QUIZ: Ireland’s amazing entrepreneurs

How much do you know about Ireland’s brilliant business minds? Seven out of ten is a great score here. 

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This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/quiz-irelands-amazing-entrepreneurs/ on

The fruit of hard work is the sweetest

What does it take to run an Irish fruit farm that’s one and a half times the size of Croke Park?

Just over a decade ago, Greenhill Fruit Farm was set up by dairy and fresh fruit farmer, Eamonn Crean in Davidstown, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. The fruit plantations of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries have a footprint of almost one and a half times the size of Croke Park, comprising of twenty-four acres of polytunnel fruit with a staff of up to 150 during the peak summer season. Eamonn recalls how it all began and shares the challenges and lessons he has learned along the way. He retails to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and to all essential agricultural shows. He also sells directly to consumers across the country via a network of roadside stands – where consumer feedback is the vital food of champions.

“The trade in fresh Irish strawberries has grown significantly to over 7,700 tonnes per year.”

greenhill fruit farm

What motivated you to start the business?

In 1990 after finishing secondary school, I worked on the family farm, milking 120 cows along with my brother John and dad Edmund. My mother’s family had a tradition of growing strawberries under contract for jam production which was the primary market outlet back then. EU milk quotas were in place, and the option of expanding the home dairy herd was limited, and so I began looking around for alternatives to help create additional income for myself and the family farm. At that time, I could see that the market for Wexford strawberries appeared to be shifting from jam to fresh fruit and unfortunately since then, the demand for jam production has collapsed, along with grower numbers. In spite of this decline, the trade in Irish strawberries for fresh fruit production has grown significantly to over 7,700 tonnes per year. Ultimately the production of fresh fruit has become more commercial and specialised. For the grower, it can be a rewarding but robust industry combined with its own unique set of production and marketing challenges.

“Irish growers deliberately seek out varieties that sustain flavour.”

Starting out

In the early 90s, I started out by buying fresh fruit from local strawberry growers, for resale at the weekends. Over time I organised new road-side stands across the country in Dublin, Blessington, Kilkenny, the Midlands, Sligo and Cavan. I am pleased to say, that after almost thirty years later we still hold and trade with those outlets. In 2003, John and I planted three acres of strawberries between us, with the aim of achieving a more consistent product. We planted the strawberries in soil under small half-metre high polytunnels, and although the quality improved, poor weather conditions could still impact on consistency. By 2007, I had purchased some land, established my own dairy unit, milking sixty cows under existing quota rules and set up my private fresh fruit company, under the ‘Greenhill Fruit Farm’ brand. Since then we have transitioned to growing our fruit into much larger walk-in polytunnels.

“One of the most significant challenges we faced was, ‘Storm Emma’ when sixty-five of our tunnels collapsed in one night, damaging 50% of the farm.”

greenhill fruit farm

What’s your secret sauce?

On the farm, we still grow about half of our strawberries in the soil, in the traditional way, which from a commercial farming perspective is relatively unique. It’s an added attraction to the farm and makes a real difference to the quality of our fruit. The main reason is that roots that are grown directly in the ground are naturally colder, allowing the fruit to ripen more slowly, adding to the ultimate flavour.

A considerable part of our success has been roadside selling, which had been facilitated by government legislation back in the 90s. This has had a two-fold benefit, allowing us to scale and secondly to get our product directly to consumers with our own label on it. If people like your product, they tell you they like it – and if they don’t, they will let you know within thirty seconds; and for us, that direct feedback is precisely what we needed to know, to help create a good product. The important thing is to make the changes in time before you end up with a titanic situation on your hands. 

In the South East of Ireland, we believe we also have an added advantage in having the optimum climate to produce a sweeter more flavoursome fruit. This in part is due to the number of daylight hours we receive. Along with that, Irish growers deliberately seek out varieties that sustain flavour – however, for the grower, more taste generally equals lower yield. Despite this, it makes more sense to try to create a sustainable business for the future, by providing a product that is in growing demand and that consumers want more of.

“It’s vital to be able to create a team who are willing to buy into the same idea or vision for the company.”

