Enterprise Ireland and the Geneva Convention

For all of those who still live in fear of Enterprise Ireland, you better stop associating with me now because in the near future I’ll become a lot more critical of this useless state body and if you think you’ll be tarred with the same brush, then stay away, starting now. What am I on about? It seems that article from the Tribune that quoted my thoughts on EI has gotten some attention that others surrounding the Paddy’s Valley tour wish to distance themselves from. Fair enough. No really. I don’t and will not take the EI soup so I can be brutally blunt about them while many can’t. This is the relationship many people have with Enterprise Ireland, one which I consider to be an abusive one where people alter their behaviour for fear of being punished. That’s how many voluntary orgs get controled by the Government when they give them funding and they rely on it.

Consider this my Geneva Convention style declaration though. Trouble is coming. Abandon all association with me from here onwards if you worry about grants and feasibility studies and them being affected somehow via me.

I won’t comment any more in public of my experience of EI during Paddy’s Valley (I will talk about it in private though) but in future I won’t be staying quiet for anyone else’s sake. So if any company interacts with me via the Blog Awards, Web Awards or other events I organise, accept any potential fallout or stay the fuck away.

14 Responses to “Enterprise Ireland and the Geneva Convention”

  1. Caoimhin says:

    Oh oh. Mulley has a bee in his bonnet.

  2. AJ says:

    Having several projects on the go, all of which are quite diverse and confined to specific niches, it has been drummed into me for the past I don’t know how many years, through all the various companies I worked at and from close friends, that I should not bother with EI.

    Its been from this advice that I have stuck to my guns over the past years and never darked their door, and from what I have seen, not only in this post, but by others and by comments and conversations with peers, that I was right to do this.

    Sure its taking an absurd amount of time for me to finish projects, as I have to wear many hats, but eventually I will get there.

    It would be nice to have support, I don’t really want any money from them, but I would like support. Number one killer for a small business is having to deal with all the legalities, regulations etc. Something which costs a significant amount of money to sort out in itself between accounting and legal fees. Number too is getting exposed.

    I could sit on me arse, watch daytime TV and draw the dole, but I’d rather not. I’d rather give something a shot, but the hard part about it is the lack of a decent support network, I have no one to talk to, no one to advise, no one at all from government that will actually be of any use to me.

    EI is like many of the state organizations, that is to say, they lack ability, foresight, creativity and credibility. The media too has, in general been far too nice with EI for too long. Its also high time that they are exposed for the useless cretins they are (EI that is). Until something changes, I am still on my own, and I will remain there until, someone in Government wakes up and realizes that the internet (and may I add IT services) are a business.

    If when Goolge was founded they approached EI, I could see us never hearing of them.

    As far as I can see, EI has been and will remain to be a closed gravy boat club, with the gravy (ours) being passed around to one dodgy or questionable fecker after another. EI can go and blow me.

    Uhh that feels better.

  3. Damien says:

    AJ, surely the Enterprise Boards can help there? From what I’ve seen they’re good for that. While I agree that EI will fund some crowds because they play the business plan bingo game well and it keeps those people off the dole they have funded some very good companies.

    My issue is I don’t currently believe in state support via the EI process and believe it to be counter-productive for running a business.

  4. Niall says:

    I refuse to believe that any body related to the amazing Young Entrepreneurs Scheme could be in any way flawed. They’ve inspired thousands of transition year students all over the country to make crappy yokes to sell to family, friends and other poor bastards who can’t escape them.

  5. Niall O'K says:

    And here’s me, in my drunken state, after watching “The Devils Advocate”, and being more worried about herself, in her unwell state, and her awaiting the specialists consultancy, and the GP’s OK, and me sleeping in the other room, and so on and so forth, and the whisky affecting my mind and making me say more truth than I’d like and so on and so forth (did I say that already)… but still I say… Mulley, … where you are, I’m there behind you. To hell with the Indo, to hell with whoever – I like the cut… of your so-called gib.

    Give them hell.

    PS: You have no idea… how many times… it took me to re-type this.

    I may be drunk, but I typed this sober. Go gett’em cowboy. I’m on your side.

  6. Let me know what design you need for the blog awards 🙂

  7. Paul Walsh says:

    You have my full support Damien as I think Enterprise Ireland should be reviewed by the EU for their bad practices regarding lack of transparency, fairness and openness. Does anyone know who the most relevant EU person is to take this further?

    Segala is an EI client but to be honest, they’ve done little to nothing. In fact, they have cost us a lot of money which I’m happy to talk about in the open.

  8. @Paul – Reviewed by the EU? That bunch incompetants? Look at the mess that those bozos and their pals in Eurid made of .eu for just one example.

    @Damien – “My issue is I don’t currently believe in state support via the EI process and believe it to be counter-productive for running a business.”

    Damien do you actually run a business? Startups generally need all the help that they can get and sometimes that does mean dealing with EI. I think that a few of the people on the PV trip have had or do have dealings with EI. Startups can’t afford to close off potential avenues of support. The politics of dealing with EI or any state agency can take a while to learn but that learning who to talk to and how to talk to them in a way they can understand is part of any business.

  9. Sabrina says:

    I quite like EI, but I’ll still sit next to you, honey.

  10. neil c says:

    I’ve had contact with EI in a number of different roles :-
    foreign investment, start-up, siicon valley and university .

    Some of the brightest people I have ever dealt with and some of the most incompetent have been my connections with EI. Its amazing the range and how some people there put with it.

    my 2 cent is to be very quick to drop the bad ones and forget about it. Just call back and get someone else.
    I’d also advise having someone like your accountant deal with them for financing etc. there is not enough time in the day for a CEO/entrepreneur to have to go through the mill with EI. If you are engaging outside finance/legal support then add ‘EI’ to their brief.

    If you find they are walking a line you don’t agree with then just politely say no.
    There is very little they can do about it and never ever let them make any decisions for you !

  11. Liam Noonan says:

    Having worked for two startups in the past that secured state funding via EI, Shannon Development and the Enterprise boards. I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with some of the sentiments expressed in your article.

    Being able to pursue an idea for year via a funding mechanism is useful.

    Like any state organisation there are brillant and not so brillant people working there.

    Venture Capitalists are not angels in disguise and often want more than the state funded organisations want and on this side of the pond want hell of lot of financial data etc Does any one remember the VC presentation at LIT in Sept 07?

    The need to monetise and devlope an exit strategy is often not there at the start and this someting VCs insist on the state funded ventures do allow companies to find their own feet and detemine their own strategy.

    The culture of failure in Ireland and the stigma attached is being driven more my the banks and financial providers than state funded organisations.

    We couldn’t open an account with some of the banks in our first startup when we were accquired by a US firm they suddenly started calling us. Those of you who remember trying to get a mortgage 10 – 15 years ago know what that is like. It took competition to shake up the mortgage market, it will take competition to shake up the business market.

    Failure happens and I have learned alot from making mistakes. The american attitude is far healthier than the Irish. Banks take it as a personal insult if you fail and would never consider doing business with you again.

    American VCs love doing business in America that why moving is the viable option for a quick access to funds. For those of us who are now married, kids etc this is not the most attractive option. Therefore we do what we can by utilising the assets here in Ireland as well as networking.

    Open coffee for me is revelation, where else can you meet talk and exchange ideas in a free and open minded environment. We need to build on these ideas and develop and improve the situation we have here. the Paddys Valley trip is a great example of this.

    The far away hills are always green but for some of us living, raising a family and working in Ireland offers us a way of life that we could not have in the USA.

    We need to push the social networking agenda and utilise the govt agencies where appropriate. The failure stigma has to change and this will start with the banks and financial institutions.

    We may not fix things overnight but we can to certain extent through social networking etc improve the current situation.


  12. neil c says:

    just remembered by favourite EI story.

    I was to meet two people about some paperwork we had to fill out.
    The night before the meeting i locate the relevant form on the EI web site.
    I fill it in to save time at the meeting.

    When the two people saw the filled out form they recoil in disgust…..”that form is out of date!”. “sorry”, I say, “but I just got it from the web site last night “.

    “no no. you can see from the id code that it is out of date.”
    Then they packed up and left promising to email me the latest template and arranging a follow up in a couple of weeks.

    When I compared the ‘old’ form to the ‘new’ form
    The only difference was that a fax number field was missing on the new form.


  13. barry says:

    Aeons ago I worked for a part of what has become EI. I would agree with most of the sentiments expressed. However, it has to be realised that the people in EI and its predecessors have to keep looking over their shoulders at a) the big cheeses to avoid losing out on the promotion ladder b) the pols, who will shop you if you don’t look after their friends c) other (state) agencies who are considered as ‘the enemy’ Maybe the last one is less of an issue now that many of the ‘others’ are under the EI umbrella, but in my day the IDA was both feared and hated becasue it had all the political support and they (the IDA) thought that, for example, ICC was a nuisance who wouldn’t ‘take risks’

    What has really changed is the attitude of the money people, not enough I agree but a lot. The other thing that has changed, and to be fair the IDA was a mover here, is that IT and related activity is more suited to Ireland’s situation, brain based, low start-up costs (compared to ‘industry’) and changes are possible in mid-stream.

    EI and its like are for those who don’t really want to take risks and/or have political support.

  14. […] others who have more experience have been talking on the one hand about supporting Irish industry, Irish indigenous business in the field of tech, products and services, by altering the countries perspective. We spent almost E10 billion last […]