Start-up Advice: Maurice Healy, The Healy Group

13 May 2016

Maurice Healy is the CEO of the Healy Group, as well as a co-investor in the seed fund of the Skibbereen-based Ludgate Hub.

Maurice Healy is also the founder of the Healy Foundation, which he set up in 2009 and which supports numerous worthy causes in Ireland and the UK.

The Healy Group is a distributor for manufacturers of food ingredients and chemicals and it has bases in Dublin, the UK and China.

The Ludgate Hub, which Cork-native Healy is involved in, is a 10,000 sq ft hub, which aims to create jobs and promote entrepreneurship in the west Cork area.

Ludgate’s €300,000 seed fund, which is seeking applications from companies that have plans for job creation and are interested in basing themselves in the Hub, is open for applications until 20 May.

In your opinion, which areas of technology hold the greatest scope for opportunities?

There are so many areas for huge opportunities in technology but what I’ve been seen lately is an increased number of new food and beverage and education companies coming online. Both are traditionally seen as offline markets, which has led to some great innovations in these areas. It’s a simple theory, but finding a new market provides the best scope for opportunity.

Are good entrepreneurs born or can they be made?

I do believe entrepreneurs are born, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is born with that trait will be a successful entrepreneur, and that someone who isn’t can’t be a big success. It’s not as black and white as that, when it comes to business, there is always room for a little grey area.

What are the qualities of a good founder?

A good founder or business owner can rely on many different things and, again, it will differ for everyone but, for myself, I think confidence in your business idea, the courage to take the risk involved, the drive to never stop believing, and working hard to succeed and, one that is a little different, a social responsibility to your staff and people that will be effected by your business – be a strong, positive and driven founder but an honest and fair one too.

What does a successful entrepreneur need to do every day?

The main thing is to always have your day planned out. Make sure you know what you are doing and when you are doing it (also, why you are doing it). Also, make sure your team knows what it is doing. Success in business is always based on growth, so always be thinking how you can grow your business. That should be a continuous thing.

What resources and tools are an absolute must for your arsenal?

Again, this will differ depending on your business and its market but you should always have access to your customers. We are in the food industry, so we must have great suppliers – be able to build excellent relationships with suppliers – access to our market, and the ability to drive both sides while always having a good hold of accounts, too.

‘Don’t be afraid of failure, but use it as a driver to succeed, and never be afraid to seek advice and support’

How do you assemble a good team?

When you are starting out it is so important that you have people who believe in your project and are willing help drive your business with you. Hire the people who will help you in the areas that you fall down in.

What is the critical ingredient to start-up success?

Confidence, courage, drive, support, and, sometimes, a little rub of the green never hurts.

What are the biggest mistakes that founders make?

Not being fully prepared. You need to know your market, competitors, customers, everything, inside out. Bringing in the wrong people at the start can also can be a mistake.

Who is your business hero and why?

This would have to be my mother. She ran a very successful B&B in Skibbereen on her own with nine kids. Although, growing up, we would help, it was her drive and hard work that I really admired and that gave me the right fundamentals for me to succeed.

Whats the No 1 piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid of failure, but use it as a driver to succeed, and never be afraid to seek advice and support, there are always people who have been there and done it and their advice can only be of benefit.