SME Engagement for Skills and Growth

SME Engagement for Skills & Growth Event in collaboration with Dublin City Council as part of Start-up Week Dublin


  • Dublin region accounts for over 30% of the total employment in Ireland
  • SME’s account for 69 per cent of all active businesses in Ireland

22nd October 2019.

Over 70 attendees gathered in Wood Quay venue for an event organised by Dublin Regional Skills Forum (DRSF) in collaboration with Dublin City Council as part of Start-Up Week Dublin, to bring together SME businesses and education providers (FE & HE) in supporting skills needs. The event MC was Siobhan O’Shea (Director CPL) – Chair Dublin Regional Skills Forum.


Photo Caption Left to Right: Colin Keogh Co-Founder StartupWeek Dublin, Natasha Kinsella Dublin Regional Skills Manager, Siobhan O’Shea Chair Dublin Regional Skills (CPL Director) and Norman Thompson Economic Development Researcher, Dublin City Council

Today’s event offered an opportunity for SME businesses to gain insights from other SME organizations who have engaged with educational providers to address skills needs and skills development.

Some of the challenges facing SMEs in engaging with training and education include cost, access to the relevant resources and the right connections. This event from DRSF partners offered the opportunity to address such challenges and to develop strategic connections within the Dublin region. 

The positive result of such connections was highlighted by the line-up of industry speakers who shared how they have enhanced their own people’s capabilities, and business growth through skills development. Embedding a culture of lifelong learning remains a priority for the Dublin Regional Skills Forum and will remain an ongoing priority in supporting SMEs.

Engagement by employers and particularly the SME sector with educational providers to offer work placements for students is also a key focus. Not only do work placements offer companies access to talented individuals, bringing innovative and entrepreneurial ideas but they also offer a pipeline of future talent. As expansion demand arises from continued growth in economic activity, an adequate supply of skills is needed to be available to support it. It is estimated that, in the Dublin region, growth will result in an additional 15,000 persons in employment annually.

Siobhan O’Shea, the Chair of Dublin Regional Skills, noted: “By bringing together key stakeholders, businesses and educational providers, we can help each other develop new skills and engage in new meaningful business relationships. I am already seeing clear outputs through DRSF working with the Regionals Skills Manager, Natasha Kinsella and all the Forum Partners, to building real impact as part of the plans set out within the national skills strategy and Future Jobs to make it a reality for education in Dublin.” 

Mary Mac Sweeney, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Economic Development at Dublin City Council explained ‘As Dublin continues to be a hub for employment and enterprise creation, skills development among entrepreneurs, SME’s and microenterprises is vital to both maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the city and region. On account of this, Dublin City Council is delighted to support both this important event and the Dublin Regional Skills Forum.

Our MC for the event was Siobhan O’Shea CPL Director as the Chair of the Dublin Regional Skills Forum. Our SME Business examples showcased as part of the event included: Natasha DRSF Explore Initiative / Tadhg Foley – Solutions Director Kedington / Mark Keegan – Stacks Pharmacy Group / James McCann - ClearStory International.


Photo Caption Left to Right: James McCann ClearStory International, Norman Thompson, Dublin City Council, David Pollard Co -Founder StartUpWeek Dublin, Natasha Kinsella Dublin Regional Skills Manager, Siobhan O’Shea Chair Dublin Regional Skills (CPL Director), Mark Keegan Stacks Pharmacy Group and Tadhg Foley – Solutions Director Kedington.

All key Business Presentations below:



DRSF Chair & Stakeholder Videos 



Acknowledgment to:

Zahra Media -Videography

Conor McCarthy- photography


About Dublin Regional Skills:

The Regional Skills Forum is a Department of Education & Skills initiative bringing employers and education and training providers together to collaboratively develop skills across the Dublin Region. A Collaboration of Partners managed by Natasha Kinsella RSFM within this Dublin Regional Skills Forum includes:

Educational Providers:

City of Dublin Education and Training Board, Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board, Dublin City University, National College of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, TU Dublin (City/Tallaght/Blanchardstown Campus), Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology, National College of Art and Design and Skillnet Ireland.

Working in partnership with other industry bodies including:

DSP, IDA-Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, National Disability Authority, IBEC, Local County Councils, Local Enterprise Offices, ISME and Dublin Chambers of Commerce.

About Startup Week Dublin:

Techstars’ Startup Week Dublin powered by Dublin City Council is a 5 day series of free events that celebrate Dublin's startup community.

 Over 3000 attendees are expected to take part in over 80 events across 37 venues during the 21st - 25th of October 2019.

More information and the schedule can be found at



Natasha Kinsella Dublin Regional Skills Manager Email:

A special Startup Week Dublin edition of the Dublin Economic Monitor - featuring the events schedule and articles on Dublin’s enterprise ecosystem including an article by Natasha Kinsella – Dublin Regional Skills Manager is available at:

For more information contact


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