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International Council for Small Business – World Conference on Entrepreneurship 2014

The 59th Annual International Council for Small Business World

Conference took place in Dublin, Ireland from11-14 June 2014 at Double Tree by Hilton Dublin

Last week as part of ICSB 2014 World Entrepreneurship Conference I attended a dedicated Entrepreneurs Day on Wednesday June 11th organised by the Dublin Institute of Technology. This day was titled Standing out from the crowd; funding innovation and leadership

This event was targeted at those entrepreneurs who wish to learn first-hand how successful entrepreneurs have grown their businesses from start-ups to commercially thriving operations. The day focused on creativity, funding, leadership innovation  as well as  social media as it is applicable business.

It was a very comprehensive series of talks which included addresses from Raomal Perera on how to raise money through successful crowd funding campaigns and Nigel Newman from the DeBono Foundation encouraging lateral thinking and reimagining success by helping to release and realise creativity within organisations.

Serial entrepreneur Noelle O’Connor and Dragon’s Den star Gavin Duffy  also gave their insights into building successful businesses in Ireland

The final address of the day was given by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey who are serial entrepreneurs, industry reformers, successful brand builders, and co-founders of hugely successful Barefoot Cellars.

It was a great forum for entrepreneurs to talk practically with fellow entrepreneurs and I certainly left with a better understanding of good leadership skills, new problem solving techniques and a fresh approach to social media for success.

Thanks to the DIT for organising and I along with my fellow entrepreneurs certainly left with several new ideas that will be readily implemented.

Key words

Entrepreneurship, funding, innovation, leadership, Serial entrepreneur, crowd funding, brand, success, social media,

Related links




Further reading




Twitter handles to look at





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The Real Wolf Of Wall Street- Jordan Belfort Entrepreneurship and Innovation Seminar in Dublin

Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort

On May 27th I attended Jordan Belfort giving his seminar The Truth Behind The Success Of The Real Life Wolf Of Wall Street, in Dublin.

Jordon inspired the Hollywood blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street delivered a great talk courtesy of CollegeTimes.com including his formula for success and creating wealth.

Belfort, who had made more than $50 million by his mid-twenties and had raised over $1.5 billion in venture capital, started up multiple companies also revealed the eight skills he feels you must know for business, sales and entrepreneurial success.

The businessman’s autobiographical book, The Wolf of Wall Street became a New York Times best seller sold millions, sparking interest from Hollywood. The movie, directed by Martin Scorsese, was based on the motivational speaker’s book. It grossed over $375 million worldwide and landed lead Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar nomination.

Jordon was speaking in Dublin as he is convinced now is the “greatest time” in Ireland for start-ups to make their fortune.

“The greatest opportunities are after the cataclysm – but very few people will really take advantage of them,” he said. “Those who do it are the vulture guys – who will swoop in when things are at the bottom. “Jobs are created and wealth is created that way, so I would really try to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset,” he said.

Now, a decade after his conviction and after serving 22 months of a four-year prison sentence and being ordered to repay $110.4 million to a victims’ compensation fund, Belfort has turned his notoriety into a business as an entrepreneur

Through his company, Jordan Belfort Global, he is an author and a motivational speaker based out of Manhattan Beach, California.

Interestingly his Ex-partner Porush, has started a successful medical supply company in Florida after doing his prison sentence.

Here are some lessons from Belfort’s entrepreneurial path from his recent blog post.

  1. Listen to wise men: Belfort came up with the idea to write a book about his life from his cellmate who happened to be Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame. Chong was in prison for some entrepreneurial activity of the illegal variety: serving time for selling bongs over the internet. Chong found Belfort’s stories hilarious and urged him to write them down. Belfort read and studied Tom Wolfe classic The Bonfire of the Vanities while in jail to figure out how to write his own story.
  2. Know how to verbalize your story: Dan Alonso, a former federal prosecutor who handled Belfort’s case, was so impressed with Belfort’s speaking chops that after he got out of jail, he invited him to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where Alonso works now, to give a speech to prosecutors in that office. He also goes to dinner regularly with the FBI agent who made the case against him, who told New York magazine that Belfort “was a reprehensible” guy from a moral perspective, but today, Belfort now 51, can still entertain with his stories.
  3. Think rich: As a motivational speaker, Belfort focuses on teaching people about wealth creation. “I believe in total immersion, if you want to be rich, you have to program your mind to be rich,” he said. “You have to unlearn all the thoughts that were making you poor and replace them with new thoughts—rich thoughts.”

