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My Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011 – University of Ulster

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011 – University of Ulster


Eoin completed his MSc in the Distinction grade. Papers Eoin compiled to date during his Masters are listed below:

  • Masters Dissertation – Supervisor: Professor Audrey Gilmore

Title – National Strategy for Higher Education – Is Effective Enterprise Engagement Occurring at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire?

Presentation of my dissertation findings to Minister Bruton
Eoin presents a copy of his dissertation to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.


Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are under pressure to transform their activities, structures and management systems in response to an increasing range of contemporary challenges. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the dominant business form in Ireland and are key engines of growth in modern economies, research shows them to be a significant source of applied innovation and job creation. However Ireland remains an ‘Innovation Follower’ in European league tables partially because insufficient numbers of Irish SMEs engage in innovation and the professional training and development necessary for its exploitation. The Irish government sees the innovative, export led growth of indigenous SMEs as essential to building the recovery of the national finances and employment.

The recently published National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (commonly known as the Hunt Report) states that HEIs have a key role to play as innovation enablers for indigenous SMEs. It requires that HEIs reduce their dependence on the exchequer by prioritising the mission of engaging with the innovation needs of Ireland’s SMEs in a manner that creates diversified revenue streams for HEIs. However the Hunt Report has been criticised for a lack of empirical guidance on the quantum of such engagement or how it should be effected operationally.

In order to address this gap an exploratory case study is conducted at IADT. IADT is in an ideal position to respond flexibly to the Hunt enterprise engagement objective due to it being one of Ireland’s newest, smallest Institutes of Technology (IoT) with a recently appointed President from outside the Irish IoT sector, the nature of the disciplines it teaches in the key growth area of digital media and the institute’s stated pioneering culture.

In order to provide the research instrument for the study ‘effective enterprise engagement’ is defined as genuine collaborative activities occurring within an effective network which yield symbiotic outcomes to the participants.  The primary research comprised twelve in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants and decision makers drawn from IADT’s enterprise ecosystem over a period of three months in the summer of 2011. The primary research was supplement by two unstructured interviews with education policy experts and relevant secondary research.

To download a copy of the full research study please click on this link:

National Strategy for Higher Education – Is Effective Enterprise Engagement Occurring at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire?

The Taught Modules of the Masters are listed below:

  • Strategy Module – Supervisor: Dr. Adele Dunn

Module outline – The purpose of this module was to provide an in-depth understanding of the processes of strategy development and how they create and sustain competitive advantage.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Internationalisation versus Globalisation – A review of the report of the High Level Group on International Education”

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Association for International Education in Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, Dublin City University, Education Ireland.

  • Business Process Innovation Module – Supervisor: Professor Rodney McAdam

Module outline – An examination of the role of business process improvement techniques (such as Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Improvement) in the development of innovation and knowledge management in firms to build sustainable competitive advantage.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Business Process Improvement: How BPI and Knowledge management took Novara Technology from survival to success.”

  • Creativity & Innovation Module – Supervisor: Dr Mike Brennan

Module outline – The aim of the module was to introduce key concepts in the field of Creativity and Innovation; and to develop an understanding of how these can be managed from a strategic perspective.

Paper completed by Eoin: “The e-Learning sector in Northern Ireland – profile, innovation and opportunities”

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Momentum NI, Digital Circle

  • Entrepreneurship Module – Supervisor: Professor Pauric McGowan

Module outline – This module sought to build the students awareness of entrepreneurship and to provide them with a framework for engaging with and assessing the viability of an innovative project or new venture or the development of an existing one.

Paper completed by Eoin: This team assignment sought to identify the route to market for a financial payments security start-up. Eoin examined the social media route. “Is Social Media a viable route to market for a credit card security app

  • Business Development Forum – Supervisor: Professor Dr Adele Dunn

Module outline – This module aimed to provide participants with an in-depth appreciation of contemporary themes within business development and to illustrate how theory can be adapted for different situations in practice.

Paper completed by Eoin: It is not possible to provide this assignment publicly due to the confidentiality agreement signed by the team with the client company(a Web 2.0 startup providing apps for smart phones).

  • Global Marketing Module – Supervisor: Carol Reid

Module outline – This module examines the impact of economic, cultural, political, legal and other environmental influences on global marketing. Within this context how to identify and analyse worldwide marketing opportunities, devise market entry strategies and examine product, pricing, distribution and promotion strategies.

Paper completed by Eoin and classmates: “A PESTEL Analysis of Vietnam”

“Vietnam and International Education: A market entry strategy for Irish Institutions”:

Paper Provided by Eoin to: Education Ireland, DCU International Office, Higher Education Authority.

  • Research In Context Module – Supervisor: Professor Audrey Gilmore

Module outline – This module prepares the student for their dissertation. The dissertation serves to bring together relevant aspects of the course in the exploration of a marketing, entrepreneurship, and/or business development issue or problem.

Paper completed by Eoin: For this assignment I chose to examine a specific problem experienced in Northern Ireland where fear of failure and low perceived capability are leading to low participation rates in entrepreneurial activity in a key age cohort.

“Helping “The Troubles” generation in Northern Ireland think and behave more entrepreneurially

  • Marketing Management module – Supervisor: Dr Danielle McCartan-Quinn

Module outline – This module is concerned both with business philosophy and business function. The marketing process is concerned with innovation, change and a complex environment and the management of this process requires an analytical and universal approach.

Paper completed by Eoin: “Towards a précising definition of marketing”

Other Relevant Information

Eoin chose the MSc Business Development & Innovation at University of Ulster as it had been identified in research carried out by the Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative (entitled “Entrepreneurship Education in Ireland“) as an example of best practice in entrepreneurship education in Ireland.

Overall winner of the postgraduate award category in the 2011 University of Ulster Centre for Higher Education Practice Student Competition with his entry “Putting graduate education at the heart of an ecosystem”.

His thoughts on how a Business Masters best sits in an eco-system also featured in an article in Ulster Business magazine.He was profiled by the University in promotional material here

During his time at University of Ulster he served as SU Class Representative and was elected to the SU Campus Site Executive and the UU SU General Council as Graduate Students Representative. He was sat as SU Observer on the Board of the Ulster Business School meetings 2010-2011.

He also completed primary research for a number of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher research projects.


My time circling the planet

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Circling the planet in search of Innovative & Entrepreneurial ideas

Circling the Planet

When Eoin completed the sale of Novara and Omniserve he was faced with a decision as to what to do next. The warnings about the Irish economy issued by Paul Tansey’s 2005 (“Productivity – Ireland’s Economic Imperative”) study were coming home to roost, namely:

  1. Stark over dependency on construction for tax revenues and employment growth.
  2. Over dependency on the foreign multinational assembly operations for Irish productivity growth.
  3. Weak productivity in the large domestic services sector.

He decided that it was important to try and play his own small part in helping highlight potential positive directions for future Irish enterprise policy. Therefore he decided to make a research study the focus of his travels.

It is Eoin’s firm believe that large scale innovations in business processes will be ushered in with the advent of Web 3.0, the Semantic Web combined with the Mobile web, creating an era of intelligent applications capable of performing many of the routine tasks humans currently do. It will be a period of Schumpeterian “creative destruction”.  Traditional business models will be challenged and employment displaced. While Ireland has successfully attracted many Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 heavy weights (Google, Facebook, Amazon) to locate in Ireland, it is critical that Ireland build on this and stay at the forefront of thinking on how the Web, Society and Business will evolve during the major changes coming shortly.

Eoin set two objectives for his research,firstly to seek ways in which Ireland can stay at the forefront of Internet thinking (by meeting with Internet Institutes that are members of the World Internet Project around the world) and secondly to look at other potential 21st century industries for Ireland/innovative ideas. Third level education became the clear candidate as a major potential source of Irish knowledge economy jobs and income and he wrote a number of papers on this on his return. Accordingly Eoin planned his route to serve these research objectives.

Reports compiled as a result of this initiative:

“Internet Institute for Ireland – Research findings from members of the World Internet Project” : provided to Higher Education Authority, Irish Internet Association

“101 Entrepreneurial & Innovative Ideas from around the world”

Further reports compiled based on research carried out during Eoin’s travels can be found on Masters in Business Development & Innovation 2010-2011

Opportunities & Threats of Web 3.0 for the traditional service industry.


