Fine Gael Cork North West TD and member of the Oireachtas Jobs Committee, Aine Collins, has today (Tuesday) said that the report from the Entrepreneurship Forum, chaired by Sean O’Sullivan, contains practical proposals on how to boost our number of successful entrepreneurs. Deputy Collins was speaking after the former Dragon’s Den star appeared before the Jobs Committee to discuss the report’s contents.
“As a hugely successful entrepreneur, Sean O’Sullivan is in a fantastic position to advise the Government on how to boost the level of successful start-ups here. His report contains both radical and extremely practical proposals on how we can help more people to become successes in their own right.
“Speaking before the Committee, he focussed on three main areas in need of improvement; education, finance and mentoring. On the issue of education, O’Sullivan spoke of the need to introduce entrepreneurship at both national and second level school. We need to get our children thinking from an early age about how they could start their own businesses later in life.
“The O’Sullivan report includes a recommendation to develop a national mentoring network, a proposal I strongly support. Last year I published a report on the benefits of mentoring and how it can have a hugely positive impact for those getting started with new ventures. The benefits of mentoring are recognised worldwide, and indeed research shows that 80% of firms which receive mentoring prove to be successful. Peer-to-peer mentoring can have a particularly positive impact.
“Sean O’Sullivan also spoke passionately about the need to commericalise research; this effectively means that we need to be arming graduates across a wide range of disciplines with entrepreneurial skills. For example, why shouldn’t science, technology or maths students also be exposed to commercialisation as part of their college course? This will ensure smart students are equipped to turn bright ideas into business realities.
“Two-thirds of all new jobs come from start-up businesses in the first five years of their existence, so the importance of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship cannot be underestimated. I look forward to the Entrepreneurship Policy Statement, which is due to be published by the Government shortly, and I hope that many of Sean O’Sullivan’s recommendations can be included in this year’s Action Plan for Jobs.”