Further reading

Jordan Ross Belfort. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 12:52, May 30, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/jordan-belfort-21329985.



Key words

Entrepreneurship, Sales, Innovation, persuasion, communication, venture capital, wealth, success, business skills, small business owners, start ups.

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Minister Deenihan meets CEO of Asthma Society of Canada, Rob Oliphant and John McKeon CEO of Allergy Standards as Deepening business links with Canada was key focus of visit.

John McKeon, Rob Oliphant & Minister Jimmy Deenihan

John McKeon, Rob Oliphant & Minister Jimmy Deenihan

Thursday, March 14th – Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD, travelled to Toronto, Canada as part of the Government’s St Patrick’s Day programmes which involved a breakfast business meeting in downtown Toronto with key members of the Canadian business community.

This year 19 Government Ministers travelled to 21 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for a series of trade and investment focused programmes.

Whilst in Toronto, Minister Deenihan will undertake a number of engagements including an Ireland/Canada Business Event with Enterprise Ireland and a promotional event with the Irish Dairy Board. 
Exports from Ireland to Canada increased by 24% in 2012, and promoting growth in both trade, community and cultural links between Ireland and Canada (population 34 million) will be a focus of Minister Deenihan’s visit.

As part of the business breakfast event he met the CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada, Rob Oliphant and John McKeon CEO of Allergy Standards to announce the continued groeth of their strategic alliance.

Minister Deenihan will also review the Toronto St Patrick’s Day Parade and will view the greening of Niagara Falls accompanied by Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

Minister Deenihan commented “Representing Ireland abroad is a privilege and a responsibility.  Having our National Day recognised and celebrated internationally is a huge opportunity to tell a story to the world about Ireland – about our skills, about our strengths, and about our recovery. Canada and Ireland are closely linked, both in our past and in the present.

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Leadership and Self Awareness, Lunchtime Lecture by Dr Tony Humphreys

Reflections by Dr John McKeon, Serial Entrepreneur, based in TTEC

Last Friday (23 November 2012) we had a wonderful ‘lunch and learn event’ in the beautiful scholarly surroundings of the Long Room Hub, a fabulous building between the 1937 Reading Room and the Provost’s Garden. It was a wonderful crisp autumnal afternoon and every one delighted to gather in advance of the talk for food and hot drinks. After some quick hellos and exchanges of business cards the event began to fill with an excellent crowd.

Dr Tony Humphreys

Dr Tony Humphreys

In the classic Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself,” Peter Drucker wrote, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected.” Drucker called this self-reflection process feedback analysis and credited it to a 14th-century German theologian.

Even considering the above I think it is fair to say there was a little bit of cynicism in the air about how a lecture on self-awareness would be relevant to the busy group assembled. The audience represented the diverse group that makes up the Trinity Enterprise Network including members of the TCD entrepreneurial ecosystem, start up companies, teaching staff, MBA students, PhDs, undergraduate and various entrepreneurial support staff of the college including Technology Transfer Officers.

Tony opened his slides with a quote from How Leaders Become Self-Aware by Anthony K. Tjan Harvard Business Review July 19, 2012. Becoming aware of dealing with your inner core is at the centre of leadership effectiveness and development. The more acutely you are aware of it, the better you will be as a leader.”

In business and leadership there is a tendency to focus entirely on the ‘macho stuff’ like business plans, strategy and tactics. Tony would argue authentic leadership and real business toughness is often closer to the Socratic statement ‘know thy self’.

He also referred to the Plato quote “Citizens of Athens, aren’t you ashamed to care so much about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your souls you have no thought or care?” This is an alarmingly relevant quote for our recent crisis of leadership and systems failures both here and abroad.

Tony argues that without personal maturity and self awareness we develop a mindset of unconscious defensive leadership and this can result in being an ineffective team leader. Characteristics of Unconscious Defensive Leadership include avarice, bullying, cosy cartels, secretiveness and arrogance. These traits of leadership kill an atmosphere of openness and safety for knowledge workers. Clearly these leadership traits are not conducive to innovation amongst teams with dismissiveness, unavailability and unapproachability often being the order of the day.

People are like dolphins: you can’t hit them as they just swim away. Likewise financial incentive based programs will only get you so far as a leader. With the mobility of the modern workforce a true deep understanding of self first will give you the emotional maturity to understand what truly motivates your team and how to meet their needs for significance and contribution.

With personal reflection Conscious Mature Leadership is developed. Characteristics of a mature leader include accountability, authenticity, fairness, and understanding. With a conscious mature leader at the helm companies have an atmosphere of openness, encouragement, belief in opportunities and active listening. Obviously this makes a much more effective working environment for innovation, brainstorming and gives confidence to your team to develop and contribute new ideas.

It is fair to say across many sectors in society we have seen a loss of leadership and personal accountability by people hiding behind systems. Tony emphasised that these are not ‘systems failures’ as behind every system if you dig deep enough there is an individual who has to be prepared to have personal accountability. ‘Computer says no’ will not cut it going forward.

Tony closed his talk by emphasising again the simple but profound take away message that the most important principle of business management is personal maturity. If things are not going to plan with your team start by looking in the mirror. Don’t wish the problems were less, but work on becoming better yourself.

There then followed a lively Q and A with Tony running through some very practical methodologies for getting the concepts he discussed into the day to day functioning of your teams. Implementing these principles from the time of Plato and Socrates will foster innovation and creativity and an atmosphere of respect and fun. The days of command and control leadership are in the past.

Clearly any reliable strategies that can increase the speed of creativity and the power of trust in an organisation will make a very real difference to the bottom line. Perhaps the macho KPIs and targets stuff is just ‘playing office’ until we get the mature leader issue dealt with?

An open discussion along these lines with our co-workers sounds like a very good business decision rather than airy fairy stuff!

We hope to have one more lunch and learn seminar for the Trinity Enterprise Network before the end of the year so please contact us at email: ttec@tcd.ie if you would like to receive the details.

Books by Tony Humphreys

Leadership with Consciousness

Work and Self

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Royal Dublin Society Lecture by Dr. Deepak Chopra and relevance to Entrepreneurship by Dr John McKeon

Dr John McKeon and Dr. Deepak Chopra

Dr John McKeon and Dr. Deepak Chopra

Last night I was at a fascinating talk at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) by Dr. Deepak Chopra, physician, entrepreneur and author of 55 books who was invited back to Dublin by Jane Stephenson from www.Seminars.ie

The evening lecture in the wonderful RDS Concert Hall included topics based on some of his new books including Super Brain .

I have been very interested in Deepak’s work after reading his business book The Soul of Leadership, which is derived from his executive training program at the Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University. In the book, he describes “pure leadership” which is based on a need coming from followers and then from a leader standing up to address that need.

The Soul of Leadership is a clear and enlightening guide offering insight and practical steps to become an inspired leader and fulfil your vision and is a great read for all start-up entrepreneurs.

As Entrepenuer’s, whether it’s our employees or our clients we have the opportunity to serve, Deepak’s method of leadership focuses less on strategizing or putting on a role and more on finding the truest way we can serve others by being authentic and congruent.

On the evening, Deepak made clear his conviction that it is within the potential of every human being to live an enriching, self-aware, magnificent life which are all relevant themes to the mindset of entrepreneurship and value creation .

He finished the evening by defining that happiness is achieved through three things:

  1. Creating a solution for a problem which allows us to express our creativity
  2. A level of material success that makes you economically empowered beyond money
  3. Making other people happy and fulfilling our desire for appreciation and attention.

In reviewing the above it would be difficult to come up with a better definition of entrepreneurship!

I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Deepak before the event and discuss a number of topics including habit patterns for success, entrepreneurship and even golf! All his teaching are extremely relevant to early stage business and the start up phase and I look forward to meeting Deepak again next year on his return.

Why key business figures say about Depak

“Deepak Chopra opens the door for today’s leaders to access the secrets of success we all need without giving up who we are.” – Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of salesforce.com

“Deepak Chopra really gets it – true leadership begins at the spiritual level. It’s not about popularity, power or piling up profits; it’s about getting your ego out of the way so that you can serve the greater good. At a time when the world desperately needs love-based leaders, this throughout guide is a godsend.” – Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager.

About Depak

Deepak Chopra’s popularity as an international presenter and keynote speaker is exemplified in an impressive list of honorariums. He participates annually as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine event sponsored by Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 1997.

Dr Chopra is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, an Adjunct Professor at Kellogg School of Management, Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization and founder of The Chopra Foundation.

