New ways of working: Paul Keegan
Paul Keegan Volunteer business mentor
“I didn’t want to see my business experience go to waste,” says Paul Keegan, who volunteers his expertise with start-ups in north Dublin, through Tolka Area Partnership.
“I had a number of businesses in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, in fast food, grocery and the leisure industry, so quite a mixture.”
After returning to Ireland in 1997, he worked with Dunnes Stores, Costcutter, and then a wine and spirits company in Cork. When it went out of business, Keegan completed a master’s in business at UCC, and after his wife died and he moved to Dublin to be closer to family, he says he wondered what to do.
“I thought, what’s the best way to start? And the best way to start is to help people.”
A baby-clothing boutique, a coffee shop, a mobile fruit and veg business, an upholsterer and a company providing doves for release at funerals and weddings are just some of the businesses he has helped to get off the ground. He’s also involved in a renewal programme for Finglas village.
Now in his 60s, he’s sharing the lessons learned from a lifetime in business.
“You think you don’t know much until you work with a client and can give them ideas and they say, ‘Oh, I didn’t think of that,’ ” he says.
“A client might say, ‘I don’t know how to register for tax,’ or ‘I don’t know how to design an invoice,’ or ‘I don’t know how to do book keeping,’ and I’ll say, ‘I can help sort that out for you.’ ”
“I started in business myself and worked my way up, so I’ve experienced the problems and hurdles they’ve had.
“I love when clients become successful. You get more by giving than taking, and that sums it up for me.”