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News : Innovation Last Updated: May 31, 2011 - 7:57 AM


Think Ireland Inc: Ireland to participate in November's Global Entrepreneurship Week for first time
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
May 30, 2011 - 7:10 AM

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Think Ireland Inc: Ireland is to participate in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week for first time, in the week November 14-20, 2011.

Finfacts reported on May 12 on the announcement of this year's Global Entrepreneurship Week by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the leading US entrepreneurship think-tank, which will have the goal of spurring new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation through local, national and global activities.

We said students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and others will participate in wide-ranging activities that include virtual and face-to-face events, large-scale competitions and intimate networking gatherings.

We also noted that 103 countries would participate but Ireland was not included.

Last week the FTWealth magazine that was distributed with the Financial Times newspaper, had a 16-page promotional insert from a new group Think Ireland Inc, which is termed  a 'movement of creative and innovative leaders.'

The group appears to be the inspiration of the Michael Smurfit Business School but provides no transparency on who is running it or on its funding.

The patron is Dr Michael WJ Smurfit.

The FTWealth insert has contributions from "influential Irish and international business leaders, entrepreneurs and academics, about opportunities in Ireland and connecting to the world in helping to rebuild Ireland’s economy, with a message that Ireland is ‘Open for Business’ and how entrepreneurship can be a key driver of Ireland’s economic success."

Of the 11 contributors on entrepreneurship, there are 2 from entrepreneurs - -  Paul Kerley, founder of Norkom, which was acquired by BAE Systems, the UK defence giant, last January; John Drew, founder and President of The Drew Company, a Boston-based real estate management and development company.

There are 7 from academics: Prof Frank Roche of the Michael Smurfit Business School, UCD; Prof Richard Harrison, Director, Queen's University Management School, Belfast; Dr Frank Devitt Head, Dept of Design & Innovation, School of Business, NUI Maynooth; Prof Willie Golden Dean, College of Business, Public Policy & Law, NUI, Galway; Prof Donal Dineen Dean, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick; Prof Brian Norton President, Dublin Institute of Technology; Prof Brian MacCraith President, Dublin City University.

Among others are John Mullins, CEO of state company Bord Gáis; Mike McKerr, head of Ernst & Young Ireland, a unit of the Big 4 accounting firm; Paul Donovan CEO of Eircom; Chris Martin CEO of the Musgrave Group, Tom Arnold CEO of relief agency, Concern Worldwide; Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest Northern Ireland and John Travers, Director General Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the State agency responsible for funding science projects.

Travers retired on a pension from the public service in 2002 after a full-work career there and returned to take charge of the  SFI last year. He is on the board of Ireland's National Competitiveness Council and the Michael Smurfit Business School.

The FT insert refers to 'Ireland's new mindset' but do we have one?

While academics can have a lot of worthy things to say, it's rare to find one with a direct experience of typical real world entrepreneurship i.e. without a safety net.

Most of the contributors in the FT insert were of the faces of the comfortable from the old Ireland of the Celtic Tiger and for example, as experienced as John Travers maybe, why has the main State science agency to call an individual back from retirement, to run it?

As for a new 'mindset,' why not start with transparency on Think Ireland Inc? What companies are funding it?

As an entrepreneur, I endorse hope but let's see more space for the hope and change that will have to come from the young people of Ireland.

SEE also:

Obama's message for Ireland and entrepreneurs of gloom: Is féidir linn

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