Posted tagged ‘Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship’

From the Ryan Academy

October 7, 2010

Gordon McConnell, Director of Programmes at the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, writes:

Currently the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship is buzzing with the development of our Business Innovation Programme, which is a Labour Market Activation Fund programme aimed at two groups. The first consists of those who are professionals who have fallen foul of the downturn (architects, engineering, legal and financial people, for example) and who don’t want to start from scratch with education. They have an an already acquired set of skills and we can build on that through a mixture of accredited (Level 8 Award in Innovation from Dublin City University) new product development and related subjects as well as non-accredited (modules on specific subjects from country market information to personal ‘soft’ skills).

The second group is the Irish SME sector, which would love to do more new product development and innovation but often doesn’t have access to the skills or money for this. So by developing a specific seven month programme involving intense teaching and placements in these companies we can do our bit for economic development and help solve the issues the recession has presented us with.

The programme is free for the companies, and eligible participants get to keep their social welfare payments. For more details for potential participants or companies contact Anne-Marie Scott at 01 7006764 or More information is available on the Ryan Academy blog:


Social enterprise

November 3, 2009

There is now a widespread awareness that we need more entrepreneurship to get us out of the recession. But perhaps one aspect of entrepreneurship that does not always get sufficient mention is its ability to pull people out of deprivation and poverty. According to Gordon McConnell of DCU’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship (which itself is developing programmes and initiatives in this area), in the UK 70,000 jobs are provided by social entrepreneurship.

Social enterprise needs coordinated support. The University Network for Social Entrepreneurship provides information on best practice for members in 70 countries. In Ireland  we need to raise awareness of the need to achieve economic growth in a balanced way through business development that can in particular benefit disadvantaged communities; away a little from the emphasis on welfare, focusing instead on the potential of self-help through business development. Universities have a major opportunity to drive this agenda, through targeted programmes and actions supporting regeneration. The Ryan Academy’s Social Enterprise Development Programme is a good start.

Being enterprising

September 10, 2009

Once a year the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) publishes country reports, setting out the rate at which new businesses are started, the number of serial entrepreneurs, the sense of confidence amongst entrepreneurs, and so forth. The most recent published report is for the year 2008. I might add as an aside that the report was co-written and published in DCU’s Business School.

The snapshot of entrepreneurship that the report presents is an interesting one, as it shows that Ireland performs rather well. It shows that 13.3 per cent of the Irish population have started their own business, a high figure by international standards. Furthermore, the survey revealed that even as the economic downturn was starting to kick in the rate of start-ups did not decline (though the confidence of the entrepreneurs did, a little).  Interestingly, the rate of start-ups in Ireland is significantly higher than across the EU, and only marginally lower than in the United States.

All of this is hugely important for Ireland as we try to find a way out of recession. What is perhaps missing, despite all the entrepreneurial activity, is a widely perceived culture of enterprise. Too often society’s role models are the professionals, or public servants, or people in safe jobs. We have not yet managed to see the enterprising risk-takers as the white knights of economic regeneration, and this is becoming increasingly important.

DCU has been toying with all this for a while, partly through the development of the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, established with the support of the family of the late Tony Ryan. In due course I am hoping that we will make entrepreneurship an option available to all students. And I really hope that this will catch on elsewhere also. We find that we are a country with a major ability to be entrepreneurial; we need to make such activity perceived as heroic and noble. Our future is tied up with that.