Programme to provide SMEs with external management expertise

A new plan to help businesses capitalise on their early growth and become established firms has been launched.

The brainchild of the Beacon Initiative, which is a partnership between Cork Institute of Technology, Cork County Council and the Enterprise Boards, the Grow Programme is designed to provide external management expertise to help small and medium enterprises increase their turnover, profitability and staff numbers.

The Beacon Initiative is headed by entrepreneur Padraig O’Sullivan, who said that after talking to a number of SMEs he found there was a shortage of supports in place for mid-sized companies.

“We discovered that for many SMEs we visited there was a definite skillset gap. In many cases SMEs may have some core management strengths in-house, but could be lacking in some essential management skills that could take them to the next level and enhance their business,” he said. The programme will set SMEs up with a team of lead-in management consultants who can advise business owners.

Head of the Economic Development Fund at Cork County Council, Paul Sutton, said that the companies will be given a virtual management team to oversee decisions.

“We developed this programme whereby we will be offering qualifying SMEs a virtual management team made up of leading consultants who have vast industry experience in diverse areas both nationally and internationally.

“Our carefully chosen virtual team can bring this vital expertise to businesses across the county and help them reach the next level by fulfilling their full potential,” he said.

One business that has benefited is Digital Documents, a Youghal-based document processing business. The company chief executive Ger Morgan said that they had made international contacts through the programme.

“Through the Beacon Initiative we were able to work with a marketing consultant with international experience and contacts who was able to open us up to new international markets.

“It would have taken us years to build up these contacts ourselves, and having the Beacon Initiative working with us, gave us the additional confidence and expertise to look outside our own borders for new business,” he said. Source: Irish Examiner.