Greenhill Fruit Farm. From left; Sadbh, Dierdre, Edmund, Aoibhinn, Abigail, Eamon Mairead and Annalise Crean.Photo;Mary Browne


There are so many variables and problems when growing fresh fruit, whether it’s competition from Dutch imports, paying the highest minimum wage in the EU and even accommodation costs. One of the most significant challenges we faced this March was, ‘Storm Emma’ when sixty-five of our tunnels collapsed in one night, damaging 50% of the farm. We had followed best practice and guidance and orientated the tunnels in an N-S direction to allow for the prevailing S-W wind. However, the snow came from the East and drifted, causing the tunnels to collapse. It took a hugely dedicated team to be able to come in and redo and fix the tunnels, and it’s a cost the farm will have to carry over the next few years. The workforce is becoming the lifeline of a farm, and it’s becoming more difficult to recruit – especially as most European countries are coming out of recession. Labour costs are at 50% of sales, and top pickers can earn up to €14-16/hr – however, because it’s a six month picking season, working in the industry is not viewed as a long-term career.

Nevertheless, it’s a growing industry with fresh fruit seen as a very healthy food option. We have also had great help in receiving training and grants from both local and national agencies such as Leader, Teagasc and the DAFM, combined with valued support from Bank of Ireland, grower organisations, Wexford Food Family, Irish consumers as well as wholesale buyers – and long may that continue.

“The workforce is becoming the lifeline of a farm, and it’s becoming more difficult to recruit.”

greenhill fruit farm

What tips would you like to share with fellow entrepreneurs? 

Our excellent senior managers and supervisors who come from Romania and Bulgaria are crucial to running a successful operation and are backed up by a fantastic group of picking, logistic, sales and office staff. As a commercial grower and like a lot of other businesses, it’s vital to be able to create a team who are willing to buy into the same idea or vision for the company and secondly to ensure that you can achieve sufficient turnover to both sustain that team and help develop the business into the future.

The main image is of the Crean family, from left: Sadbh, Dierdre, Edmund, Aoibhinn, Abigail, Eamon Mairead and Annalise Crean. Photo by Mary Browne. 

Interview by Brendan Byrne

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/greenhill-fruit-farm-wexford-ireland/ on

15 Gaelic football entrepreneurs

With the Gaelic football season now in full swing, we take a look at players and former players who took the leap into entrepreneurship.

Shane Curran

Since retiring county football, the Roscommon man has set up flood defence company Global Flood Solutions. The company supplies the rapid response flood defence products such as the Big Bag Flood Defence System for which Curran secured a €2 million export deal.

Enda McNulty

After winning an All-Ireland medal in 2002, Enda established his company Motiv8 in 2005 he then rebranded Motiv8 to McNulty Performance in 2016. Its mission: ‘To inspire, coach and guide individuals and teams to make most of their potential in the sports, business and educational sectors.’ The list of company clients includes Brian O’Driscoll, AIB and Intel.

Kevin Moran

Known for being the only man to win an All-Ireland and an FA cup medal (he won both twice actually, while also being the first player to be sent off in the FA cup too), Kevin Moran was a co-founder of Proactive Sports Management, with clients such as Steve Finnan and John O’Shea. It has since been acquired and rebranded itself as Formation Group PLC and has expanded into the property market.

Philly McMahon

The Ballymun Kickhams man opened his own gym in October 2014. Since then he has gone on to open Fitfood.ie. Fitfood is a healthy meal delivery and fitness company based in Ballymun, Dublin.

Ciaran Lenehan

According to his bio, the former Meath halfback has a first class honours degree in animal science from UCD and completed a research masters in beef cattle nutrition and production systems. He owns and manages a 50-cow suckler to beef herd farm in Skryne, Co Meath. Ciaran also writes for the Irish Farmers Journal.

Donal Vaughan

With his sister Ailish, Donal Vaughan opened Vaughan Shoes in 2006 and went on to acquire an existing footwear retailer, Colleran Footwear. The company has a strong online presence and three stores across Mayo.

Páidí Ó Sé

Amassing an impressive eight All-Ireland medals as a player and a further two as a manager, Páidí originally trained to be a member of An Garda Síochána but went on to open Paidi O’Se’s Pub in Ventry, Co Kerry. Unfortunately, Paidi passed away in December 2012 but the pub is still in operation.