Further reading

Interview with Gay Byrne on Meaning of Life, October 2010  http://www.rte.ie/tv/meaningoflife/player.html

Useful Link

Visit: www.deepakchopra.com

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Another great workshop today with Tony Buzan that will benefit start-up entrepreneurs

John McKeon with Tony Buzan

John McKeon with Tony Buzan

Today I attended a great workshop with one of the great thinkers of our age Tony Buzan.

His basic principle of mind mapping has enormous cross over to ‘the art of sales’ as well as ‘the science of start-up’.

An outstanding speaker, Tony Buzan, is the creator of Mind Maps, the originator of the concept of Mental Literacy and author of numerous bestselling books on the brain and thinking.
He is the author of over 200 bestselling books on the brain and learning. His classic Use Both Sides of Your Brain, has sold more than two million copies world wide

Tony is a great guy and was great fun to meet and share some entrepreneurship ideas with him after the work shop.

Here are what some pretty important members of the business community are saying about Tony.

Buzan shows corporate executives how to hotwire their creative energies.”
Forbes Magazine

Tony Buzan has done it again… make your mind work better.”
Ken Blanchard, author of the multimillion bestselling book The One Minute Manager

Here are some great tips from Tony on how Mind Mapping can save you time?

One of the simplest and most effective ways to use Mind Mapping and boost your productivity is to begin each week by spending half an hour creating a Mind Map version of a to do list. This will give you a snapshot overview of your tasks that you can prioritise according to deadlines and importance. Having it laid out visually can also help you split your workload into realistic chunks of time.

1. Begin by creating a central idea with the date at the centre.

2. Add on main branches for key tasks or projects that you need to accomplish or work on that week.

3. From these main branches, draw child branches with names, events, sub-tasks, deadlines or other keywords that make up the specific actions needed to complete the bigger task.

4. Look for links between different tasks. Does one task directly impact another? Draw relationship arrows to demonstrate this.

Weekly Task Map

As you build your Mind Map you can get a clear picture of your workload and view each task objectively. You can determine what’s important and what’s not, see how certain projects will relate and impact on other tasks, and block your time to achieve optimum productivity.

The Mind Map format means you can see the whole picture in one glance, which can be invaluable when time is short. Whilst your colleagues are tearing their hair out, lost in the scribbles of their messy To Do List, you can maintain a serene air of calm and control as you know exactly what needs doing and where you are with it.

Now here’s the kicker… If you need to be completely ruthless with your time, follow on with optional steps number 5 and 6…

5. What is the main goal of your job right now? Is it to generate revenue, satisfy customers or ensure product quality? Figure out one key goal and replace the date in the centre of your map with it.

Generate Revenue

6. Review the tasks on your map. How many directly correspond to the goal in the centre?

Any tasks that will not help you achieve that goal, delete them.

It sounds brutal, and it is, but it is also a very good cleansing exercise to help you re-focus and give you more time to spend where it matters. So much time is wasted by just assuming that something has to be done; that it’s important because it is part of the routine.

Get ruthless and take courage from the knowledge that if anyone demands to know why you have decided not to do a certain report, or attend a particular meeting, you can say that you are focusing your time on something far more beneficial for the company.

Have a go at using Mind Mapping instead of your usual To Do List and try making time bend to your will for a change

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Leadership for Entrepreneurs Seminar with Robin Sharma

John McKeon & Robin Sharma - Entrepeurship Seminar

John McKeon & Robin Sharma – Entrepeurship Seminar

Today I was at a really interesting event organised by the Irish Centre for Business Excellence  at the Convention Centre, Dublin.

The event was billed as; Come and be inspired by the internationally renowned leadership expert, Robin Sharma. During this seminar the bestselling author of THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI, THE GREATNESS GUIDE and THE LEADER WHO HAD NO TITLE will give you profound insights. You will quickly come to see why when Fortune 500 organizations need a speaker with a proven track record of delivering leadership presentations that inspire, engage and deliver real business results, they go to Robin Sharma.

He is indeed a really inspiring speaker and his interactive seminar was packed with relevant points for start-up and early stage entrepreneurs. I had a lovely chat with the great man after the event and interview him on his success rituals and habit patterns. He came across as extremely sincere and was very approachable.

Here’s a synopsis of his ‘explosive productivity tips’ so you get big things done and make your life matter!

Robin Sharma’s 21 tips to get you to your best productivity:

#1. Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.

#2. Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project. Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action.

#3. Remember that big, brave goals release energy. So set them clearly and then revisit them every morning for 5 minutes.

