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Crossmolina’s ‘Apprentice’ star launches new business

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Enda Kenny and Noel Rowland
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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and TV3 series The Apprentice runner-up Noel Rowland pictured at the official launch of Mr Rowland’s new company last week.?Pic: Paul Sherwood

Crossmolina ‘Apprentice’ star builds for future



Trevor Quinn

At the end of a week in which TV viewers saw him finishing as runner-up in the popular TV3 series The Apprentice, Crossmolina man Noel Rowland launched the new company which was showcased to viewers in the final episode of the series.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially launched external insulation company RetroFit Technologies late last week. Retrofit specialises in providing external wall insulation to the domestic market, an area that has seen huge growth over the last few years.
The former carpenter and Sligo IT student founded Churchfield Construction in 2006 while in 2008 he started up Churchfield Green Energy, a business he has expanded in an extremely tough trading environment so he believes he has the experience and the vision to make RetroFit Technologies a success.
Despite not winning the €200,000 investment from entrepreneur Bill Cullen on The Apprentice, Mr Rowland feels he has learned an incredible amount from the series.
“It was the best decision I made all year to go on the show,” he told The Mayo News. “It was a hugely beneficial experience. Unlike some of the candidates the investment was not everything to me as I had an existing business but what I learned along the way, particularly in the areas of sales and marketing, was invaluable. You’re working with people from completely different types of backgrounds. I’d say I learnt in two days what it would normally have taken me four months to learn on a business course.”
Despite receiving much-acclaim for his confident presentation on RetroFit Technologies during the final show of the TV3 hit show in ‘The Apprentice’ the candid managing director admitted that he usually shuns the limelight.
Rowland said there was a considerable amount of surprise from his family and friends when he applied for the television show in which he competed against fifteen accomplished challengers in a highly competitive and pressurised environment.
One morning after a night out he came across a notice online looking for prospective candidates and he said it was literally a spur of the moment decision to apply to be a part of the renowned television series.
“At home in Crossmolina I wouldn’t usually be the type that would stand up at Mass and do a prayer of the faithful, so to stand up in front of 60 of the most prominent business people in the country was a challenge.”
The final was filmed at the beginning of August so keeping quiet about the result of the show in the intervening months as it aired on television was also a huge obstacle according to Rowland. However he added that the support from Crossmolina was fantastic.
“Every time I would go home people were asking me how it went. One friend came up to me and said there were three rumours recently. The first he said was that I didn’t make the final, the second was that I did but I came second, and the third was that I won it. I just learnt to nod my head all the time when anybody asked me about it.”
Rowland said that the Taoiseach was also very engaged and interested in the benefits of the product. After the launch Rowland said he was invited by the Taoiseach to speak to members of the Oireachtas about the challenges of setting up a new business. At the meeting Rowland highlighted registration and accountancy issues as potential stumbling blocks.
For more details or to find an installer in your area log onto www.retrofittech.ie