Building Your Business
PLATO EBR Reflections on Border Bizcamp 2013

10 June 2013

As we enter the fifth year of the Recession, Border Bizcamp 2013 was a truly enlightening event for any small business with growth aspirations! With over 200 registered from 16 counties of Ireland (excluding 22 Speakers) and circa 150 showing up on one of the hottest days of our Irish summer so far, instead of going to the beach, the Border Bizcampers for the second year running must be doing something right. But let’s hear from a small few of those that attended (Disclaimer - the following is unsolicited):

“very well done to…the team for a fantastic day once again...They just keep getting better and better. Hope it's not another year before I see the team again!” CJ McAleavey (specialises in iPad and iPhone training)

“Thanks again for letting me know about today’s event in the first place; getting the buzz of positivity is so important at the moment; Coupled with the message that resilience works, I really have come away energised.”    Stephen Salley (Architect)

“My job is really event management for teachers and kids events so I totally admire the way the event was run today” Bernard Kirk (Mr Lego)

The 2013 event focused on various themes of technology, invention, enterprise and business recovery – see the Border Bizcamp 2013 Booklet below for more information. In the coming months many of us will be faced with even more challenges to our businesses so here are just a few snippets by way of reflection for our PLATO EBR participant companies.


Paula Clarke aka ‘the Potentialist’ reiterated what some other speakers had said “watch your language”. We shouldn’t criticize ourselves especially not in front of our clients or employees – if you say it enough you will believe it! Celebrate the good things and let the bad things go. Challenge yourself (write it down if it helps) – being positive in business is not about living in ‘Polyanna world’ but in the real world. Expect good things and they will happen, perhaps as entrepreneurial individuals we need to emotionally spring clean?

Kate Marshall amongst other things talked about the importance of attitude in creating opportunities for your business, whether you are large or small. Motivation is crucial but we need to be politically savvy too. Kate also talked about the importance of looking after your mind something which Shane Martin from Mood Watchers discussed in a most entertaining way depicting ‘the villager’s psyche’. Shane made the distinct connection between the health of our minds (importance of brain chemicals) and our ability to make businesses decisions.

Moving to a different topic, Enda McShane from Velocity worldwide talked about the importance of connecting with our customers through social media, in an appropriate manner, as small growth seeking small to medium-sized enterprises, using some big examples e.g. Coca Cola campaigns.

One deviation from the typical Bizcamp model was the 'Front Room' where speakers were interviewed on their topic rather than give a presentation, the idea was well-received as the Front Room was packed out. One such interviewee was Richard Moore, now Managing Director of the Linergy Ltd. (previously MD of Linden Foods). Richard talked passionately about the farming and food sector not just here but in developing countries where the audience were treated to an insight into his usually very private efforts into fundraising campaigns for the developing world. It was a major coup for PLATO EBR on the day when Richard agreed to act in a parent company capacity for the Programme.

Susan Hayes aka the Positive Economist, presented on the theme of start-up, survival and growth and gave her take on how to Get Big, Get Niche and Get Out!  George Mordaunt also conversed with the attendees on how the cash king is dead, reconnoitring his entrepreneurial journey from boom to bust to boom. George’s story is a living action of how to develop mental resilience and create a new business model when faced with the mother of all necessities. Nevin Maguire may now be a huge celebrity chef - the most watched in Ireland - but he did not shy away from the pressures of doing business in the border region by sharing his personal stories of the number of times the family business had to close over the years, how his mother adopted a different business model to survive through the thin times (outside catering) and most humorsly how he was rejected from catering college upon his first application!

A number of books were mentioned by the esteemed Speakers here are some:-

-        FLOURISHING by Maureen Gaffney Penguin books Ireland

-        The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni Jossey Bass

-        The Five Dsyfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni Jossey Bass

-        Think and Grow Rich By Napolean Hill


PLATO EBR would like to thank all the Border Bizcampers 2013 for letting us join them in their efforts to drive this exciting initiative for businesses within the East Border Region. We thank the committee for devoting time away from their businesses over many months of preparation for Border Bizcamp 2013 – watch out for the photo gallery of the event, coming soon!

During Border BizCamp 2013 Colm Colgan interviewed PLATO EBR and keynote speakers.  To watch the interviews click on the links below

Part 1: Border BizCamp 2013 Interviews

Featuring Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Feargal McCormack and Neven Maguire

Part 2: Border BizCammp 2013 Interviews 
Featuring Bernard Kirk, George Mordaunt and Paula Clarke

Border Bizcamp Booklet 2013

  • Cavan
  • Louth
  • Meath
  • Monaghon