Meath and Louth Local Enterprise Offices are currently looking for approximately 20 small businesses (10 each) to register their interest in the Eastern and Border Region of the licensed PLATO network.
PLATO EBR companies tend to be micro- and/or small businesses interested in growing their business and learning from larger companies who have grown their company within the region.
These larger ‘parent’ companies are leaders in their industry sectors, and support the programme by sharing their skills and experience within the network. There will be two senior executives (or the owner/manager) at each meeting – the same individuals for the programme duration.
In the past, Parent companies have included for example Jim McAdam of Multihog, Joe Hughes of Glen Dimplex Group, Michael Farrell of PKF-FPM, Michéal McArdle of McArdleSkeath, and many more.
The meetings will take place monthly and will follow a structured programme (agreed at the outset with participants) focused on the challenges to growth for small companies in the region. The network will provide a sounding board and a support forum for entrepreneurs working out on their own facing similar challenges to business development.
The network is centred on a peer to peer learning environment with the regional agencies rowing in behind the network to offer additional supports.
PLATO EBR is currently funded through the four Local Enterprises Offices and County Councils in Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan and two Northern Ireland partners of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.
This Meath-Louth Network for which PLATO is now recruiting will be one of two concurrent clusters for new companies into PLATO EBR in Ireland with two already operational in N. Ireland.
PLATO EBR also has a number of past participants involved in alumni networks so there will be much opportunity for wider engagement with companies North and South through the duration of the Programme. Whilst parent companies volunteer their expertise, participant companies contribute a small membership fee.
Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Director of PLATO EBR, encourages businesses to invest in their management and leadership skills through a customised programme underpinned by peer to peer learning. The PLATO model encourages small business owner managers to grow their business by developing their own capability.
It is anticipated the Louth-Meath Network will commence September 2017-June 2018 (10-months).