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‘Spirit of Entrepreneurship’ kindled

Enda Kenny visits GMIT
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny being welcomed to GMIT’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship evening by, from left: Dr Barbara Burns, Head of Centre GMIT, Castlebar; Bernard O’Hara, former registrar of GMIT; Frank Salmon, CMS Peripherals; Michael Carmody, President GMIT , An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Maria Staunton, Manager, Innovation Centre Castlebar; George McCourt, GMIT Innovation Centre Galway and  Seamus Bree, Enterprise Ireland.?Pic: Ken Wright

Kenny and Gallagher encourage entrepreneurship

Michael McHale

MAYO business people have an ‘open door’ into the Taoiseach’s office if they have a credible proposal to deal with the jobs crisis.
Enda Kenny made the comment as he addressed around 400 people at the annual ‘Spirit of Entrepreneurship’ event in Castlebar’s GMIT campus last week. The seminar was held in St Mary’s Hall on the first night of this year’s Mayo Ideas Week, which ran from Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 23.
“I lead a Government and I’m happy to say to you that you’ve an open door in making contact about credible, workable proposals that will lead to more of our people having the opportunity to create, innovate, manufacture and put people back to work,” the Taoiseach told the crowd.
He also mentioned proposals to set up a partial loan guarantee scheme for small and medium businesses and a micro-finance plan for small traders, first revealed in the Government’s  Jobs Initiative last May, which will be introduced this winter.
“There were some questions being asked about Ireland’s position so far as its 12.5 percent corporation tax is concerned – they’re now dealt with.
“American businesses in particular like clarity and incisiveness on the horizon, and ‘no more messing’. And we’ve got that opportunity to continue to grow there,” he added, hinting that there may soon be “many decisions that will be made over the next period that may well benefit Ireland”.
“This can be the best small country in the world to do business. There is nothing to stop our people when we put our minds to it. We open the doors to our own potential.”
This was the fifth year the GMIT’s Innovation in Business Centre had hosted the ‘Spirit of Entrepreneurship’ event. Speakers also included presidential candidate and ‘Dragon Den’ panelist Sean Gallagher, who spoke about what investors look for in a promoter and pitch, and Ciaran Crean, co-founder of micksgarage.ie, who discussed selling car parts online and how his website company has grown.
The Innovation Centre’s client companies also got the opportunity to showcase their products and services to an interested audience.
Earlier the Taoiseach spoke at the Mayo Volunteer Centre’s ‘Volunteer Expose’, which highlighted the work of 34 different volunteer groups around the county.
Deputy Kenny paid tribute to the centre and those involved, adding that “without any question or doubt we cannot manage as a nation and as a people without volunteers, now, more so than ever”.
He added: “This is a very complex and challenging time that we live in… internationally there’s a fluctuation of crises from one day to the next.
“But they’re all looking at Ireland as a country that can emerge from this as one of the first to do so, and it’s going to do so by virtue of the fact that there’s so many people who volunteer to give up their time and their commitment free of charge for the cause they believe in and the people that they love. “
The local volunteer centre has been running in North Mayo for the past five years, but was rolled out across the county 18 months ago. It is one of 22 centres set up around the country, all affiliated with Volunteer Ireland.
Also speaking at the event, Volunteer Ireland CEO Dr Yvonne McKenna encouraged everyone to get involved on The National Day of Volunteering, which takes place this Friday, September 30. This year has also been designated as the European Year of Volunteering.
“As a country we should support, encourage and empower people to volunteer because it’s an important means by which we can be defined and build a better Ireland,” Dr McKenna said.