Colm Lyon, one of the speakers at the Spirit event

Spirit of entrepreneurship showcase set to inspire

ENTREPRENEURS and business people from the west region will gather at GMIT Mayo in Castlebar tomorrow (Tuesday, September 29) to participate in the ninth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship event hosted by the Innovation Hub (iHub), formerly known as the Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC).

The event kicks off with one-to-one mentoring (booking essential) from business experts, which will run from 2 to 4.30 p.m., funded by the Mayo Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland.

The full event, which is open to the public, commences at 4.30 p.m. and is sponsored by Lionbridge.

Karen Coleman, journalist and broadcaster, will be the MC for the evening, hosting discussions with two prominent Irish entrepreneurs, Colm Lyon and John McGuire.

Colm Lyon is founder and CEO of Fire Financial Services Ltd., and founder and former CEO of Realex Payments. John McGuire is founder of Active Mind Technology and creator of Game Golf. They will talk on the topic of Building and Scaling a Business.

At 6 p.m., the PitchComp Challenge will get underway, featuring three early-stage companies making a pitch for investment. Each pitch will be four minutes and the best pitch will receive €1,500 funding and mentoring from Westbic.

The companies pitching are all participants on the New Frontier programme which is delivered in GMIT’s two iHubs at the Mayo and Galway campuses. 

A panel discussion on Innovation, Investment and Finance will take place at 6.30 p.m., hosted again by Carol Coleman. On this panel are Pat Walsh, MD of WME and PanelDuct, Mark Ganly, Contego Sports, Orla Nolan, WxNW, new Western Angel Investment Syndicate, and Sarah Nic Lochlainn, a serial entrepreneur, a participant on RTÉ's Dragons' Den and founder of Aruna Sauces.

The event in St. Mary’s Hall on campus will also feature a showcase of various iHub client companies and state enterprise agencies such as the Patents Office, SME Online Tool, Revenue, Enterprise Ireland, Mayo LEO and other support organisations.

Refreshments will be provided by local start-ups Bean West Coffee and Café Rua. The prize for the best stand on the evening will be sponsored by AIB.

The GMIT iHub Spirit of Entrepreneurship event has become one of the most important networking platform for business contacts in the west of Ireland,” says Maria Staunton, manager of the GMIT Mayo iHub.

“It’s a place to come and network with other start-ups and businesses and to learn from people who are starting out or who have successfully sold their businesses. This year we are looking forward to our speakers and panel discussions.”

The event is free thanks to the sponsorship from local multinational company Lionbridge.

The evening will conclude with questions and answers with the audience panel at 7 p.m.

For further information, visit, email or call (094) 9043198.