DIT opens Training Centre for Minority Entrepreneurs

New DIT training Centre to unlock the potential of minority entrepreneurs in Ireland

Pictured at the launch were Prof. Tommy Cooke, Head of DIT’s Community Links Programme
and Jim Smith Educational Development Consultant at Steljes Ltd with
DIT students Mona Ibrahim, Mayank Dhaundipal and Anna Egan.

25 March, 2010

The Dublin Institute of Technology yesterday launched an exciting new training centre specifically designed for potential entrepreneurs coming from disadvantaged or minority communities.  Titled the Community Enterprise Training Centre it is the first centre of its kind in Ireland and is the result of collaboration between DIT, Hewlett Packard, and SMART Technologies.

The Centre was officially launched by Ms Una Halligan, Government & Public Affairs Director, HP and Chairperson, Expert Group on Future Skills Needs.   Speaking at the launch, Una said:  "The need for this centre is clear. Minority entrepreneurs are an essential part of the business community and vital to the Irish economy.  By addressing and supporting their needs, new businesses will emerge from this training centre to go on to contribute to the economic and social fabric of our country.”

People who fall into the minority entrepreneurship category include people with disabilities, ethnic communities, women and the over 50s.  According to Dr Thomas Cooney, academic director of the Institute of Minority Entrepreneurship at Dublin Institute of Technology; “Minority entrepreneurs in Ireland face a number of problems when starting and trying to expand their business. Many of these problems are, of course, the same as for any entrepreneur. But some problems are specific to minority entrepreneurs or effect minority entrepreneurs more”.   

For example, issues such as racism, language barriers and social exclusion can make it difficult for entrepreneurs from minorities to start up businesses.  In addition, a survey by DIT’s Institute of Minority Entrepreneurs last year showed that one of the biggest barriers for minority entrepreneurs starting up businesses in Ireland is the difficulty in raising finance.  They are also less likely to have role models, an element of entrepreneurship that is highly underestimated. Moreover, research in other countries has highlighted that entrepreneurs from disadvantaged or minority communities suffer from a greater lack of experience in managerial capacities and lower levels of educational achievement due to their social circumstances than experienced by mainstream entrepreneurs.

The new training centre, located in DIT’s Aungier Street campus, has been developed to encourage and support potential minority entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice.  The state of the art training centre is equipped with the latest technologies including a SMART interactive whiteboard and a mobile suite of Hewlett Packard laptops that contain specially designed software to enable participants to learn IT skills while simultaneously working on their business idea.   In addition to this equipment, DIT has established a range of training courses designed to address some of the specific needs of minority entrepreneurs.   The first course begins in April and will run for ten weeks. For more information see www.dit.ie

Further information on the collaborating organisations:


Pictured at the launch were President of DIT Professor Brian Norton,
Una Halligan, Government & Public Affairs Director, HP
and Prof. Tommy Cooke, Head of DIT’s Community Links Programme.


Pictured at the launch were Dr Thomas Cooney,
academic director of DIT’S Institute of Minority Entrepreneurship (IME),
Peter Smith, Director, IME and Professor Brian Norton, President, DIT.

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