Seán Cavanagh

The three-time All-Ireland winner opened his own accountancy practice in his home village of Moy, Co Tyrone. Sean Cavanagh and Co. assists clients in accounting, audit, tax and advisory.

Darren Hughes

In addition to working on his family’s farm, Darren studied business in Jordanstown, Co Monaghan and following this started a new marketing company D&K Hughes Marketing and branded it as Yellowtom.ie specialising in advertising for local Monaghan companies.

Trevor Giles

Trevor Giles played senior inter-county football with Meath from 1994 to 2005, winning All-Ireland medals in 1996 and 1999. Trevor qualified from UDC with a degree in physiotherapy in 1997 and set up Tara Physiotherapy in his native Tara, Co Meath in 2000.

Paul Galvin

The former teacher enrolled in a fashion buying course in DIT in 2010, where he quickly launched his own website specialising in men’s hair products, before eventually teaming up with Dunnes Stores in 2015 to launch his own ‘Born Mad’ menswear range.

Andy Moran

In an interview Andy once said; “Since I was a young fella, I’ve always had the drive to set up my own business.” He eventually did by setting up Healthquarters.ie – a performance, nutrition and wellness centre in Roscommon.

Michael Murphy

The former Donegal captain who lifted Sam McGuire in 2012 opened his own sporting goods store Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure in Letterkenny. In 2017 Murphy swapped the shop and GAA for Clermont-Ferrand RFC as part of the TV series ‘The Toughest Trade’.

Kevin McManamon

Having graduated from college with a degree in business management and a masters in strategic management in DIT, Kevin went on to co-found his business Fresh Foods Direct in 2009. He finished working there in 2012 and since then he has received another Masters in applied sports and exercise psychology. He has since gone on to create Kev Mc Coaching, a sports psychology consultancy.

Bernard Brogan

Originally qualified as an accountant, Bernard is listed as a director of at least eight companies around Ireland. In the last few years, Bernard has gone into the family business of hotels with himself and his brother Alan purchasing the four-star Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, Co Meath in 2016. However, more recently the five-time All-Ireland winning full forward has created his own company PepTalk.ie a corporate wellbeing company based in Dublin.

Article by Barry Walsh. 

Related Resource

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/15-gaelic-football-entrepreneurs/ on

The Irish man connecting four billion people

Mark Roden is the founder of Ding, an Irish business that connects four billion phones around the world. He spoke to Stephen Conmy about mobile payments and the vast emerging global markets.

Mark Roden is in good form. We meet at MoneyConf, in Dublin’s RDS, an event dedicated to the rise of FinTech (financial technology); banking, mobile payments and the future of global finance.

Roden’s is a familiar story to many in Ireland’s business world. He was a dentistry student who left Trinity early and went to work for Denis O’Brien, helping to start Esat. He was also the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. 

Today he is the majority shareholder of mobile payments company, Ding.

The Dublin-based Ding allows people – mainly from emerging markets – to send ‘value’ to each other in the form of phone credit.

He founded the company in 2006 and now works with over 400 operators worldwide, delivering top-ups to four billion phones.

ding mark roden

Four billion people

“We deliver the ‘energy’ people need to use their phones,” he says. “This is hugely important in the vastly populated emerging economies. If you are in Ghana and I’m in Dublin, I can transfer five dollars in pre-paid credit to your phone. This brings life to your phone, allowing you to communicate and access the mobile web.”

The vast populations of emerging economies in Africa, India and South America are mobile first. They skipped the desktop age.

“This is where Ding offers real value,” says Roden. “Ding isn’t about a cheaper call it’s about empowering people to access their phones and allows them to use the web on their phones.

“The life for people around the world who are not connected is a grim life. What we do is offer a zero barrier way to enable people to get connected.”

What next for Ding?

Now that Ding has ‘laid the railway lines’ the infrastructure is there to add other services like mobile payments.

“This is where I see us going. Ding can act as a mobile distribution network for cash. Obviously, the global potential of this is enormous.”

Roden built his business without investment but says he is now open to investment with the right strategic partner.

“In the next twelve months or so we will look for the right partner. We need to grow much bigger but we don’t just need money, we need an investment partner that shares our vision and can help us bring it to reality.”

What businesses does Roden admire in the mobile payments space?

“Square’s Cash app, led by Jack Dorsey (the Twitter co-founder), is one I really admire,” he says. “Many of our customers share the same demographics.”


  1. If you are starting a business it is much better to be good at one thing or ‘deep in a vertical’ rather than try to be all things to all men. Don’t be shallow in a wide market.
  2. A business should only diversify when it has achieved critical mass. For us, that was when we started generating our own cash.
  3. If you are seeking investment, make sure your investor shares your strategic vision. You need a partner, not just a cheque.
  4. If your technology can be understood instinctively by anyone in the world, you are in a position to scale. If there are barriers in the way for people to use your service, you are doomed.
  5. The most important lesson Denis O’Brien taught me was to keep going. Never give up and to have great confidence in what you are about to do. If you put in the effort, what appears to be impossible becomes very possible.

Related Resource

The historical enterprise towns of Ireland.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/mark-roden-ding-interview-with-stephen-conmy/ on

Grow your dairy farm by embracing new technology

New technologies represent the greatest opportunity to Irish agriculture as it looks to the future.

The dairy sector in Ireland is a perfect hotbed for innovation, where a combination of the industry’s enormous growth potential must be tempered with the reality of getting the job done in the most efficient way possible.

Yes, we have the land in Ireland, but matching this resource with that of driving levels of production from an expanded dairy herd needs a response that is, very much, technology-driven.

“A desire to invest in robotics may be based on the fact that the farmer wants to spend more time managing the herd rather than physically putting clusters on cows.”

The core decision to either establish a new dairy herd, or expand existing cow numbers, requires farmers to assess the milking technologies that best meet their evolving needs. As a result, we are already seeing a significant increase in the adoption of robotic milking systems on Irish farms. The same can also be said, where rotary platforms are concerned.

But each farm is different. A desire to invest in robotics may be based on the fact that the farmer wants to spend more time managing the herd rather than physically putting clusters on cows.

The rotary platform, on the other hand, may represent the best option when it comes to allowing farmers to increase cow numbers in a situation where it is extremely difficult to secure additional labour.

New technology will play a massive role the Irish dairy sector which is primed for sustained growth over the coming years. Are you ready? 

Related Resource

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/grow-your-dairy-farm-by-embracing-new-technology/ on

Using Blockchain to help Ethiopian coffee farmers

Moyee is the world’s first FairChain coffee brand. Based in Amsterdam, Addis Ababa and now Dublin, the provocative coffee company is on a mission to transform global coffee to a fairer, more transparent industry. Shane Reilly, who brought Moyee to Ireland, talks to ThinkBusiness.


What does Moyee Coffee do that’s different? 

Most of the value-added aspects of Moyee’s coffee production take place in Ethiopia, including roasting, and because Moyee pays coffee farmers 20% above the market price, they have access to the country’s best coffee. The combination of premium coffee and a progressive social and economic agenda is behind the company’s tagline: ‘Radically good coffee with radical impact’. A cult coffee brand established in the Netherlands, Killian Stokes and I brought the FairChain movement to Ireland in late 2016.

“We see our social mission as being central to our business.”

Helping the coffee farmer

By roasting our coffee in Ethiopia, we ensure more of the value of coffee stays in the hands of those who contribute most to coffee production. Coffee production is notoriously complex and involves countless middlemen, each taking a piece of the pie along the way. Coffee farmers are always at the short end of the stick. Currently, only 2% of the added value of every cup of coffee ends up in the pockets of coffee producers.

In a similar way to other campaigning brands like Patagonia, we see our social mission as being central to our business. Customers want to know where their products are coming from and they are starting to see through corporate social responsibility box ticking. Our ultimate aim and brand promise is to create a true 50/50 partnership with coffee-producing countries like Ethiopia.

Why Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee and grows some of the best coffee in the world. It’s also a symbol of many of the problems with the coffee industry.

Despite being Africa’s biggest coffee exported, Ethiopia makes just shy of €800 million per year. At the same time, it has to rely on nearly €3 billion in development aid from the international community. If Ethiopia exported roasted, branded speciality coffee – like Moyee has started to do – it would triple its income overnight and rapidly reduce its reliance on development aid in coffee-producing regions.

A major point we make, however, is that this trade should be based on quality not charity. This is why when we do a free tasting for a potential office customer, we always start with the flavour and taste of our coffee.

“All Moyee’s coffee will be fully blockchain-traceable from the washing station in Ethiopia to our retail and office customers in Europe.”

How does FairChain work?

Since early November, we have been running a pilot project in Ethiopia with blockchain pioneers bext360 and the FairChain Foundation to prove more than ever that coffee is capable of leading the way to a more honest, fairer society.

We’ve been following the progress of our coffee through the supply chain since November. The first step in the chain was real-time payments to Ethiopian farmers for their coffee cherries. This blockchain project will mean all Moyee’s coffee will be fully blockchain-traceable from the washing station in Ethiopia to our retail and office customers in Europe.

The next phase of this project is really exciting as you have the ability to use tokens to ‘Tip the farmer’ directly from a consumer to a farmer’s digital wallet in Ethiopia. This has the potential to connect customers and producers like never before.

“The average coffee farmer in Ethiopia earns about €480 a year, even with the premiums we pay, and we can start to have a radical impact in coffee-growing regions by increasing this to €1,000 per year.”

What is the USP?

A physical blockchain token – or a scannable code – on a coffee bag or on your take away cup would allow customers to see who their farmer was, what we paid them and how much added value we leave in Ethiopia by roasting there.

This allows a sceptical consumer to see that their coffee is actually fair, from where we said it was and in the top 5% of beans.

The average coffee farmer in Ethiopia earns about €480 per year, even with the premiums we pay, and we can start to have a radical impact in coffee-growing regions by increasing this to €1,000 per year. Being able to offer our customers blockchain tokens to crowdfund towards an infrastructure project or to help farmers upgrade equipment and improve yields is our ultimate aim and an important part of our FairChain principles.

“We’re on a mission to bring speciality coffee into the workplace.”


We’re on a mission to bring speciality coffee into the workplace and that’s our main channel for the company in the next year. We’ve had great success in 2018 with co-working spaces and recently became the coffee partner for both The Tara Building & DogpatchLabs in Dublin. We’ve had good traction with tech companies like Groupon, fellow social enterprise FoodCloud and as well as creative agencies.

With a new eCommerce site about to be launched, we’re also looking to bring on board more subscribers who join our FairChain Coffee Club and get a fresh coffee delivery each month.

Moyee is also launching a ‘One million cups revolution’ in May to show exactly the impact of one million cups of FairChain coffee would have in Ethiopia. We think this campaign will bring on board companies who want to contribute to this impact.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/moyee-is-the-worlds-first-fairchain-coffee-brand/ on

Smart Sandyford – strategies for successful innovation

On Wednesday, May 23, the Smart Sandyford meetup will address how firms can increase agility, accuracy and responsiveness to rapidly changing market trends.

Businesses have never had more opportunities to harness breakthrough innovation, but in parallel, the risks of failure have increased. As technology underpins significant changes across biotech, medtech, fintech and many other industries, how can organisations plot a path to successfully navigate the development path of new products and services to stay ahead of the curve? Register now. 

The panel

Hosted by Smart Sandyford’s ‘Skills & innovation champion’, Eoin Costello, the panel of experts includes:

  • Paul Farnan – Microsoft
  • Jamie Tallon – ICON
  • Florence Irwin – SNP Communications
  • Bartley Doyle – Accenture

Who should attend? 

The meetup is free to attend and will be of particular interest to:

  • Business owner/managers
  • Coders/developers
  • Project managers
  • Product development teams
  • Innovation managers
  • IT staff

Space at this free event is limited, please register now. 

May Smart Sandyford meetup


Sandyford Smart Innovation Taskforce (an initiative of Sandyford BID) is committed to strengthening the digital community in Sandyford, helping business upskill for the capabilities needed in the smart era and helping companies in traditional sectors in the district leverage the benefits of digital transformation and collaborative innovation.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/smart-sandyford-meetup-agile-innovation/ on

Mattress Mick – ‘I never gave up’

Despite many setbacks, Mattress Mick says he never thought of giving up. He spoke to Stephen Larkin about his highs and lows in business.

