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think big

Pfizer, IBM and Microsoft to show small Irish businesses how to make it big

Over 3,000 small businesses in Ireland have already had the chance to take part in the programme which is run by a non-profit support forum.

SMALL BUSINESSS OWNERS in Ireland can now receive mentoring from multinationals based here such as Pfizer, IBM, Paypal and Microsoft through a programme operated by non-profit forum Plato.

The Dublin branch of the support forum, which is also running in over eleven European countries, has already offered the chance for over 3,000 small business owners to learn from senior managers at ‘parent’ companies such as ESB and and Ulster Bank and now some of the most successful multinationals in the country are on board.

Marion Walshe, regional manager of Plato Dublin said the service offers practical training, business counselling and a confidential support service to help develop the necessary skillset for entrepreneurs to grow their business and plan the next step.

“Plato’s core principle is simple: if you remove isolation from the decision making process, small business owners can make better strategic decisions,” she explained. “Plato is there to support SMEs through its network of voluntary group leaders and parent companies.”

She said that the next 12 month programme starts in April and the forum is inviting more small business owners to benefit from what it has to offer.

Jim Roycroft, Biotech Community Leader from Pfizer, said that helping to facilitate the programme is a tangible way that his company can support the SME sector.

“Providing access to ‘large-company’ expertise certainly aids the growth process for smaller companies, while also offering leaders at Pfizer a development opportunity,” he said. “I volunteered because I had a personal interest in understanding how small businesses work and I felt I wanted to give something back.”

To be eligible to participate in the Small Business Development Programme 2014/2015, companies must be at least two years in business, with a minimum of three staff. The deadline for applications is Monday, 31 March for the next programme, which gets underway in early April. Further information can be found on the Plato Dublin website.

Read: Morgan Kelly warns SMEs could ‘go under’ taking a big chunk of the Irish economy>

Read: Nearly half of small businesses feel confident about the next three months>

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