My time building Omniserve

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Omniserve (2007 – 2009)


As a result of carrying out an Enterprise Ireland supported feasibility study in 2007, in 2007, Eoin set about developing a business opportunity that would exploit the trend for rapid delivery of services that are traditional, cottage industry type services. His research led to a number of original discoveries that were published in the Enterprise Ireland Journal.

Through his customer exposure with Novara he identified an existing major market failing in the provision of starter websites to small businesses. The feasibility study found that this was the case throughout the EU. Small businesses currently experience a great deal of frustration in getting a website live. The reasons include the need for multiple face to face meetings with the designer, a lack of common agreement as to what constitutes an effective website (with the focus still remaining on Web 1.0 aesthetic factors rather than what business/payback the site generates) leading to a lack of appreciation on the part of small business owners as to how important a website is to their business.

Omniserve Xpress Creation Process is a new business model for the 21st Century. It delivers on the promise of Software as a Service as promoted by Salesforce.com, the promise of delivering immediate business infrastructure on demand. Through the combination of trained staff, virtual meetings and innovative inhouse developed software, the customer (without leaving their office) can be up and running with their high quality website in a fraction of the time taken by traditional providers, with a range of beneficial features included as standard and all at a fraction of the traditional price. It is truly a disruptive offering and was enthusiastically received by the media.

New business models that “productise” traditional services thereby creating jobs in knowledge centres (as opposed to traditional call centres), such as that created by Omniserve for web design, need to be developed urgently within Ireland as the health of the Irish economy depends on the percentage of Irish exports accounted for by the services sector doubling in the next 15 years (Source ESRI).

Late in 2008 Eoin sold the Omniserve business to the management team thus concluding the sale of 2 businesses in a year when general Mergers & Acquisitions activity was down 60%. He worked on a consultancy basis with the business into 2009.

My time building Novara Technology

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm
Novara (2000-2008 )Seeing great opportunities in the Internet revolution of the late nineties he took the courageous step of selling his share of the family jewellery business in 2000 to set up Novara.ie, thereby becoming the first in Ireland to sell a traditional retail business to develop a purely Internet business. He set about re-skilling himself for the new challenge by taking an evening course in Ebusiness development with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Board and a course in HTML coding in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
Starting from a spare bedroom in his house the new business got off to a rocky start. Established justas the “.com” boom was collapsing the Worldport data centre (where all the company’s servers were located) was closing with just 3 weeks notice, shortly after Novara’s services went live, a high pressure migration out of Worldport followed. Once completed a major renovation of the offices that Novara had contracted to occupy was commenced.As a result of taking hard decisions Eoin has built Novara.ie into one of Ireland’s top three hosting companies with in excess of 10,000 clients (including organisations such as Jurys Doyle, the Department of Justice, 98FM, EBS Building Society, the Department of Agriculture), won numerous awards and received plenty of press coverage and profiles. The high level of customer satisfaction and innovation stemed from the regular customer surveys carried out by Novara. In 2005 he acquired the business of Tornado Hosting Ltd.He has played an active role in the Irish Internet community serving as Director of the Irish Internet Association (completing a Guide To Domain Registration ) and as Vice Chairman of the ISP Association of Ireland (2004-2006).Eager to encourage the positive use of the internet in Irish schools and third level institutions Eoin established Ireland’s first educational website competition( the School & University Internet Awards, http://www.suia.org) in 1999 putting up £15,000 of his own money to get the Awards off the ground.He was awarded the Irish Domain Registry Internet Champion Award by the board of the IEDR in recognition for his work in establishing the School & University Internet Awards.Happy investors in Novara include Dublin Business Innovation Centre, Dublin City Enterprise Board and Bank of IrelandDigiweb, one of Ireland’s top 3 biggest ISPs, acquired Novara in 2008

At the time of sale Novara had grown to second largest hosting company in Ireland (overtaking Eircom in the process), was highly profitable with zero debt and had one of the best staff to sales ratios in the industry thanks to Novara’s considerable investment in in-house developed automation software. Novara also had a high staff retention rate and high staff productivity due to sophisticated processes for staff training and motivation.

John McCormack’s commentary on how Novara changed the face of the .ie domain registration industry in Ireland
“Commentary on the acquisition from Ireland’s respected hosting commentator John McCormack:”

Digiweb’s takeover of Novara has altered the Irish hosting business in that it is the first major takeover of a Tier 2 hoster. NOVARA.IE gives DIGIWEB an extra element – blue-chip credibility. While NOVARA.IE was not the cheapest hoster in the market it has built up a blue-chip client base.

Eoin’s message to Novara customers concerning the sale

My time as a county councilor

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm
Councillor Costello(1999-2004)Despite having been written off as a first time candidate he took the third seat in the Ballybrack 6 seater ward (in a field of 13 candidates) in the 1999 Local Elections thanks to an innovative campaign (which included an extensive door to door survey of local issues) that cost less than £1,000 in total to run.He established a world first by launching the first Virtual Clinic in 2000 using an implementation of live text chat. He also served as an advisor to the Fine Gael party leader on eCommunications for the party and drafted an internet strategy for the party’s online presence.As a County Councillor on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council he placed 224 Motions and 461 Formal written questions to the Manager and he campaigned for:Internet issues: Working in conjunction with the Library Association of Ireland, Eoin sought the introduction of a comprehensive programme for Internet access in the libraries managed by the council. He also lobbied the Department of Education to ensure that there was adequate provision of internet access for students in schools across the county. He also ensured that broadband was listed as an infrastructure priority in the 2004-2009 County Development Plan.Closure of Sellafield: He campaigned for the closure of Sellafield throughout his term, he organised a county wide petition which was sent to BNFL and successfully forced management at BNFL Sellafield to add Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to the list of parties to be included on all notifications issued by management at Sellafield.

Kilbogget Park: When he started on the council he made the improvement of Kilbogget Park (a former reclaimed dump in the centre of his ward) his top priority through campaigning for funding and keeping it top of the Council’s agenda.

Customer Charter: Bin collection in the county was one of the poorest performing services when he was elected. To ensure that constituents got the minimum standard of service they were paying for he successfully successfully implemented Ireland’s first customer charter for Refuse Collection Services, the first of its kind in Ireland. As a result written complaints to the Council about the bin service fell from 88 in 2000 to just 2 in 2004.


The County Development Plan
Affordable Housing: He placed 52 motions during the Development Plan meetings with a focus on providing affordable housing in the County. Motions placed by him successfully secured the designation of Foxrock and Killiney as conservation areas and the commencement of the designation of Killiney Hill as a Special Amenity Area. A motion placed by him also highlighted the lack of public access to the Development Plan meetings(there was public seating for only 12 members of the public for a county of 248,000 people).To try and ensure that action was taken on what he believed to be serious policy failings by the Dun Laoghaire Fine Gael Council group (in respect of Council party pacts and in respect of the need for adequate affordable housing in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Development Plan), he resigned the whip in 2003. As a result of his initiative Fine Gael National Executive adopted a policy of the vetting by the party leader of all local government pacts in the council elections of 2004. Eoin was welcomed back to the Fine Gael council group shortly afterwards.This led to 3 Fine Gael cathaoirleachs being in position in key high profile Councils around the country within a year of the 2004 Local Elections.He also wrote frequent letters to the Editor of the Irish Times

During his time on the Council considerable work was featured on his council website.

Due to work commitments he retired from the council at the 2004 Local Elections.

My time at Costello Jewellers Ltd

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Having spent 5 years on the Stock Exchange analysing how other people had successfully exploited business opportunities he decided to become actively involved in business and swapped managing millions for investors for the opportunity to grow the family jewellery business. He invested his money from London and started learning the business from the bottom up (starting with learning how to fit batteries and straps to watches!).

He set about re-skilling himself for the new challenge by taking the National Association of Goldsmiths Diploma in the Distinction grade, achieving the second highest result in Ireland.

While running the Cornelscourt outlet “Costellos Jewellers” he started Ireland’s first ever Scrap Gold Week in aid of St. Vincent de Paul. He was president of the national youth forum of SVdP in 1997. He also established Student Of The Year Awards in 14 of the area’s schools.

Industrial disputes at Dunnes Stores caused serious difficulties for the business resulting in it remaining closed for a period of time due to picketing of Dunnes by staff.

