Midwest Showcase 2010 at Thomond Park Stadium next Thursday 21st Octotober.

We will have close to 120 companies exhibiting and some interesting presentations.

Joe Purcell of Mincon whose technology played a vital part in the Chilean Mine rescue will speak in the morning as well as Padraic O’Maille, Company Mentor and Bill Liao author of ‘Stone Soup – How to make something out of nothing’. In the afternoon Cathriona Hallahan CEO of Microsoft Europe will presnet and Gary Fallon of Enterprise Ireland will speak on’ Selling into Continental Europe’.

All in all it promises to be a highly interesting and entertaining day with a focus on enterprise in a business to business environment.

Hope you can join us on the day and to avoid any delays at registration you can book online at&nb”>

From local councillors up the system is design to beat you down. Limerick city councillors are presently busy running around scaremongering about the amalgamation of the city and county councils. Telling us how our city will be abolished, more like their seats, incomes and junkets will be abolished. This from the same crowd who wouldn’t voice an objection to the state of Shannon Airport or to the planned development at Vizes Field. And if you think they’re bad wait until you deal with FAS!

So drive on for you and your family. Raise finance where you can and raise two fingers to the mandrins. This crowd will not bring me down.

I met a talented urban designer who has done a stunning thesis on Limerick and how to make the best of it on all aspects. It was presented to the dowers that be in city hall, you know, the ones in planning and this highly qualified person was told “We don’t need outsiders coming here telling us how to do things”. Oh but they do

I read your comments with dismay and ask myself where is the natural entrepreneurial flair. You talk about money, jumping through hoops yet at the same time moan about government and lack of controls.

You talk about a grant of €5,000 – 10,000, is this free money, yes it is, maybe you would rather put in the hours bursting your arse to pay back a crooked bank with interest rather than sit down and fill out an application. Makes no sense to me when we should be positive!!!y My experience is that agencies are more than happy to sit down with you and assist in applying.

You are just a bunch of moaners, ready to jump on groupthink criticism bandwagon. Wake up and get on with things! That programme looked unfair, a set up as the agencies could not comment on individual cases in public yet the entrepreneurs could slag off the agency …..mad.

Tomas. I dont know why you are so ” dismayed ” that is unless you completly missed the point ?
Firstly there is no such thing as free money,
Secondly. To outline specific criteria is totally acceptable, To abide by that criteria even more so.
Thirdly. When a Government agency decided to issue Grant aid to promote a specific area of industry, There is an obligation on that Government agency to follow through prior to monies being paid out, If the criteria is not adhered to the money is badly spent and the industry being supported is damaged.
Fourthly. It is and always was possible to streamline the approach to the distribution of grant aid, To gather and glean irrelevant information is neither efficient or productive, If the inspection of project was given priority over paperwork, funds would not be wasted and it would avoid a ” jobs for the boys ” situation time and time again.
Fifthly. To allay your despair regarding what you see as ” free money ” Let me assure you it was paid back in revenue about 60 times over.
Grant aid has created a morass of negativity and blurred all the boundaries between entrpenureship and human endevour in this country.

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