“After all…tomorrow is another day!”

The literary heroine best known for her procrastinating ways is without a doubt Scarlett O’Hara. Uttering lines like “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about that tomorrow” she surely is the queen of procrastination. Well, that’s what I thought until I was asked to write a blog at work.

I work in Macroom E (www.macroom-e.com), an enterprise centre where we offer space and support to start-up companies and small businesses (as hotdesks, small offices or industrial units), as well as renting our conference facilities to companies. We also run a number of projects such as the E Centres projects (a cluster of enterprise centres in Cork County www.ecentres.ie ), the Greenshoots Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme (a programme aimed at start-up companies to help them get the best start for their business www.greenshootscork.ie) and SMILE (a free service for business to encourage the sharing and exchanging of resources in order to reduce costs and help the environment www.smileexchange.ie).  We also have a monthly networking event for businesses to make contacts called CONNECT.

We have found that social media is a great platform to promote our services and our work. To that end, we’ve all been asked to contribute in the form of a blog and that’s why you are reading this today. No doubt you’ve enjoyed my colleagues’ past efforts and the most recent blog written by Michelle showed that she too suffered a small attack of the procrastination monster! So a sense of dread filled me at a staff meeting today when I was told that my turn has finally come.

And now I had to find a subject to write about. One of my first ideas was to relate my trials & tribulations as a working mother of 2, a subject that seemed fitting when I was first approached to write this as I was just back from maternity leave. However, the idea slowly faded as the weeks went past & I still hadn’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were). Indeed, my baby son is almost entering the realm of toddler hood and my daily routine is well rehearsed, hardly worth mentioning in a blog!

After today’s staff meeting, when I was told I couldn’t put it off any longer, I thought I’d write about procrastination. By the sound of it, it shouldn’t have the negative connotation it carries. Indeed a lot of words in business start with the “pro” prefix and they all have a positive association: professional, proficient, proactive, to name but a few. These words are always used on many CVs and most episodes of the Apprentice (Irish and British versions alike).  Even in everyday life, we find examples of “pro” words in positive context. For example your yogurts give you loads of good bacteria, probiotics.

Our trusted Wikipedia source (what would we do without them???) informs us of the etymology of the word:

“The modern term comes from the Latin word procrastinatus, which is the past participle of procrastinare derived from pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow). Though descriptions of procrastination appear in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman texts, it first appears by name in the English language in 1548 according to the Oxford English Dictionary.”

So there you have it, procrastination has a long and distinguished history. Indeed with ancient civilisations already indulging in it, pushing things forward to another day seems to be part and parcel of the human condition.  This definition of the word also happens to fit our Scarlett (and me it seems!) down to a T!

Well it makes me feel better anyway, to know that I’m not the only procrastinator out there.

Now I just have to think about the subject of my next blog but to be honest, I can’t think about it right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow…

Magali Bolger


To blog or not to blog that is the question!

After the recent excitement in our office with the expansion of the SMILE Resource Exchange initiative outside of Cork into Limerick, Clare and Kerry and following that our successful, first event in Kerry, I have finally got five minutes to think about my first blog! The first of many or my first and last? The power of blogging, only time will tell!

Well everywhere I go these days everyone is talking about Social Media.  And I am beginning to get the feeling that Social Media is going to be like the internet or our mobile phones and that in time we won’t be able to live without it!  So better to dive in and get the hang of it so I won’t be left behind!!

If I was looking for signs then I only had to look at the feedback from our most recent SMILE event in Kerry where social media featured very strongly in how the 50 businesses in attendance had heard about SMILE Resource Exchange.  To fill you in briefly for those of you who have not already heard about SMILE Resource Exchange, it is a business initiative that combines enterprise and the environment in a unique and innovative way and we here in Macroom E are delighted to have the opportunity of project managing it.  We connect businesses and organisations through our website www.smileexchange.ie, our networking events and also through assistance by our support team who I will introduce in a moment.  We hope that by connecting different types of businesses that they will find opportunities to exchange resources that will both save them money and help the environment by diverting waste from landfill.  We also want to help any budding entrepreneurs out there to see if they can come up with ideas to turn the waste items posted by businesses on our website into a resource.  Click here to see the resources available. And all this is offered to businesses for FREE due to the support of the Environmental Protection Agency, Cork County & City Enterprise Boards, Cork County & City Council, Limerick/Clare/Kerry Regional Waste Management Office, Kerry County Enterprise Board, Clare County Enterprise Board and Limerick County & City Enterprise Boards.

So now that you know what SMILE is all about let me introduce the SMILE team who will each be taking the opportunity to blog in the coming weeks.  First of all there is Adam who joined us almost 6 months ago now and is our social media King; Katherine who joined us on a college work placement but who was so good we asked her to stay; and then John who joined us through the JobBridge programme and who brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his Environmental Science Degree.

We are all busy in the office now planning for our next SMILE event in Limerick on 23rd November.  Watch this space for more updates on what we are doing and for details on our next event in Cork on 29 February 2012.

So what do I think of blogging after writing my first blog?  Do you know I actually kind of like it!!  Don’t tell the boss though as she might start asking us to write them more often!!!!  In the end it only took 30 days to think about writing it and 30 minutes to actually write it!!!! Oh no am I a procrastinator????

Michelle Green

Work Placement at Macroom-E

Having returned from the UK, seeking work and broke but happy to have the experience on board, I began the task of job hunting in Ireland.  And it was a challenge, a struggle to find
suitable jobs in Ireland to apply for – not to mind making the interview stage! I was at my wits end! Being a native from the depths of North Cork (and 24), I was looking to broaden my horizons and was researching job opportunities in Cork or Dublin.

Taking the advice which is being circulated at the moment by the media and politicians, the work placement option seemed the most appropriate route to take to build pragmatic work experience in post Celtic Tiger Ireland. Hence I began looking on the FÁS website and I spotted this work placement in Macroom-e.

Macroom-e is a dynamic enterprise centre, dedicated to help and support start-up businesses in the Lee Valley region. The centre is situated in an industrial park just off Macroom suburbia. I must admit when I first saw the Enterprise Centre – spaceship came to mind! Completely not what one expects – its architecture is unique in the locality.

Macroom-e Enterprise Centre

That is the great thing about Macroom-e – full of surprises! The innovative architectural design personifies the thought, projects, and successes which are achieved within the centre. It is a positive sign that Macroom-e and the Lee Valley region are looking to the future!

Macroom-e is an ideal starting point for graduates and/or postgraduates seeking practical and useful work experience which may be applied to future work situations. The work placement option also allows for exposure to the creative side of Ireland’s corporate/enterprise sector. Greenshoots is a programme running here which supports budding entrepreneurs. If one has ambition, vision, and work ethic along with a realistic business idea, then Greenshoots is for them! Plug.

To give an example, brainstorming meetings with various stakeholders such as the Cork County Council is great experience as it allows interaction and a certain amount of networking to be established. It also can be a frightening one though … being afraid of heights and a nervous
wreck on the fourteenth floor of County Hall in Cork was an experience not to be forgotten!

Meeting people with different interests and from different professional backgrounds is always stimulating and work placement is a fantastic place to experience this. Going to connect networking events is great because it allows to show how business people, whether they are sole traders or companies. Even sitting down with people using the facilities of the enterprise centre, you become aware of the variety of services which are in the area and the opportunities which are out there if you just pursue them. This is what graduates and postgraduates need, exposure to such business people, networking events and the corporate/enterprise environment to help bridge the gap between university and becoming a professional.

So, that’s just a little bit about my work placement here. If you’re interested in the facility itself, check out www.macroom-e.com
along with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!

Thanks for reading my first blog! James Buckley


On Saturday the 24th September, www.wastematchers.com (a Macroom E project) (wo)manned a stall at Norma Smurfit’s Spring Clean for Charity event at Cork City Hall.

The aim of the event was to raise much needed funds for St. Vincent de Paul Cork by selling unwanted household items, collected over the preceding weeks from the generous householders of Cork.

As the date became closer and the boxes and suitcases full of treasure flowed in the door of Macroom E Enterprise centre and stacked up under the stairs, I couldn’t help thinking that we were collecting the glamorous remnants of Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Brand new designer clothes (still with their tags on), every imaginable kitchen and garden gadget (still clean and shiny), games and toys in their unopened boxes, discarded furniture and fittings (didn’t quite fit with the new colour scheme) and jewellery and shoes in abundance all made their way into boxes and onto our stall.

Oh those were the days…where all this new stuff was snapped up with gay abandon and the confidence of a lottery winner!

The would-be new owners on Saturday, in stark comparison, were prudent in their decision making, carefully examining each item before bargaining (yes really! Us Tigers, it would seem, have finally learned the art) and parting with their cash. Some even bargained themselves out of the spirit of the day: “€2 for these earrings? You must be joking!!” Well, it is for charity after all lady, c’mon!!!

Nobody was skulking in, embarrassed to be seen at a shock-horror-bric-a-brac-second-hand-sell-your-granny event. Far from it: at 10am, the queues were around the block to Eglantine Street before the jovial shoppers burst in the doors at 11am ready to rummage.

Was it just me or was there an overall sense of relief that there were no Joneses here to be kept up with? A guilty confirmation of that sneaking suspicion that a handbag could not possibly be worth its former €800 price tag?

I hope so…designer handbags for €5? I’ll have two please!

Catherine Costello


All about Macroom E…from chopped carrots to Flash Gordon

This is my first blog for Macroom E so excuse me if it is not racy enough in its first edition, it will, I hope, improve with experience!  I was given the job nearly 8 years ago of setting up Macroom E and so for an opening I’d just like to tell you about what it is that we do and introduce you to the crew here who will join in with their blogs in future editions – I bet you can’t wait 😉

Eight years ago, I was working as an operations manager in Dublin and I can remember sitting at my kitchen table in Sandymount, chopping carrots (as one does) and seeing an advert in the Irish Times for a project manager post with Macroom Environmental Industrial Park.  Being a Corkwoman, I thought that maybe it was time to go home and so I dusted down my CV and sent in an application.  I followed this up with what I can only describe as the worst interview in my life with me playing the lead role (full of ‘I don’t really knows’ and ‘why would you want to do that’s’) which mysteriously resulted in me being given the job.  So in short at Christmas 2003, I packed up the car in Sandymount and arrived home.

I knew that the job involved setting up an enterprise centre and on Stephens Day I jumped in the car and drove to Macroom where I peered through some fencing at what is the quite novel looking Macroom E building.  To give you an idea of the word ‘novel’, someone who was coming to meet me said that they stopped an elderly man to ask him where the building was and he scratched his head and paused and then said ‘Ah you mean Flash Gordon’s Building’.  Did this make me the new Flash Gordon?  Not really the kind of image I was going for but there you go.

Macroom E Enterprise Centre

Macroom E had started due to a big company in the locality closing down (General Instrument) and a task force (including the usual suspects of Cork County Council, EI, the Enterprise Board, the Town Council and the local business group) came together and the enterprise centre was built as a result to nurture home grown businesses and to help employment.  I, myself, had studied sociology and rural development and had up until this point worked in business so this type of work appealed to me.

In May 2004 we opened our doors and I am happy to say that there has been a lot of growth during this time.  We have had some really interesting clients over the years, some of whom have remained friends of the centre and of mine personally.  Some have gone on to bigger and better things, some have happily sold what they started, some have learnt the lesson that starting a business really isn’t for them.  Some come back and talk to the start-ups about the pitfalls and good practice.  Some still come to the Christmas party, get drunk and decide they love everyone.

So in a nutshell what do we do?  1) We run an enterprise centre which offers a place for entrepreneurial people to base themselves with shared services; 2) we run programmes, training and networking events to give businesses support 3) we promote the benefits of environmental good practice to businesses.

In terms of programmes, we have started the Greenshoots incubation programme to give start-ups the best chance of getting going which includes free office space, overheads, training, mentoring and coaching.  One of the most important parts of which is how these groups support and help each other.  This is managed by Catherine Costello who similarly was sitting somewhere (not chopping carrots) and decided to answer my advert and arrived full of beans and smiles.

We run a programme called SMILE (Saving Money Through Industry Links and Exchanges) which aims to help businesses to exchange usable resources which would otherwise be waste www.smileexchange.ie.  This is managed by Michelle Green who was interviewed and started in a flash – but not like flash Gordon in any way 😉  She has been joined by Adam Shanley, Katherine Corkery and John O’Dwyer.  They will tell you all about themselves in their blogs too and they are a great bunch.  They are currently expanding into Limerick, Clare and Kerry so the pool of businesses to network and share resources is growing all the time.  We also have a domestic waste swapping version of this project called www.wastematchers.com so if you have household items it’s worth posting them here or looking for stuff that other people have posted.

We run a business networking event on the first Wednesday of every month called the CONNECT Business Network – it is a bit like musical chairs for grown up’s where people get to introduce themselves and their service/product to a table of 4-6 businesses.  All are very welcome to come to this and it is a great way for people to get to know each other.

We have all types of space – meeting rooms, training rooms, office space, industrial units and hot desks (rent a desk on a short term basis).  This is coordinated by Magali Bolger, who it is hard to believe is a French woman except when she pronounces Beal Na Blath!

Building on the success of the E Centre, Cork County Council (our main stakeholder) has decided to fund business/community groups in the County who wish to start small E Centres in their localities and we are project managing this initiative for them.  So soon (fingers crossed) there will be lots more E Centres popping up around the County.  I am setting up http://www.ecentres.ie at the moment so check in and see if there is a centre starting near you or call me if you want to apply for funding to start one in your area.

In short, we are a busy hub of activity!

Maeve Bowen