Now in its 15th year, the annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship event is back onsite at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and will take place in the Mayo campus on Monday, 2 October 2023 in St Mary’s Hall, commencing at 4pm. It promises to be a great evening for aspiring entrepreneurs with great guest speakers, interesting panel discussions and networking opportunities.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Event at ATU Mayo was established in 2006. The annual event attracts hundreds of people. Invited speakers share their experiences of establishing and running a business, including the many challenges and lessons learned. The Local Enterprise Office in Mayo is a proud partner of this event.

Other enterprise agencies will be in attendance to talk to people about the process of setting up a business. These organisations include Enterprise Ireland, Mayo Local Enterprise Office, Local Integrated Development Companies, Mayo Ideas Lab etc. This ensures that all enterprise agencies work together in a cohesive fashion in Mayo to promote the enterprise supports available to new start-up companies

Some previous speakers have included former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, entrepreneur Sean Gallagher, Ciaran Crean (Mick’s Garage), Jerry Kennelly (Stockbyte and Tweak), Frank Salmon (CMS Peripherals), Bobby Kerr (Insomnia), Terry Clune (Taxback and The Clune Tech), Michael Doyle (Pigsback), Niall Harbison (Simple Zesty) Vicky O Toole (JJ O Toole), Evelyn O Toole (CLS), Tommy Griffith, (PEL Recycling), Sean Rowland (Hibernia) etc.

This year’s event is a mix of local and national entrepreneurs. Susan Culleton Hayes (The Positive Economist) is MC who will engage with all speakers, gain valuable insights and enable practical takeaways for the audience.

One local entrepreneur is Harry Hughes who was awarded the EY entrepreneur of the year in 2017 and represented Ireland in EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 in Monaco. He is recognised as a visionary leader who has built a world class business alongside his brothers, Cathal and Owen. Portwest trades in 130 countries, continues to grow at over 20% per annum and now employees over 5,000 people worldwide. Other speakers include Noreen Hackett (Advanced Cosmetics), the overall winner of this year’s National Enterprise Awards. Colm O’ Brien from Carambola which is a €12m schools meals company employing 200 people. Tracey Sweeney from Tracey Sweeney Fine Art Studio and Nigel O Reilly Goldsmith. Matt Conlon from Cytidel, a cyber security company and Helen Nolan the Co-Founder & CEO of the multi-award-winning Social Enterprise Spraoi agus Spórt in Carndonagh, Co Donegal.

Maria Staunton, Manager ATU Hub Mayo, says: “We want to get people thinking about setting up their own business or developing their existing business further. This event will help people understand character traits needed to be an entrepreneur and the supports available to help with growing a business. Successful entrepreneurs will tell their own stories about the opportunities and challenges they have faced and resilience that is needed during tough times. Our overall aim is to create more start-up companies in our region”.

John Magee, Head of Enterprise at LEO Mayo, says: “Successful entrepreneurs typically exhibit common behavioural traits that contribute to their success such as resilience, vision, risk-taking, networking, persistence and an unrelenting focus on the needs of their customers. This year’s Spirit event gives us a chance to hear just how important these traits are to building a business in today’s ever-changing business environment.” The event kicks off Mayo Ideas Month, which runs throughout October. See  for full details.