Our Why Dún Laoghaire campaign aims to showcase some of the excellent people and exciting businesses in our town and how they have grown, thanks to the supports available and the amenities and infrastructure our town offers businesses to make them a success and sustainable.
This month we speak to Siobhan Broughan, who is the Senior Economic Development Officer at the Local Enterprise Office – an important body that anyone working in business and enterprise in our town or the wider county will be acutely aware of and the supports the office can offer.
The Local Enterprise Office, which is a business unit within the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, “supports people who are interested in starting up a new business or who are already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters and small businesses looking to expand”.
While Siobhan may only be new to her role and settling in, she has hit the ground running and is preparing to launch a brand new programme for businesses and entrepreneurs in the area, which you’ll read all about below.
We support businesses so they can make a bigger contribution to the county in terms of more jobs and services on offer
“We’re here to support people who want to start a business, or people who are already in business and they’re looking to grow,” Siobhan says. “And that is the essence of what I do.”
The ultimate goal, Broughan says, is to help business grow and develop to the best of their abilities which will ultimately then make a bigger contribution to the county in terms of more jobs and services on offer.
There is also a personal connection to our town for Siobhan, which undoubtedly motivates her in her role supporting businesses to ensure our town and county is a success and sustainable.
“My very first job was actually in the town, way back with the Regional Tourism Authority or Dublin Tourism which was based in Dún Laoghaire, so I’m coming back to work in the county where I started out!”
So, what does Siobhan love most about her job? “I think the variety but also getting to work with companies and seeing them getting the benefit from training and upskilling but also expanding and growing and employing people, that’s what I love the most, seeing the outcome of that.
“The Local Enterprise Office is also a very big source of financial support, and that’s very important to companies, especially in this climate…”
DLR LEO is packed FULL of support and training to businesses and entrepreneurs!
Siobhan’s latest programme with the Local Enterprise Office, called ‘FULL’, which stands for Financial Understanding, Lean Thinking and Leadership, aims to provide practical training for both small and large local companies in three critical areas they believe are important to ensure a business remains sustainable, but also has the ability to grow further.
“This new programme that I am responsible for brings together some existing programmes but also some new programmes that we are launching, all under the banner of the Full Programme.”
Siobhan explains that very often busy company owners find themselves trying to manage the finances without having any formal training and will look to outsource tasks such as accounting, meaning they may not have good practical skills to manage the day-to-day financial needs of their business. This new programme aims to give business owners the skills to understand their financial data and how it can help them to make better decisions to increase profits and grow.
Let’s look more closely at FULL and the opportunities and benefits it can give businesses and organisations…
Broughan explains a new training app is being launched for this critical area, which will offer businesses to put their existing accounting knowledge to the test in a non-technical way. With a number of exercises on offer, it’s hoped companies will benefit immediately from this app as it aims to give a better understanding of financial data and how it can be used to effectively for businesses.
For businesses with 10 or more employees, a new mentoring programme in Financial Management Capability is being launched in conjunction with The Agile Executive. Strategic financial capabilities, a skill that has been identified by the OECD as being generally weak in Irish SMEs, will hopefully be strengthened as the aim of this programme is to deliver one-to-one mentoring over six months to companies.
“Lean is a whole set of tools and techniques that companies can use to eliminate waste in their organisation,” explains Siobhan. “And what we mean by that is improving processes, reducing time and energy that is put into different elements of a business where it is not needed.”
“The inspiration for Lean, it comes back to Toyota who developed the whole concept of lean operations in the 80s.”
In this critical area, there are two levels of support for businesses. Their ‘Lean for Micro’ programme is aimed at owners, managers and key staff in a business with up to 30 employees. It involves working on a focused assignment along with expert monitoring and support.
The ‘Lean for Leaders’ programme is aimed for businesses and organisations with a headcount of more than 30. The programme will introduce the concepts of Lean thinking and it will involve actively bringing Lean tools into their organisations by undertaking a specific improvement project that will create a significant positive impact on their company.
Participants will take part in a series of weekly interactive workshops and also benefit from one-to-one mentoring with a Lean specialist. The mentor will guide the company on their lean journey with the aim of delivering targeted results.
For this final critical area, the Local Enterprise Office has teamed up with Lift Ireland to run a leadership programme.
“We have found this to be the most effective leadership programme producing real long term cultural change benefiting employees at all levels in any size company.”
There are over 5,000 companies operating in DLR county – why not join them?
“The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county area has the highest percentage of adults with a third level education in the country, so we have a highly skilled employee resource in the county. The most important resource is your staff at the end of the day, so there is a highly educated workforce here.”
Siobhan says there is a young population in the county who are enthusiastic about working, and with five of the 10 largest companies in Ireland based in the county, it speaks volumes of how it is the right place to locate a business to.
“The proof is in the pudding, there are over 5,000 companies operating in DLR county. The whole county area is like a big business centre or hub in its own right.”
With the county connected by transport links such as the LUAS, DART and bus services, it makes it highly accessible for a business and its employees. Broughan mentions how business districts, such as the one in Sandyford, are ‘placemaking’, which essentially means making the immediate area appealing and a nice place to relax outside of the office but also to live.
On a personal level, Siobhan explains why Dún Laoghaire is just so great, telling us: “I really enjoy working and living in the area because of the amenities, you have the sea, you have the beautiful walks, you have the theatre and the library, great parks and outdoor areas to enjoy, but you also have the mountains there too for walking. So, between the sea and mountains you have everything you need in the middle.”
“It’s all in a stone’s throw of each other, all the resources in the county.”