Former BBC ‘Dragons’ Den’ star Doug Richard is calling on the Government to deliver a plan for entrepreneurs as significant to Ireland as the post-war Marshall Plan was to Europe.
Speaking in Donegal today, Richard claims Ireland needs a four-point plan, as follows:
- Get support – The Irish Government needs to set entrepreneurship as a national priority or risk squandering a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic growth
- Get financed – Ireland’s entrepreneurs should not have to rely on ‘toxic lending’. Instead, government should develop an ‘Entrepreneur Bank’, dedicated to providing cost-effective finance to small and medium businesses
- Get organised – ‘The Entrepreneurs Union’ – gather a modern-day collective of entrepreneurs, giving small business owners an audible voice to affect change
- Get online – the rollout of superfast broadband is crucial, holding the connective power to be as revolutionary to Irish small and medium businesses as the railroads.
Richard, who is founder of the School for Startups in the UK, argues that with Government support and strong organisation, Donegal could experience a renaissance of start-up businesses that would be vital in building the economic strength of the region.
“Donegal is an example of where Ireland needs to kick-start its economic fight back. There is no doubt there is the potential to stimulate entrepreneurs and create an upsurge in small businesses but this requires focus, new skills and a new commitment to economic recovery through enterprise-led initiative,” he said.
“Data supports the fact that Ireland has a great entrepreneurial potential. If the histories of recessions show one thing, it is that economic growth, rather than cuts, ultimately save the day. That means focus; that means entrepreneurs.”
Richard will be speaking at his ‘Start Here! Starting and Growing a Successful Business’ event, hosted by the Donegal County Enterprise Board at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology.