Dragons Den star
among speakers

Enterprising Donegal Business Week kicks off next Monday, March 7th, with a range of top business speakers including Dragons’ Den star Bobby Kerr.

Enterprising Donegal Business Week kicks off next Monday, March 7th, with a range of top business speakers including Dragons’ Den star Bobby Kerr.

The organisers have secured a wide and diverse range of speakers covering a range of core business topics and skills as well as providing inspiration and motivation.

Among them is businessman Bobby Kerr who says he got the business bug while helping his father run the four star Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny. At 16 he was introduced to the hotel kitchen where he sweated his way through two summers, learning some of the favourite game dishes that he still cooks today.

A career in catering followed, when he landed his very first job at AIB catering in Ballsbridge. He was soon travelling the globe, working as a chef on oil rigs in the North Sea and then onto Canada where he gained vast experience in stadium catering. He went on to co-ordinate catering for the 1 million people at the Pope’s visit to Canada in 1985.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Donegal he says some of the advice he will be giving local entrepreneurs is that they have to have belief and “100%” commitment to their business.

“You have to truly believe in what you are doing and you won’t succeed if you are not 100% committed. You have got to be ready in the early days especially of working at the expense of everything else going on in your life and you should be prepared to do that. You get a tremendous sense of excitement and self satisfaction making a business successful – the highs are very high and the lows are very low. Often you are the only one who believes in what you are doing and that sense of isolation can be the biggest challenge of all.”

Bobby spent 13 years with the Campbell Bewley Group and set up PERK coffee shops in Dublin, before selling the brand to Insomnia. Bobby reinvested all the proceeds of the PERK sale back into Insomnia and became a shareholder and CEO. Since 2004, he has led the expansion of the business from 17 to 50 shops and increased turnover from €5 to €13 million. In March 2010, he changed his role from CEO of Insomnia to Chairman to allow him to concentrate on his ever growing portfolio of business.

The Dragons Den star will join a number of well known business figures who will address the local business community all throughout the week.

For more information visit www.donegalenterprise.ie