New Entrepreneurs and businesses out in force at the Start and Grow Enterprise Expo - Tullamore

Largest array of enterprise supports ever available in one location in one day in the Midlands

Expo to provide springboard for growth

Over 600 potential entrepreneurs and existing businesses are expected to attend the unique one day Start and Grow Enterprise Expo in Tullamore today (Friday 18 November 2011). The Expo is taking place at the Tullamore Court Hotel where a host of seminars, talks, business support exhibitors, mentoring opportunities and more will give visitors all the information they need, under one roof, to start, develop and grow their business.  Almost 80 people who pre booked, will benefit from private 1-1 mentoring at the Expo. 

The Enterprise Expo has created lots of excitement and interest from the people of Offaly, the wider Midlands and further afield in developing new ideas, developing new companies and expanding existing companies. Given the time we live in this is a very encouraging sign. 

Speaking at the Expo, Barry Egan, Director Midlands Region at Enterprise Ireland, said:

‘The Start and Grow Enterprise Expo is a unique opportunity for the people of the Midlands to access the largest array of enterprise supports and new ideas for business ever available in one location on one day in the Midlands. It is an opportunity not to be missed and it’s very encouraging to see so many people seeking to create new wealth in these challenging times’.

People who are seeking new ideas, those who have a good idea and are thinking of setting up a business, or are already in business and keen to grow and expand are coming along to the Start and Grow Enterprise Expo in Tullamore to explore these ideas further and get all the guidance, support and inspiration on how to do it. 

The Start and Grow Enterprise Expo is an initiative by Enterprise Ireland, Offaly County Enterprise Board, Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly County Council and Tullamore Chamber.  It is all about helping potential entrepreneurs and existing businesses examine all aspects of what is involved in setting up and developing their business. 

Successful entrepreneurs and business experts will share their considerable  experience and knowledge of starting up and running successful enterprises, experienced business mentors will be on hand to give individual tailored advice, and the agencies and business groups will outline the full range of supports available.

Highlights of the day include:

  • Speaking ahead of the Expo where he will deliver the Keynote Address at 12 noon  Denis O’Brien, Chairman of Digicel said:  ‘Events like the Start & Grow Enterprise Expo provide a valuable stimulus to enterprise development and the large attendance highlights that entrepreneurship is alive and well in the Midlands. Ireland has an excellent entrepreneur support eco-system and I would encourage potential entrepreneurs and those already in business not only to avail of the supports available but also to be ambitious in their plans. Irish people often underestimate what they can achieve. If I were to offer one piece of business advice it would be to focus on the demand side. Focus on the customer, not the technology’.
  • Another highlight of the day will be three themed seminars – Start a Business, Grow a Business, and Market Opportunities.  Speakers include well known entrepreneur Terry Clune of the Taxback Group – Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2009, Declan Lenahan of Europharma Concepts in Clara – Best Business Start Up in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Award in 2010, Senator Mary Ann O’Brien , founder of Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates, and John Concannon Founder of JFC Manufacturing – who recently appeared on RTE’s Secret Millionaire TV programme.
  • Sharon Buckley, Group Commercial & Supply Chain Director with the Musgrave Group will outline at the Market Opportunities Seminar supply opportunities with the Musgrave Group. Speakers from Enterprise Ireland and the National Procurement Office will highlight Opportunities for local companies in Export Markets and Public Procurement Opportunities across Ireland.
  • John Teeling, Chairman of Cooley Distillery & Midlands Gateway Chamber Ambassador 2011, Gabriel D’Arcy, CEO of Bord na Móna and Pat Gallagher, Offaly County Manager will Chair the Seminars.
    As well as talking about the practical steps, the key success factors and the potential pitfalls, and the supports available at all stages for starting and growing a business, these entrepreneurs and business experts will give a real feel for the benefits and the reality of going into business for yourself, and the sense of achievement that comes from running a successful enterprise. 
  • While Mentoringat the Expo has been booked out for the past week, up to 10 Business Advisers will be on hand at the Expo to support visitors with business development queries they may have.
  • The Expo will host an Ideas Zone where visitors can come to find an idea to start a venture or alternatively get assistance to take their own idea to the next stage of development. A specially developed process to help people find ideas and turn them into a commercial success will be launched at the Ideas Zone . The Ideas Zone, hosted by Michael Lonergan, Manager of the Midlands Innovation & Research Centre at AIT, will have specialists from 4 Ideas Development organisations on hand in addition to over 200 ideas for starting a venture. 100 of these ideas, based on technologies developed at Irish 3rd level colleges, and never seen in public before, will be on show.

Speaking about the supports and advice available for entrepreneurs and businesses, Sean Ryan, CEO Offaly County Enterprise Board, said:

‘Offaly County Enterprise Board, Offaly Local Development Company, and Enterprise Ireland are among the agencies that will be on hand during the Expo to outline the range of supports available to entrepreneurs who want to develop new companies. There is an excellent range of supports now available to potential entrepreneurs in Ireland that helps reduce the risk of starting a new venture’.

To find out more about the Start and Grow Enterprise Expo visit:


For further information contact:

Neil Kelly
Enterprise Ireland

Neil Kelly
+353 86 2618934

About Start and Grow – Enterprise Expo

The Start and Grow Enterprise Expo offers visitors the opportunity to

  • meet 35 public & private organisations that support enterprise in one location on one day
  • learn from some of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs & business people through 3 x 1 hour seminars during the day and a Keynote Address from Denis O’Brien
  • receive confidential 1-1 mentoring and business advice
  • explore new ideas in a unique ‘ Ideas Zone’ which will be full of new ideas for new ventures

The total focus of the Expo is to support potential entrepreneurs, early stage businesses, people looking for new ideas for new ventures and spark further growth among existing businesses in the wider Midlands Region.