As a result of a robbery at the Bray outlet of Costello Jewellers he started a campaign to have CCTV installed in his home town of Bray, Co. Wicklow.
The successful campaign involved conducting a survey of Bray residents and a concerted campaign of raising the issue with the local media. A comprehensive document supporting the case for the immediate introduction of CCTV was prepared by Eoin for presentation to the Bray Urban District Council. The campaign came to a successful conclusion in 2000 with the provision of CCTV in Bray.

In 1999 he took the momentous decision to sell his physical business to invest in internet start-up Novara.ie.

My time working on the London Stock Exchange

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Within months of graduating from Trinity Eoin commenced work with stock brokers Panmure Gordon in London as Banks and Financials analyst, commencing work just 2 weeks before the Stock Market crash of September 1987. Subsequently he became a fund manager at Legal & General Investments. He set about re-skilling himself for his new career by taking the London Stock Exchange Securities Institute Diploma in the Distinction Grade, coming second highest in the UK in one of the modules. He also took the Stock Exchange Registered Representative exam.

At Legal & General he became a successful fund manager and rose rapidly to management grade with responsibility for managing funds in excess of £130 million. A key to his success was a software system he developed that tracked company announcements, bids and offers of share blocks, share prices (within buying and selling bands), changes in Analysts recommendations and company directors purchases/sales of shares. The composite picture of these different information sources gave him an advantage in his area of specialisation, investing in Small & Medium Companies where research wasn’t as good as for the FTSE 100 companies. At Legals he organised a business houses softball league for his colleagues in Hyde Park.

He regularly wrote articles on investment related matters and compiled a Mergers & Acquisitions guide for his department. The publication of one of his articles in the Investor’s Chronicle was to cost him his job in 1992. The early 90’s were an anxious time for investors with a number of spectacular bankruptcies amongst quoted companies. Anxious to help small private investors protect their investments he wrote a tongue in cheek article highlighting to small investors the tell tale signs that it is time to get out of a particular company’s shares. It was agreed with the publication that the article would be published anonymously however, due to an error in the production process at the Investor’s Chronicle, the article was published with his employer’s name credited on the article.

After a short period of suspension he was given his notice 10 days later. Given that the error had not been his fault he felt that he had been unfairly treated and he filed an unfair dismissals claim and won an out of court settlement. He entered the RTE PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Awards with a piece based on his experiences from this period.

Because it coincided with a number of similar incidents that year (such as the sacking of top city analyst Terry Smith for publishing the book “Accounting for Growth” ) it attracted a lot of publicity in the UK and the national and local Irish media.

As a resulting of achieving the Securities and Investments Institute Diploma he qualified as a member of the London Stock Exchange professional members body, the Securities & Investments Institute. He served on the Securities and Investments Institute Membership Development committee in 1991

My time studying at Trinity College

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Eoin graduated with First Class Honours degree in Business Studies from Trinity College Dublin. He was winner of the Anderson Gold Medal in his final year at Trinity for an essay entitled “An Appraisal of the current innovations in the Money & Capital Markets”.

As part of his degree he took the Computer Studies option. While looking for a subject for his final year computer programming thesis he noticed staff in the Faculty Office trying to reschedule a lecture for a lecturer that was out sick. It involved manually checking all the subject lectures of all the students to reschedule to a date that did not conflict with their existing lecture commitments or those of the lecturer, to find a lecture hall with sufficient capacity for the rescheduled class and to avoid conflicting with any tutor sessions. He realised that he could remove the tedious, repetitive routine of this manual procedure using a computer application. He therefore designed and built an application written in Prolog called the Faculty Advisor (PDF doc:62.9MB).

During his time at Trinity he wrote for the Trinity News for Ed O’Loughlin (editor). He also wrote for the Student Economic Review (PDF doc:3.99MB). : He served as Students Union class rep for three years, he sat on the Students Union Audit Committee, organised the ESS Faculty Christmas Charity Concert, the Sunglasses Ball and ran a soccer league for his year.

In 1997 he organised the 10 year reunion for his ESS class in the Pav

Good overview of search engine optimisation by John Caldwell

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

John Caldwell

Good overview of the High Potential Startup Programme at EI

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

HPSU New frontiers