Industry & Business

What are the Pillars of SME Success? Diversity, Leadership, Strategy and The Team

 Breaking News
  • Sisk Reports Strong Performance For 2018 Sicon Limited, which is the holding company for Sisk’s construction and construction related activities in Ireland, the United Kingdom and a number of international markets, has reported a 24% increase in turnover to just under €1.2 billion and a pre-tax profit of €28.3 million for the year ended 31 December 2018. Over 97% of the [...]...
  • Ireland’s Most Energy Efficient Residential and Commercial Building Projects Honoured at 2019 ISOVER Awards Simply Architecture, and their new build residential project – ‘The Fairways’ in Cork – has been named the winner of the 2019 Overall ISOVER Award, as well as Designer of the Year 2019, at the third ISOVER Awards. The awards ceremony, which took place recently at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, saw over 100 [...]...
  • Premium Products and Value Prices a Hit With Grocery Shoppers The latest figures from Kantar show that overall the Irish grocery market grew by 4.2% over the 12 weeks to 19 May 2019, with Dunnes Stores holding off the challenge of Tesco and retaining pole position. Respective growth of 12.6% and 5.9% for Aldi and Lidl means that the retailers’ combined grocery market share stands [...]...
  • Strencom Acquires Leading Irish Security Company Baker Security & Networks Strencom, the Irish managed connectivity and cloud computing provider, has acquired managed network and cybersecurity company, Baker Security & Networks. The deal will bolster Strencom’s security and networking offering and further the company’s ambition to achieve annual recurring revenue of €50 million. Established in 2000, Strencom provides managed connectivity, unified communications and managed cloud hosting services to [...]...
  • New Report on Customer Experience Sector in Ireland IDA Ireland has launched a new report detailing the extent to which 5,000 jobs in the Customer Experience (Cx) sector in Ireland will be affected by technological and generational forces over the coming years. The document sets out a vision for Irish operators in the Cx sector that urges them to remain competitive by focusing [...]...

What are the Pillars of SME Success? Diversity, Leadership, Strategy and The Team

What are the Pillars of SME Success? Diversity, Leadership, Strategy and The Team
May 14
09:00 2018

The second annual Skillnet Ireland SME Research Conference took place recently in Dublin. Hosted by Skillnet Ireland in partnership with the College of Business in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the annual conference seeks to strengthen the Irish SME sector through the adoption of the latest evidence-based research.

The conference heard contributions from leading business academics from across Ireland and the UK who presented the latest research on subjects such as diversity, growth, strategy, and management development. The aim of this research is to help SMEs improve their bottom line and drive growth in their businesses.

Speaking at the conference, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland, said: “In their most recent country report for Ireland, the OECD highlighted a growing divergence between the productivity of indigenous Irish companies (primarily SMEs) and the multinational operations that are based here. The report observes that there is an opportunity cost also in play here, in that indigenous SMEs are not tapping into the value chains and opportunities that are presented by having such large multi nationals on their doorstep.  The OECD have also noted that the low uptake in lifelong learning and management development amongst Irish SMEs as a causal factor in this divergence of productivity”.

Healy added: “Building a culture of lifelong learning in SMEs, and encouraging a greater uptake of management development training by SME owner managers is a considerable challenge that needs a sustained response both a policy level, and by the firms themselves. Skillnet Ireland are making great strides in this space – 15,000 private firms availed of Skillnet Ireland funded training in 2017, 85% of which were SMEs.  Skillnet Ireland also offer a bespoke subsidised Management Development programme for SME owner- managers, supporting over 800 owner-managers each year”.

Delegates at the conference heard from Professor Dylan Jones Evans, of the University of South Wales and founder of the Wales Fast Growth 50, an awards programme for the fastest growing 50 firms in Wales. In the last two years firms participating in Wales Fast Growth 50 have generated £268 million of additional sales at an average growth rate of 163 per cent. Evans stated at the conference “that the leaders of fast growing companies all share a clear vision for the future, they know how to build a team and they commit to success through change and innovation.”

Professor in Entrepreneurship at DIT, Thomas Cooney, presented the results of his research on the Entrepreneurial Team. Professor Cooney, challenges the notion of the entrepreneur as a ‘lone hero’ but rather a successful entrepreneur is part of or builds a team around themselves.

The conference also addressed the issue of diversity in entrepreneurship. Professor Maura McAdam, an internationally recognized scholar of entrepreneurship with a particular expertise in gender, shared insights from the Boston Consulting Group that indicate iwomen and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by $1.5 trillion. McAdam asked delegates to challenge normative standards and reflect on unconscious biases in the workplace.

Delegates also heard from Professor James Cunningham, from Northumbria University, on how businesses can learn from failure and how business leadership can prepare for it.

The research presented at the conference has a valuable impact for business and can improve their bottom line when applied in the right way. The conference, which was facilitated by Skillnet Ireland, is the next step in a collaborative process between Skillnet Ireland and DIT that aims to bring valuable research and practical implementation together.

“We are delighted to be part of this conference and to have the opportunity to bring research to the very people who can benefit from it” said Dr Katrina Lawlor, Director and Dean, College of Business at DIT. “Skillnet Ireland have enormous experience working with SMEs and enabling them to release their true potential and through this collaboration the very latest research can be used to benefit the sector. Universities across Ireland carry out work that is internationally recognised but all too often the people in the SME sector do not have the opportunity to avail of it. We want to change that.”


Pictured left to right: Thomas Cooney, Professor in Entrepreneurship at DIT; Lorcán Ó hÓbáin, Skillnet Ireland; Professor Dylan Jones Evans, of the University of South Wales and founder of the Wales Fast Growth 50; Paul Healy, CEO of Skillnet Ireland; Dr. Katrina Lawlor, Director and Dean, College of Business at DIT; Professor James Cunningham, Northumbria University and Paul O’Reilly, Head of Department of Management Studies at DIT.

About Author



Related Articles

New Subscriber

Subscribe Here


National Manufacturing Conference & Exhibition 2018

NIBRT Springboard Success Stories

Upcoming Events

  • No upcoming events
AEC v1.0.4