The first evening was opened by Eileen Bentley, Entrepreneurship Manager at Bord Bia and Kevin Tuck, Managing Director of Alltech, who spoke on innovation within Alltech, their story of growth to a billion dollar company and key learnings they made along the way, including some of the mistakes!
Ten SMEs including representatives from FitzScientific, AgriNet, Kingswood Computing and Ezy Technology heard Kevin Tuck, Managing Director of Alltech give a detailed presentation on AllTech’s growth to a €1 billion company, and how its relentless focus on innovation and R&D has enabled it to continue growing.
The final talk took place on Tuesday November 25th and focused on the engineering industry of the town. Dan Mullan from the Millmount Museum spoke on Grendon’s Foundry and Stuart Carolan of Cisco Engineering Ltd on their story of building an engineering business in Drogheda. Grendon’s Foundry once employed 600 people at Drogheda Docks which produced diverse products including steam train engines, canal ships, and bridges (including the obelisk at Oldbridge).
Cisco Engineering is about to celebrate 40 years of business in Drogheda. During this time Cisco has satisfied the needs of local major industry, including Irish Cement, Premier Periclase, Indaver Ireland and to the wider area including New Boliden Tara Mines, TEGA Industries (India) and BW Volund (Denmark).
The range of activities of Cisco extends to the provision of stainless steel and aluminium, structural steel for new buildings, installation of plant for existing ones, alteration work to structures internally in factories, and Factory Maintenance for companies such as Tara Mines, Indaver and Irish Cement.
Cisco Engineering has been involved in many projects in the Louth area, including the Boyne Cable Bridge, Laurence Shopping Centre, and construction of the M1 Motorway.
On November 13th, Dr Conor MacCormack of Mcor Technologies visited The Mill Drogheda Enterprise Centre to talk about the company and the future of 3D printing. Frank Gallagher, the Drogheda Historian, joined Dr. MacCormack at the event to talk about Drogheda’s rich past in relation to the printing sector. Drogheda has a strong tradition of printing over the past two centuries, and still includes a number of the largest printing firms in Ireland.
Mcor Technologies, the locally-based 3D Printer company, lead a fascinating talk at ‘Innovate Drogheda: Printing’ on the opportunities available in 3D printing and how it is applied in a number of sectors including Engineering, Medical Devices, Aerospace, Construction, and Design.
Local historian, Frank Gallagher, spoke on how the printing industry was the original source of the ‘knowledge-based economy’ as it gave ordinary citizens the opportunity to educate themselves. This line of thought is easily extended to the current focus on new use of technology (including 3D), and how it is critical that Irish people, young and old, are ‘literate’ in the use of technology in order to develop a prospering economy. Drogheda has a proud tradition of printing, going back to the late 17th century, and the emergence of Mcor Technologies as one of the leading global 3D printer companies reflects the renewed focus on expanding the knowledge-based economy in the region.
On 16th of October, Andrew Workman of Dunany Flour spoke on the development of the company and the types of grain he grows on the farm, while Liam Reilly from the Drogheda Millmount Museum highlighted the “McCann’s Irish Oatmeal” establishment history at Beamond.
The first event, which focused on the Brewing/Distilling industry, took place on 2nd of October. The evening started with a short talk given by Brendan Matthews, a local historian, who paid particular attention to the history of the Cairnes Brewery.
Geoff Fitzpatrick, the founder of the “Jack Cody Brewery” in Drogheda, presented his new business which opened in August 2014 in the Boyne Business Park in Greenhills. The guests were able to taste locally brewed beer and purchase the new product from the newly-established entrepreneurs.
This is the final week of workshops for IgnYte 1. How quickly the last 6 weeks have passed. It has been a learning experience for all concerned. Mentoring activity will continue for several more weeks.
Now we are in recruitment mode for IgnYte 2. We hope to commence this 2nd edition of IgnYte shortly. So please spread the word.
Week 4 of IgnYte started with an unforgettable experience. At very short notice & prompted by Shane of DP, we all went to see the documentary film ‘Unbreakable’ – all about the amazing life (so far) of Mark Pollock.
Mark is totally blind since his late teens & paralysed from the waist down following a tragic accident over 4 years ago. He is determined to walk again & I have no doubt but that like every other goal in his life to date – he will succeed.
The big bonus after the film was the appearance in person of Mark at the Droichead Arts Theatre along with his totally supportive partner Simone. They engaged in a very open Q&A session lasting over 45 minutes. This was an incredible privilege & a night never to be forgotten.
The postscript was equally surreal.
The RTE news the following morning detailed how an operation in Poland had resulted in a Bulgarian man, paralysed for years, recovering his ability to walk following the transfer of nerves from his nose to his spine!!
Never say Never.
IgnYte – the amazing Youth Enterprise Development Programme run by the Mill will commence on Wednesday 12th November.
Places strictly limited – so get your application in asap!
Further details & application form available at www.themilldrogheda.ie
We are now half way through the 6 week Workshop stage. Time has flown. Participants were asked last week to reflect on IgnYte. The following are some of their comments:
‘Friendly atmosphere in which to learn’
‘Open space in which to share creative ideas’
‘Great experience to learn from others’
‘Fun uplifting & inspiring’
Paul & Stephanie from Development Perspectives also sought feedback on ‘Methods Used, The Trainers, What’s Missing & Something Else’. I will share the participants comments with you in a later blog.
I have decided to hold a 1:1 meeting with each participant before allocating a Mentor. This is to ensure that I fully appreciate their needs at this point in time. These meeting will take place w/c 20th October (week 4). I am being assisted by Miriam who has loads of experience of working with young people.
On Monday the 29th of September the first edition of IgnYte began. Shane, Paul & Stephanie from Development Perspectives (DP) were early arrivals in the Mill to greet Mary, Meggan, Sophia & Lyndsey. Jamie & Christina would join the group later that week. Naturally all of the participants were nervous as they were unsure of what lay ahead. The same could be said of DP & myself. We need not have worried as Shane led the group through a series of ice–breakers. What struck me most about the group was their immediate openness & honesty. Questions were answered with a directness that was refreshing beyond belief.
Over the next 18 workshops (spread over 6 weeks) all 6 participants will be brought through a structured programme which will help them to identify their talents & passions, ideas for an enterprise & evaluation of their business ideas. A Mentor will be assigned after week 3. The person assigned will act as both a Buddy & a Business Mentor. A panel of volunteer Mentors has already been established .
I am very pleased with the experiential learning approach adopted by DP. It is delivered with sensitivity & good humour. Well done Shane, Paul & Stephanie!
Back Row: Sophia, Jamie, Sean, Christina
Front Row: Mary, Shane, Stephanie, Megan, Lyndsey