10 March 2016

Pat McDonagh, founder of Supermacs with the help of Linda Ford, Network Ireland,Galway Branch President and Ronan Byrne, The Friendly Farmer, showed their support in launching an exciting and innovative programme that will assist jobseekers in Galway. The free programme which has been developed and run by the Innovation Academy UCD, is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA)Springboard+ Initiative. It will offer an innovative approach to third level education - which to date has resulted in 72% of all graduates going into regular employment or establishing their own business.

The programme is internationally recognised and nurtures creativity and increases the participant’s capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship; skills that are highly sought after by employers in all sectors presently. It brings together participants in groups who work on projects that stimulate creativity, problem solving and create positive environments for experiential learning. Participants also have an opportunity to connect with employers through innovation projects with industry and guest speakers.

The GAA through a partnership with Innovation Academy UCD are also lending their support to the course to reach communities around the country. The course is championed by entrepreneurial leaders from the GAA in each province including Pat McDonagh, founder of Supermacs, Pat McDonagh, founder of Riverdeep, Brian McEniff, Director, McEniff Hotels and Frank Murphy, CEO, Monex.

Beginning 31st March, this course will run for 18 weeks, 2 days a week from 9am-5pm. Participants who successfully complete the course will gain a qualification from University College Dublin along with a highly transferable skill set with the skills to gain employment or to start their own business or social venture. The course applies a ‘learn by doing’ teaching method with no exams and attracts a diverse mix of people who either wish to start their own business, embark on anew career or rejoin an existing career path.

The course is taught by a team of academics and entrepreneurs such as Ronan Byrne, from Athenry, an entrepreneurial specialist and Award-winning CEO of farm and sales business, The Friendly Farmer. Ronan has a background in Marketing, Agribusiness and EU Integration and has worked with many blue chip companies over the years. Brendan Allen, from Roscommon is the joint Head of ProgrammeDevelopment at Innovation Academy UCD and part owner of luxury foods businesses, Castlemine Farm and the Allen and Dromey Food Group. Brendan's background involves entrepreneurship, farming, environmental science and marine science.

Recent Galway graduate Maureen Fynes, Nutritional Coach and Reflexologist, was also on hand to help launch the new free program. Speaking of her experience in completing the course, Maureen said, “Participating on this programme has given me the confidence to forge ahead and start my own business. I started on thisprogramme when I was at a crossroads in my life; it was a great opportunity to explore what I wanted to do. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who is thinking about changing career or starting their own business.”

Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director of the Innovation Academy said: “We are so delighted to be bringing the programme to Galway, nurturing entrepreneurship and getting more people back into the workforce as we use our learnings in innovation and developing people’s creativity for business and education into communities around the country.  Our whole focus is to encourage creative thinking and increase people’s capacity for innovation within their careers or with their business ideas and we see first hand new businesses shooting up following these programmes and more people re-joining the workforce with renewed confidence and energy.”

For further information on the course and to register your interest please visit www.innovators.ie