SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur and investing dragon Barry O’Sullivan is in Cork this week to encourage aspiring business people to learn by doing.
The Douglas native, who has been a part of Dragon’s Den for the last four seasons, is delighted to be returning home for the Cork University Business School (CUBS) Conference, taking place in Cork Opera House on Thursday.
“I am a UCC graduate and try to support my alma mater whenever I can,” Mr O’Sullivan told the Evening Echo.
Titled ‘Workforce of the Future’, Thursday’s conference is open to both students and the business community. Other speakers include Founder of Boutique Bake Catherine Buggy, CEO of TAPSTAK Michelle O'Donovan and Kevin O'Leary, CEO of Qumas.
Mr O’Sullivan is looking forward to it.
“It is focused on business and new ways of working and I have a lot of experience in that,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be an interesting day. The topic is, for entrepreneurs especially; the importance of learning by doing and trying different things and learning from it. I honestly think that is the best way to learn and it is the right approach. Start doing something and see where it takes you, learn as you go along. If you spend too much time planning and not doing you will never get anywhere.”
He knows plenty about success in business having built technology company Altocloud into an industry-leading provider that was last week taken over by global giant Genesys.
“We are delighted to announce last week that the company was acquired by a Silicon Valley company called Genesys,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“It is a fantastic outcome for the founders [of which he is one] and employees.”
He is no stranger to growing companies having been investing and mentoring for several years now in his Dragon’s Den role. He counts a number of Cork-based companies among his many successes.
This includes Health and Safety Publications, a business which provides texts for training people in everything from forklifts to safe lifting in hospitals.
Mr O'Sullivan said, “It is based in Mallow and is really focused on giving trainers the best books. MD Marek Szepietowski is selling them all over the UK and Ireland and has really grown that business from nothing to a very successful business today, based in Mallow and employing a good number of people. A fantastic success for him and his wife, a Cork woman.”
He was also an investor in in Trustev and Pat Phelan, who he describes as 'a fantastic entrepreneur and a great guy.'
“Pat sold the business a couple of years ago and got a great return for him and his team," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Maybe one of those listening in Cork Opera House on Thursday can become Cork’s next big success story, he added.
The CUBS conference will run from 9.45am to 3.45pm on Thursday, March 8. Student tickets are priced at €10 each, with corporate tickets available for €50, including a light lunch.