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As the Bank of Ireland marketing machine gears up to promote its fantastic Sponsor for a Day competition many small business owners reading this will be thinking, why enter if you can’t win.

Look at the final short list for Leinster last year – Big Red Cloud, Nobo, Jobbio, Atlantis Seafoods and Radical Oats – all SMEs on the relatively small end of the SME scale.

Our common bond was that we took a few extra minutes to think about our 200 word submission, and that is all it is, a very short essay as to why you’d like to win the Sponsor for a Day competition.

Back in September 2014 when I clicked the send button of course I immediately imagined what it would be like to be in the RDS with the Leinster team running out wearing the Big Red Cloud logo on their jersey. We all are entitled to dream and some do so more than others.

Nothing in all my wildest dreams could have prepared me for the experience of the night itself when Leinster ran out seven tries from seven different try scorers to rack up their highest European Rugby Championship score in nine seasons.

Of course that big night didn’t come about just because of a 200 word essay. We were shortlisted with four other fantastic SMEs but we managed to pull the most votes from the long list of marketing activities that we ran.

To be honest, we were never cocky or arrogant that we would be the winners. We set our goal to be the winner but never, not even up to the last minute, underestimated the potential of our fellow competitors. That stood us in good stead and kept our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Yes, we won and it’s been an amazing journey since. For me and the online accounting software team here at Big Red Cloud our approach was……

Sponsor for a Day: You can’t win if you don’t try.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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