The Entrepreneurship Club

innovate

One could argue that the main draw each Wednesday evening was the fine canapes and wine; but with over 1400 man hours of discussions and learning about entrepreneurship that were enabled this semester, the bait wasn’t really needed but was much appreciated.

The opportunity to get a first-hand interpretation of experiences from industry stalwarts, serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business gurus and a class of peers with a common hunger to solve a problem, any problem, has been truly beneficial.

The UCD Entrepreneurship Series, brought to fruition by The UCD College of Business and The Smurfit MBA Entrepreneurship Club, has been a successful collaboration under the stewardship of the Entrepreneur in Residence Majella Murphy and the MBA students. The legacy of which we hope continues into the future.

This year we saw the journey of UCD alumni, as they tackled the highs and lows of setting up their own establishments and heard their account of navigating the often-misunderstood entrepreneurial landscape. From idea generation, problem resolution to monetization, the forum has not only dealt with the necessary guidelines and tools but also efficaciously highlighted the bravado of the human spirit.

Two of the events gained substantial fame, the first was the visit of Patrick McGuinness and the latter comprised of a panel of Venture capitalists. Not surprisingly though, since two of the greatest fears before pursuing down this route seem to be the risk and raising finance. Patrick, the man behind the phrase FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, spoke of transitioning into entrepreneurship through a 10% approach (time, energy and funds) while the Venture Capital event dismissed several urban legends that we all perceived existed in the game.

Some of us came into the MBA with entrepreneurship experience and others came in with entrepreneurial ambitions, but rest assured most of us now have the aspiration to pursue our own path someday soon.

Entrepreneur. Chart with keywords and icons
Entrepreneur. Chart with keywords and icons

Schedule of events

From UCD Smurfit to Startup CEO

Journeys from UCD Smurfit to Startup CEOs.

  • Lukas Decker (Coindrum)
  • Ronan Byrne (Clearsight Innovations)
  • Stephen Quinn (Jobbio)

Their personal journey, the hows and whys, the choices and sacrifices, the highs and lows.

Inside the Incubator @ GEC

Insight into the Guinness Enterprise Centre, their offerings, introduction to current start-ups residing there and the opportunities to get involved.

Social Enterprise Scaling – CoderDojo

Bill Liao, CoderDojo’s first angel investor, as he recounts the story of the rapid global growth of their movement.

Unspoken Lessons from Failure

“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”.

The 10% Entrepreneur

Choosing between the stability of a traditional career and the freedom of entrepreneurship?

Inspiring Creativity & Innovation @ Google

How does Google manage to generate, create, innovate and launch new products and services in an endless flow?

The Best Source of Funding Depends on…

“The best source of funding depends on where the company is at in their journey, what their needs are and the terms on the table for any particular deal.”

Hear three of Ireland’s leading and most respected Venture Capitalists and Advisors:

  • Brian Caulfield
  • John O’Sullivan
  • Michael Culligan

Joined by two entrepreneurs:

  • Neal O’Gorman (Artomatix)
  • Myles Murray (PMD Solutions)

Innovation – Accenture-style

With the launch of their Centre for Innovation, “The Dock”, hot off the press, what is Accenture’s strategy and structure around Innovation and what role does The Dock play in that?

Join Eva Maguire, designer of the internal innovation ecosystem at The Dock, to find out how they plan to make it work! 

Social Entrepreneurship: A Serious Consideration

Have you ever considered that a social enterprise may not be much different from a commercial one?

  • Emma Walshe (COO Foodcloud)
  • Kate Dobbyn (MD Seachange Foundation)
  • Sinead McCool (Enactus Ireland)
  • Gain insight into what pursuing a social enterprise entails.

Real examples of what it takes to be successful, the challenges, the supports available and how sustainability can be achieved.

BREXIT: Opportunity or Threat for Irish Entrepreneurs?

“Turning the challenge of Brexit into an opportunity: How are entrepreneurs and their representative bodies preparing for Brexit?”

A stellar panel of entrepreneurs and senior representatives from government bodies for an insightful discussion on the impact Brexit, how and what contingencies have been developed, and what the government and the entrepreneurial representative and support bodies are doing to assist with the impact it will have on the entrepreneurial community in Ireland

  • Donal Hayes, Director, Tipperary Cheese
  • Paul Byrne, CEO, Currency Fair
  • Eamonn Molloy, Assistant Secretary, Britain & NI Affairs Section, Department of the Taoiseach
  • John McGrane, Director General, British Irish Chamber of Commerce
  • Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager, Financial Services & BPO, Enterprise Ireland

To find out more about the Smurfit MBA and various MBA Clubs, click here.

MBA Entrepreneurship Club – Version 1

L-R - Sumit Chopra, Justin Keatinge, Conor Mc Mahon
L-R – Sumit Chopra, Justin Keatinge, Conor Mc Mahon

On Monday evening, the Entrepreneurship Club were lucky enough to have Justin Keatinge of Version 1 as our guest speaker. In short, Version 1 are an IT services company with €75m in revenue and Justin is the current CEO. Justin and his co-founder John Mullen established the company from home in 1996, took on their first employee and moved into an actual office in 1998. They have never looked back since, now employing over 700 people in Ireland and the UK.

Not being an IT person or all that technologically savvy, I had reservations over my interest levels prior to the event, just another tech guy speaking tech guff I thought. To my surprise, the theme of the presentation focussed on the values and principles the organisation holds sacrosanct, the growth strategy of the company and the balance required for a company to achieve such growth.

Justin began the presentation by engaging with the attendees and asking us to tell him what we hoped to get out of the night. He wrote down each of the topics we were interested in and promised to address all as best he could. I felt that this was an interesting approach, instead of rattling off a pre-rehearsed presentation, he actually cared about meeting our expectations and addressing our interests.

Version 1 have six core values which they live and die by. For the most part they are standard enough, ones you would hope to see in all medium to large organisations; honesty and integrity, excellence, drive, blah, blah, blah. What sets Version 1 apart is the fact that they really, truly believe in these values. They recruit based on them and assess employee performance against the values on a quarterly basis. Never before have I heard of a company assessing against these quarterly, they consume so many resources and costs that companies generally are not willing to dedicate. Investing in quarterly reviews shows the commitment that Version 1 have to its values. One value which I hadn’t seen in any other company was ‘No Ego’. I would think Justin scores highly in this section of his own review every quarter, he appears devoid of an ego which is an admirable quality in someone who has achieved so much.

All in all, it was an excellent night and provided valuable food for thought. Feedback from attendees ranged from ‘excellent’, ‘the best presentation of the year’, ‘thoroughly engaging’ to ‘very long’. I guess you can’t please everyone all of the time, eh Sid?

Conor Mc Mahon ~ Full-Time MBA