Former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Sean Gallagher emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship in getting the economy back on its two feet.
Speaking at the Cork Chamber Business Breakfast, he said that there was a recovery in Cork and Dublin, but in the small towns in Cavan and Monaghan it was up to the small businessmen to keep their communities alive.
“I see different Irelands: There is an Ireland in Dublin, an Ireland in Cork, but then there is another Ireland. Driving down the main street in Longford, small villages in the West of Ireland where people are struggling. We have half a million people unemployed and it is not going to be the Facebooks that land into Roscommon,” he said.
“It will be the local indigenous entrepreneurs who become the glue that hold the whole communities together,” he added.
Mr Gallagher said there was a need to create role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs. He pointed to the success of Liam Casey in building his PCH empire, and David Bobbett who built a worldwide kitchen design and supply chain company.
He said that these people need to be held up as success stories to the next generation.
However, he said that there was a need to celebrate business at a more local level too,
“We need role models, and not just the Micheal O’Learys and Richard Bransons that people often talk about in schools. We need role models in our communities. The plumber the plasterers, the hairdressers, the beautician, the retailer the publican, they are all entrepreneurs, all people who go out every day and make a living and hustle,” he said.
He called on the Government to bring in a scheme to help people get smaller projects off of the ground, not just funding for export-orientated high-potential businesses.
Mr Gallagher said there was a need to create an environment where people were encouraged to invest in small and start-up businesses.
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