80 owner managers of small businesses are graduating from the Plato Dublin programme tomorrow, March 4th, with a focus on "real growth" within their businesses. The peer-to-peer business support forum has helped over 3,000 owner managers in Ireland and is supported by the Local Enterprise Offices in the Dublin region. Run as a not-for-profit organisation, large 'parent' companies such as IBM, Bank of Ireland, Paypal, Ericsson, Microsoft, Diageo and Pfizer facilitate group meetings, which take place all over the capital every month.

The graduation ceremony takes place at the 'Sustaining Business Growth Workshop and Networking Event' at Carlton Hotel near Dublin Airport, where the focus will be firmly on sustainable growth.

Marion Walshe from Plato Dublin explains: "Small businesses and Plato members have been telling us how growing their business and sustaining that growth has been a daily challenge for them. However, a lot of our members feel that they've 'turned a corner' in 2015 and they have a real feeling of renewed energy in their business. Through this Plato event, we want to celebrate the fact that Irish businesses are, once again, focusing on real growth. For real sustainable growth in the longer-term, you must have solid business strategies in place to begin with."

Two Plato 'graduates', Gary Matthews from Pristine Home, a home cleaning service and Tracy Leavy from Party Mad, a party supplies and costume retailer, are both presenting case studies at the event.

Damien O' Brien of SME Matters will be giving an insight into sustaining the momentum behind business growth; Declan Coyle, a leadership, training and development consultant, will be focussing on owner manager motivation levels, when driving change within a business.

The 80 graduates from the current programme will be receiving their certificates from John McNerney, the Chairman of Plato Dublin and the organisation is currently recruiting participants for the next programme, due to start at the end of April.

Walshe added: "Plato encourages participants to share experiences with other owner managers, stimulating new ideas and to supporting each other as they make the strategic decisions that determine how their businesses will grow. The programme is based on an effective partnership model, offering owner managers the platform to learn from one another and from some of Ireland's most successful companies."

Applications for the new 18-month programme close on April 10th and can be made on-line at http://www.platodublin.ie/new-members/ . The subsidised cost for taking part in the new programme is €600 per company.


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