Chamber function addressed by top entrepreneur

At the Limerick Chambers Business Lunch in the Strand Hotel was Special Guest speaker Harry Hughes, EY entrepreneur of the year with Marie Donnallan, Leanne Storan, Louise Mackey, EY and Dr James Ring, Limerick Chamber CEO


LIMERICK’S business community was out in force last week for the Limerick Chamber Spring Business lunch where former entrepreneur of the year Harry Hughes offered some of the advice harvested from several decades in business.

The Westport native gave a keynote address on the benefits of doing business in Ireland, but also on the challenges he faced with his family in building a world class safety products company in Portwest.

Mr Hughes said that addressing the regional development imbalance with the East Coast and the greater Dublin area was hugely important for the entire west of Ireland.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, he said that “Even coming here, I drove from Westport to Tuam in 40 minutes and then I had motorway all the way from Galway to Limerick. When you put in infrastructure such as broadband and motorways things will follow, development will follow and the region will thrive.

“When you take the wider European approach, ensure that the infrastructure is in place and the jobs and developments will follow.

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“We nearly have full employment in Ireland and the whole point of a globalised society is that rather than people leaving their country to find jobs, we provide the jobs within those countries.

Offering advice to any young entrepreneurs starting out in business, he said that the most important is “work to become, not to acquire”.

“What I mean by that is that if you are going to become a sportsman, set out to be the best, do the very best you possibly can and everything else will work out.

“If you set out with purely money as your God, you are going nowhere and will never achieve anything in your life. You must work to become the best at what you are doing and enjoy it.

“To young SMEs in the region, Mr Hughes went a step further and advised owners to “study their business and ask the straight and brutally honest questions that need to be asked. Is it a business that is required, can it survive as there are too many businesses that are just about surviving and not growing.

“Don’t let baggage, emotion or family history block change if it is needed because you need to change to survive and be competitive”, he said.

The lunch, attended by over 250 guests, also heard from incoming Chamber president Dr Mary Shire while tributes were also paid to Assistant Garda Commissioner Dave Sheahan for his tireless work combatting serious crime in Limerick.

Outgoing CEO, Dr James Ring was also thanked for his dedication to the Limerick business community and wished well on his new endeavours.

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