Key entrepreneurial traits of passion and energy can be acquired by anyone


“Ask people to name five leading entrepreneurs, the same names pop up repeatedly – -Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Michael O’Leary. Then ask what traits define them and it’s never that they had an MBA or came from a wealthy background; instead words like passion, energy, inspiration and risk are most commonly mentioned,” said entrepreneur Dr John McKeon.

Addressing the latest Irish Times Innovation Cities Roadshow event, held at NUI Galway, Dr McKeon said that these traits of passion and energy can be acquired by anyone regardless of their education or background. It’s these characteristics that can be developed and adopted by any business person.

Dr McKeon is director of Allergy Standards Ltd, an international standards and product certification body that is working with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America amongst others.

Products from brands such as Disney, Dyson and LG are tested by Allergy Standards in Ireland before bearing the Foundation logo when on sale across retailers in the US and online.

This is his third successful start-up and he spoke about his move from the medical profession to the business world and the challenges faced in securing finance and learning to accept setbacks and failures along the way.

“In the US to secure funding, most investors will want to see some start-up scar tissue – they accept failure over there and respect the effort, something we need to work on over here.”

Earlier in the event Dr James Cunningham, director of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation at NUIG, and Joe Greaney, director of Business Innovation Centre (BIC), highlighted the damage to Ireland’s nascent innovation and start-up culture from the property boom.

Both said opportunities now exist in persuading those with investment capital to become angel investors in local start-ups.

Previously their cash would have gone straight into further fuelling the property market.

The next roadshow event takes place on Friday at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick.