A project that has really captured our hearts is www.restart.how. Togehter with Irish partners Letterkenny Institute of Technology and EU colleagues in Spain, The Netherlands and Bulgaria we are putting second chance entrrepreneurship to the fore. Sheer grit, determination and entrepreneurial spirit was on the menu at the Irish Restart Multiplier Event at CoLab, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, on March 9th 2017. 

The 50+ strong group of delegates heard from second chance entrepreneur Sandra Walsh of Canopi Sleeves, who, when recession hit, was forced to close her fashion boutique in an affluent Dublin suburb.  Undeterred, Sandra spurred on by self-belief, determination and the support of her family, rejuvenated her career by designing an innovative product Canopi Sleeves which is now stocked in high end stores such as Harrods and Brown Thomas. 

From fashion to food, hailing from Co. Kerry, Dan O’Connor, a former carpenter and now owner of Brona Chocolates and John Paul O’Connor owner of the award winning Sasta Sausages and formerly in construction, gave a very frank and honest account of their experiences of businesses which were damaged beyond repair by recession. Both men, debuting as public speakers opened up about their respective journeys through restart entrepreneurship, the challenges they faced and the successes their hard work has now earned them in their respective businesses.  Delegates came away with a true sense of the restart challenge, the restart journey and inspired how restart success is all the sweeter second time around. 

The Ireland RESTART Regional Alliance took the opportunity to launch a key deliverable of the project –the RESTART Entrepreneurship Alliance Toolkit – giving the audience of former, current and aspiring entrepreneurs, trainers and coaches, financial institutions and business development agency advisors the opportunity to review and contribute to same.  The aim of the Toolkit is to provide a step by step guide to assist regions throughout Europe to set up Regional Alliances to stimulate second chance entrepreneurship and provide a nurturing enterprise eco system to support second chance  entrepreneurs in their own regions. The Toolkit is now online on http://www.restart.how/toolkit/.

Attendees also previewed and contributed to one of the training modules from the RESTART, THE VALUE OF STARTING OVER training course which will be launched in the coming weeks. The Irish RESTART Entrepreneurship Alliance continues to meet on a regular basis and provides a strong communication framework for the RESTART Project as it progresses to full launch.