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What a great idea! Take a bus load of tech start-ups on a tour to visit the magical city that is Kilkenny and introduce them to Kilkenny’s creative quarter. The full day tour is intended to provide the start ups with an in-depth look at what Kilkenny has to offer by way of providing a series of presentations on design talks and panels with topics relating to design led tech start-ups.

Some of the speakers and panelists during the day include Sean McNulty, (Dolmen), Fred Raguillat (IBM Design) and Karen Hennessy (CEO, Irish Design 2015).

This initiative is exactly what Kilkenny needs and it compliments the work being done by the @Ludgate team in Skibbereen where they have a digital initiative in place that aims to create over 500 jobs. Indeed, lets hope that other towns in Ireland grasp the nettle and begin to push their own local agenda for job creation.

We’ve yet to hear from Ballina or any other town in Mayo that wants to take first mover advantage of the new fibre optic cable that was officially launched by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, himself a Mayo native, on August 15th.

This new cable has the capacity to handle up to a third of the world’s telephone calls. Ballina, like Kilkenny and Skibbereen is a beautiful market town that would lend itself to an initiative to take advantage of this phenomenal technological gift sitting on its doorstep. Perhaps a tag line, “Ballina – the place where the world comes to talk.”

The jewel in the crown in Kilkenny is the plans for the creation of a Creative Quarter on the site of the former Smithwicks brewery site. Kilkenny’s creative quarter is a 16 acre site and if its handled correctly there is absolutely no doubt that the mixture of the historic with the new will create a world class facility with the potential to create 1,000 jobs.

When is this great bus tour to Kilkenny taking place? Today and unfortunately I cant go. I’ll follow up with the driver of this idea, not the bus, John Cleere from Red Lemonade Creative.


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)