Grow Programme for SMEs through the Beacon Initiative Call out to Businesses to Participate

Grow Programme for SMEs through the Beacon Initiative Call out to Businesses to Participate

06 August 2013

A new Grow Programme from the Beacon Initiative was announced today to assist established SMEs across all sectors in the Cork county region to sustain and grow their businesses.  The programme is a joint initiative between Cork Institute of Technology, Cork County Council and the Enterprise Boards and is headed up by Cork entrepreneur Padraig O’Sullivan.  Through the announcement the Beacon initiative, which is funded by Cork County Council under the Economic Development Fund is sending a call out to SMEs across all sectors that would benefit from external management expertise to grow their turnover, profitability and staff numbers. 

Padraig said “Globally businesses big and small have been through a perfect storm in recent years, with many well established businesses not surviving.  Despite this Cork has become synonymous as a hub for nurturing and sustaining entrepreneurs, both on a national and international level, with organisations and other public bodies now looking at the Cork region as a model for cultivating entrepreneurship.“

However although there are many initiatives and valuable resources for start-ups and established small SMEs, through visits to 100 SMEs in the Cork region it was discovered there was an expertise resource gap in the larger SMEs.  Padraig added “We discovered that for many SMEs we visited there was a definite skillset gap.  In many cases SMEs may have some core management strengths in-house, but could be lacking in some essential management skills that could take them to the next level and enhance their business”

Paul Sutton, Head of the Economic Development Fund at Cork County Council said “The Grow Programme is the second phase of the Beacon Initiative which we launched last year. As a result of our findings we developed this programme whereby we will be offering qualifying SMEs a Virtual Management Team made up of leading consultants who have vast industry experience in diverse areas both nationally and internationally. Our carefully chosen Virtual team can bring this vital expertise to businesses across the county and help them reach the next level by fulfilling their full potential.

We welcome businesses from all sectors to participate in the programme – all we ask is that the businesses demonstrate the potential for growth, buy into the process and where we can see that with our help their businesses will grow and real long term sustainable employment will be created.”

A pilot scheme is already underway with three SMEs already benefiting from the management expertise provided.  One such business is Digital Documents, a Youghal based, document processing business, with nationwide client base, employing 21 personnel and established 35 years ago. 

CEO and Owner Ger Morgan stated “We would be one of the market leaders in Ireland, but through the Beacon Initiative we were able to work with a marketing consultant with international experience and contacts who was able to open us up to new international markets.  It would have taken us years to build up these contacts ourselves, and having the Beacon Initiative working with us, gave us the additional confidence and expertise to look outside our own borders for new business.”

In terms of eligibility for the Grow Programme Padraig O’Sullivan, programme manager stated “Sustainable small businesses with at least 10 employees in the Cork county region can apply for assistance. They simply make contact with us through the Beacon Initiative website. After an initial needs assessment meeting we assign one or more of our Virtual management team to work with the business. The bulk of the cost for the management expertise provided is funded through the County Council’s Economic Development Fund but we do insist that a small portion of the cost is carried by the business. This is an important factor ensuring their full commitment to the process

For further information on the Beacon Initiative, the resources available and criteria to avail of the resources visit