Across Ireland, Michael Flynn, aka Mattress Mick, has become a household name thnaks to his unique business style. However, despite his bubbly character, his career has been a constant battle which resulted in some “serious failures” along the way.

Having started out working as a banker, Mick opted to take over the family business in Pearse Street, Dublin, following the death of his father. He made the premises a place of “real wheeling and dealing” as he sold everything from furniture, to clothes, and even curtains.

With money coming in from the success of his business, Mick decided to expand and at one point owned eight premises, which he feels led to his downfall. “I was young and I started spending my money very stupidly. I really took my eye off the ball. I knew I needed to make a change and I held on to them for far too long when I look back on it now. Eventually, I made the decision to close up and I sold those properties to clear my debts, but I still kept the original furniture business in Pearse Street.”

This recession in 2008 led to the birth of Mattress Mick. “When I looked at my businesses, I noticed bedroom furniture were the best selling products, so with very little money left, I decided on using a gorilla marketing strategy to get me going again. I was out on the streets doing the gorilla marketing and putting up signs everywhere without any permission, which resulted in things beginning to blossom again.”

“Not once! I had some bad days alright, but I never thought of giving up. I think it’s part of who I am to not give up.”

Famous for his quirky YouTube videos, Mattress Mick saw his popularity rise to the point where he was getting asked for photos on the street, doing meet and greet events, and even receiving wedding invitations. Mick puts his likeability down to his failure in the past. “The fact I’m just an ordinary guy, and I’m not afraid to admit that I have made mistakes, I think people can relate to that. I think it gives people motivation because failure is normal and to be successful you must overcome some sort of failure along the way.”

When asked was giving up ever an option, Mick’s entrepreneurial spirit awakes. “Not once! I had some bad days alright, but I never thought of giving up. I think it’s part of who I am to not give up.”

“Failure is normal and to be successful you must overcome some sort of failure along the way.”

Mick says this to be the most important characteristic for any aspiring entrepreneur to possess. “You need to believe in yourself above all else. Believe in the plan you set out and go execute it. Don’t get distracted by anything. It’s so important to do everything honestly because you’ll get far by being honest with people.”

Mick looks back on his career in business, which started in the 1960s with great fondness. However, he has one or two minor regrets about his adventures. “I think if I could go back I’d look to adopt technology earlier because back then I didn’t realise the power it could have on business. I also got ahead of myself and had too many shops at the one time. I should’ve just had two or three and really concentrated on them, definitely not eight.”

Despite having no plans to retire anytime soon, Mick wishes he was, “20 years younger to develop the brand”, and so he “plans to establish an exit strategy because I have to be realistic with my age”.

Related Resource

How to innovate to remain successful. 



This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/mattress-mick-life-business-failures-success/ on

The man behind Paddy Power’s biggest stunts

Public House is an advertising agency that prides itself on making the headlines through its creative and sometimes provocative advertising campaigns. 

Colin Hart is the managing director of Public House, one of Ireland’s leading advertising agencies. The agency partners a number of different companies, with Paddy Power being one of their biggest clients.

Speaking at the OFFSET design conference in Dublin, he said; “Eighty percent of advertising is pretty much spam. We don’t want to be a part of that. We know it doesn’t sell so what’s the point. Our motto and founding principle is ‘boring doesn’t sell’.”

Creative push

While Public House likes to push its clients in terms of creativity, they don’t believe in being overly creative and bold when it’s not necessary. “There has to be substance,” said Colin. “We work with 123.ie insurance and we tried to find a nice edge. With Paddy Power, we tend to push them even further.”

One of their most successful campaigns came with Paddy Power in 2012, during the opening of the European Championships. On the eve of the England vs. France game, Paddy Power revealed a 100ft tall construction of ‘Roy the Redeemer’ on the White Cliffs of Dover. The huge image of the then England manager Roy Hodgson could be seen all the way across the English Channel in France.

