Thursday, November 3, 2005
Business Connections : Vodaphone
Following on from the success of various American and British business-orientated television programmes, a new production arrived on Irish screens earlier this autumn with RTE's 'The Mentor'. Produced by Tyrone Productions, a series of eight self-contained shows, each episode saw business gurus Jay Bourke and Dr Jeanne Bolger guide a different company on their future path to success.
The businesses featured were varied, as were the talents of the two experts who helped. Jay Bourke is joint MD of Sherland Leisure, a successful entrepreneur who invested his own money in a bar and steadily grew the business to include nightclubs, restaurants and more bars around the country. His latest venture is the conversion of the old Bewleys on Grafton Street to something more profitable and contemporary.
Jeanne Bolger is Vice-President of Scientific Licensing with Johnson & Johnson - a very corporate position in a large, multinational conglomerate.
Over the course of each show, we saw the pair study and counsel each of the entrepreneurs who sought expert advice. The challenges were all different and the Mentors introduced participants to specialists who could help with their business issues. "I was impressed by the qualities of determination, commitment and risk-taking displayed by all the companies who participated," comments Jeanne Bolger, in retrospect. "And I was delighted that my background and insights were of potential value to small businesses."
Both Mentors were impressed by the drive exhibited by each of the businesses, and while all were commended, it would be hard not to have favourites. "I was particularly struck by the sheer grit shown by Des and Rosie of Broadway Bagels," says Jeanne. "This couple came into a business about which they knew literally nothing apart from their love of bagels. They had no background in large scale baking, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and I really commend that entrepreneurial spirit."
Both Mentors have learned from the experience themselves. And, just as with life, Jeanne sums it up well by saying "the show reiterated to me that most problems can be tackled with a pragmatic approach, a bit of honesty and an external view." In terms of Irish entrepreneurial spirit, it's safe to say the future's looking bright..
The Mentor was the successful RTE One programme that took Irish businesses across different industries and offered them advice