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SME focus: Everything you need to know about education and business

For September’s in-depth coverage of Irish SMEs, we focused on everything to do with education and business.

Image: Writing training via Shutterstock

EVERY MONTH, TheJournal.ie takes a close look at a certain sector or aspect of life for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Making up about 99% of all Irish businesses and employing nearly 70% of private-sector workers, SMEs are vital to jobs and economic growth in the country.

In September, we turned the spotlight on education in the sector – what SMEs are already doing in the field and what more is possible to boost performance.

#The Big Idea this month was Examtime - a Dublin startup which in 18 months has built a user base of 600,000 students who rely on it as a “digital backpack” for creating flashcards, quizzes, mind maps and notes.

Examtime Source: Examtime

#How to guide explored spinning a company out of a third-level institute and the ways in which ideas forged in the academic world could be applied to business. We talked to Feedhenry, which was recently sold to US software firm Red Hat for €63 million, as an example of an Irish startup which successfully made the transition from its early days at the Waterford Institute of Technology to the big time.

#What I Learned looked at the concept of the paperless classroom through the eyes of Dublin startup aPperbook. Its founders explained the problem with rolling iPads out into schools, for example, without a concentrated plan across the education system to make sure students were making the most of technology.

#Business Poll asked readers what they thought was the best way to glean the skills to make it in business - the classroom or the school of hard knocks? We also heard from the SME sector that a lack of training was letting down many owner-operators. And here’s what you said was the number-one method for learning about how to run a business:

Education poll

#SME Book Club featured Josh Kaufman’s book The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast as we posed the question, can you really learn any skill in 20 hours? The answer was a resounding… probably not.

#Business Chart of the Month followed on from our earlier feature about third-level spin outs and mapped startups across the country. Using data from Enterprise Ireland, Trinity College Dublin’s Qiantao Zhang discovered that new companies had a habit of clustering around the “mother ship” – the university where they were spawned.

tcd-map-630x333 Spin outs clustered around Trinity College Dublin. Source: Qiantao Zhang/TCD

READ: SME focus – everything you need to know about innovation and SMEs

READ: SME focus – everything you need to know about know about trading on tourism

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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