#4. Mess creates stress (I learned this from tennis icon Andre Agassi who said he wouldn’t let anyone touch his tennis bag because if it got disorganized, he’d get distracted). So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.

#5. Sell your TV. You’re just watching other people get successful versus doing the things that will get you to your dreams.

#6. Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).

#7. Run routines. When I studied the creative lives of massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, I discovered they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.

#8. Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.

#9. Don’t do so many meetings. (I’ve trained the employees of our FORTUNE 500 clients on exactly how to do this – including having the few meetings they now do standing up – and it’s created breakthrough results for them).

#10. Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.

#11. Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within what I call “Your Picasso Zone”.

#12. Stop multi-tasking. New research confirms that all the distractions invading our lives are rewiring the way our brains work (and drop our IQ by 5 points!). Be one of the rare-air few who develops the mental and physical discipline to have a mono-maniacal focus on one thing for many hours. (It’s all about practice).

#13. Get fit like Madonna. Getting to your absolute best physical condition will create explosive energy, renew your focus and multiply your creativity.

#14. Workout 2X a day. This is just one of the little-known productivity tactics that I’ll walk you through in my new online training program YOUR PRODUCTIVITY UNLEASHED (details at the end of this post) but here’s the key: exercise is one of the greatest productivity tools in the world. So do 20 minutes first thing in the morning and then another workout around 6 or 7pm to set you up for wow in the evening.

#15. Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done.

#16. Work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to recover and refuel (another game-changing move I personally use to do my best work).

#17. Write a Stop Doing List. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.

#18. Use your commute time. If you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day – get this: at the end of a year, you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. I encourage you to use that time to listen to fantastic books on audio + excellent podcasts and valuable learning programs. Remember, the fastest way to double your income is to triple your rate of learning.

#19. Be a contrarian. Why buy your groceries at the time the store is busiest? Why go to movies on the most popular nights? Why hit the gym when the gym’s completely full? Do things at off-peak hours and you’ll save so many of them.

#20. Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.

#21. Get lost. Don’t be so available to everyone. I often spend hours at a time in the cafeteria of a university close to our headquarters. I turn off my devices and think, create, plan and write. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.

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Republic of Korea: Connecting with an Industrial Powerhouse

I attended this forum to today which was a very informative strategy session. Some great speakers with real insight.

Republic of Korea: Connecting with an Industrial Powerhouse

Date: Friday 29 June 2012

Venue: Enterprise Ireland, East Point Business Park

The Irish Exporters Association’s Asia Trade Forum  will introduce Irish businesses to the Republic of Korea and provide an opportunity to learn from on-the-ground experiences of Irish CEO’s. This event will cater for CEOs and Managing Director level executives from organisations that are interested in developing trade with Korea, as well as those already active in the market.

Speakers included:

  • Ambassador Kim, Republic of Korea
  • Tom Coyner is an experienced industry veteran with over 25 years executive experience in Asia. During 2010, Tom completed writing of the definitive guide to doing business in Korea: “Doing Business in Korea: An Expanded Guide”.
  • Colin Lawlor is commercial director at Bianca Med Limited a winner of Innovation of the Year award.  He has significant and ongoing experience of doing business in, and exporting to, South Korea.
  • Paul Buchanwill speak on behalf of the EU Gateway Programme which currently sends two missions a year to South Korea:
    • Healthcare and Medical Technologies (18-22 March 2013)
    • Energy and Environmental Technologies (10–14 June 2013)

Our sponsors are Ulster Bank, William Fry, Grant Thornton, Enterprise Ireland, Etihad Airways. Newstalk is our media partner.

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Breakfast meeting with world-renowned business expert Brian Tracy

Dr John McKeon with Brian Tracy

Dr John McKeon with Brian Tracy

As part of my role with the Trinity Enterprise Network I was recently invited to a talk in Trinity College’s Senior Common Room, Dining Hall on 26th February 4-6 pm at which Brian Tracy, the world-renowned business expert was speaking on the theme “Peak Performance in Business”.

Ian Lawlor of Horizon Speakers who was hosting Brian’s visit to Dublin also brought along some leading Irish entrepreneurs whom we had an opportunity to network with.  Bill Cullen (of the Apprentice), Sean Gallagher (of Dragon’s Den) and the Provost of Trinity College John Hegarty were there in addition to Ian Lawlor of Horizon Speakers.

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