“Originally, we planned to put a giant finger put on the Cliffs of Dover, so France could see it,” said Colin mischievously. “Then we came up with ‘Roy the Redeemer’.”

The statue was a reproduction of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue which overlooks Rio de Janeiro, but the face of Christ was replaced with England’s new ‘saviour’, Roy Hodgson.

“We were small and trying to make an impact,” said Colin. “It was covered by every national publication in the UK and France. France thought it was good fun. We present in headlines rather than pitches.”

Olympic hijinks

During the Olympics Games in London in 2012, Paddy Power put up billboards saying it was sponsoring ‘the biggest athletics event in London’. Initially, it was assumed Paddy power was referring to the Olympic Games, however, it was actually referring to an egg-and-spoon race it was sponsoring in a small village in France, ironically called London.

“We make an opportunity out of nothing. Before the All-Ireland hurling final last year, we put a ‘cousin shifting booth’ outside Copper Face Jacks in Dublin for fans from the country to enjoy,” says Colin.

In an effort to give Mayo’s footballers some divine inspiration ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry in 2017, Paddy Power projected a 70ft image of the Mother of Christ holding the Sam Maguire trophy onto the front of Knock Basilica.

“If you know how far you can push it in one area, it means you know how people behave. We get lots of analytics and we can use it with other brands. Provoking debate looks like success for us. We go big or go home.”

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-man-behind-paddy-powers-biggest-stunts/ on

Thinking business with Queila Doyle

Thinking business with Queila Doyle, CEO and founder of My Beauty Squad.

I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I grew up spending my days on the beach, enjoying the fantastic weather. Brazil is a country where the beauty industry is central to our culture, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with everything related to beauty. I met my husband (who is from Cork) and moved to London with him over five years ago. Since moving, I set up My Beauty Squad in London which has been a great success. We have worked with amazing clients, celebrities and brands, and we have built a fantastic team. During this time, I have been on countless trips to Ireland and I’ve fallen in love with the country and its people, which has led me to bring My Beauty Squad here.

“Have the patience and stillness to accept the highs and lows. It’s not a smooth journey.”

How it all began

It was all because my husband booked a last-minute holiday. I wanted to get my nails done around 7 pm after work, and all the salons were fully booked or closed. I ended up not finding anyone and wishing for a platform that could bring beauticians to my home and make me feel pampered. Having a beauty industry background myself, I knew that beauticians were not treated fairly and I decided to build upon this by having a company focused on their wellbeing. Consequently, they make our customers feel special, and we can grow the business together.

My Beauty Squad team


I love bringing amazing beauticians together and working on ideas to improve the beauty industry. These women are passionate professionals who help me to grow the business and also make our customers feel amazing. I love their loyalty and how we all feel like a family.

The big challenge

I believe it’s the fact that you need an all-in-one degree where the skillset can change every minute. At any moment, you can change from being the CEO to a counsellor, administrator, mediator, artist and many other professions that I’ve learned along the way.


We want to become a beauty platform trusted by women, that offers beauty services and products, reviews and honest advice through our blogs and podcasts.

“There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t get started, but if you just do it, you will learn along the way.”

My advice

Just do it. There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t get started, but if you just do it, you will learn along the way. Since the very beginning of my journey, it has been learning as I go. The only thing I would do differently is to practise more meditation and have the patience and stillness to accept the highs and lows. It’s not a smooth journey.

Role models

I love the serial entrepreneur and presenter Marcus Lemonis. He is hugely successful, a self-made millionaire and I love the way he genuinely cares about the people he works with. I am a firm believer that a business that is out only to make money is a poor business. But outside of the business world, I have to say that my husband inspires me with his positive views about life. I think Irish people always have a smile to give and that has inspired me to gain new perspectives in adverse situations.

“Life is too short, so just get out there and follow your dreams.”

If I wasn’t running a business?

I would love to be a detective. No criminal would be safe. As for a job that I would hate to have it would be any job that would make me grumpy waking up on Mondays. If this is you, then my advice is to think about how you can solve this problem. Life is too short, so just get out there and follow your dreams.

Instagram: @mybeautysquad

Interview by Laura Mellett. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/my-beauty-squad-queila-doyle/ on