This is a small sample of the pictures taken at the First-Step Micro Enterprise Network Celebration Event on the 19th of December last. Congrats to all the participants and all our category winners.
First Step networking events were characterised by a sense of shared effort, dynamism, and enthusiasm on the part of all mentors, facilitators, guest speakers and participants alike. On the basis of the feedback from my participants and evidence of their committed participation, this has been a very successful programme. It has met real needs and has empowered entrepreneurs to translate their business ideas into the early stage development of micro-enterprises. As lead mentor for 60 participants I believe we have stimulated the development of successful small businesses - which are the lifeblood of Irish entrepreneurial life and contribute significantly to employment in this country.
Ireland's microbusinesses and non-profit sector will benefit from two new initiatives recently launched by the MBA Association of Ireland, in partnership with First-Step and Boardmatch Ireland.
The MBA Association, which represents business people holding the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) qualification in Ireland, announced its plans to match the skills, expertise and experience of MBAs to the needs of start up businesses through the First Step programme and to non-profit sector boards through the Boardmatch Ireland programme.
MBAs work at every level of management in Ireland and across all business sectors. The MBA is the highest level general business qualification in Ireland and is well respected internationally.
The MBA Association/First-Step Initiative will allow companies supported by First-Step to avail of the business experience and expertise of MBA business leaders in a mentoring arrangement. "Many start-up companies have expertise in making or selling a product or service but perhaps don't have general management skills." Liam Fennelly, President of the MBA Association of Ireland explains. "In that context, the broad suite of business skills MBAs can bring to start up companies - financial, marketing and operational experience – should be invaluable."
Norma Smurfit, Chairperson of First-Step, commented "First-Step has developed an innovative lending model to financing start-up and developing enterprises in Ireland designed to help support micro-entrepreneurs and contribute to job creation and protect job losses. Understandably there has been a strong demand for mentoring from such business start-ups. First-Step is delighted to be part of the new MBA Association initiative and the opportunity it presents for its clients to benefit from the business experience and expertise of MBA leaders in a mentoring arrangement."