The Exchange 2015

On Thursday 26th November, 27 emerging entrepreneurs from across the Country assembled in the Radisson Hotel in Sligo to help their business grow at The Exchange, a collaborative event led by Ireland’s leading Entrepreneurs.
The Exchange, is a 24 hour residential business mentoring programme designed to transfer the knowledge, skills and experiences of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs on to the next emerging generation. The brainchild of Fergal Broder from Lotus Works, The Exchange is facilitated by Sligo Chamber and is supported by the Western Development Commission, The European Enterprise Network, IT Sligo and Westbic.
Upon arrival, the emerging entrepreneurs (the mentees) were briefed on what to expect and how to make the most of the opportunities that would present themselves over the next 24 hours. Mark Ganley, a graduate from the previous year’s event, explained how The Exchange had been transformative in the experience of his company, Contego Sports.
Over lunch, the mentees met up with their mentors and the afternoon was filled with a series of one to one mentoring sessions interspersed with talks on various subjects such as Looking after your wellbeing, How to sell to a multinational, Developing a value proposition and the basics of complex selling.
Prior to dinner, Joe Drury from the Wine Buff hosted a wine tasting session as a team building exercise. Dinner was in informal affair, with many mentors and mentees alike sharing their personal experiences of developing a business and how they overcame the various challenges involved.
The morning sessions again included one to one sessions interspersed with talks on Getting your Company Exit ready, Dealing with Change, Leadership, and how to maximise LinkedIn. The event concluded after lunch on Friday.
The Exchange was an enormous success. Every participating business described it as the most productive 24 hours that they had spent on their business. The fact that the mentors give of their time voluntarily and share their experience in such a personable and helpful way creates a dynamic of positivity and togetherness that is hard to replicate anywhere else.
On the following Monday, Minister Richard Bruton when launching the action plan for Jobs in the North West cited The Exchange as a model of best practice in entrepreneurial development. We know he’s right. To our mentors who gave their time and expertise so generously we extend our heartfelt thanks. To our mentees we wish you every success on your journey, satisfied that we have helped some way to grow your business. Together we are stronger.