Events this Spring in Dublin – funding, venture capital & family business

January 29th, 2015 No comments



Events for growing businesses in Dublin, Spring 2015

A couple of events in February and March in Dublin which may be of interest?

If you wish to meet, to discuss your business opportunities

email me or tweet @billylinehan

See you there!



1. Free and great for networking!

SFA Small Business Awards Showcase

Wednesday February 5th

2.30pm Open Exhibition to visit stands
5.00pm  Refreshments served
5.45pm  Speaker Presentations

To book—small-business-showcase-05-02-2015?OpenDocument



2. InterTradeIreland Funding for Growth

Finance options for growing businesses morning event

Tuesday 10th February 2015 – Croke Park Conference Centre



3. Good for networking too, but more importantly gives you an overview on raising finance for your startup or for growing your business

InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference 2015 

taking place on 11 March 2015 at 08:00 in The Helix , Dublin 9.




4.For Family Businesses, academic-ish event set up by DCU Centre for Family Business

The Family Business Conference  – morning conference, Tuesday 24th March 2015

Crowne Plaza Northwood, Santry, Dublin

Main speaker is Dr Timothy Habbershon the Managing Director at Fidelity Investments, the advisor to Johnson Family and the founding director of Institute for Family Enterprising based in Babson College, Massachusetts, USA,



To discuss how to overcome challenges and to refresh your ideas this year, you are welcome to contact me at



Wishing readers and clients a prosperous New Year

January 6th, 2015 No comments

News from the Celtar frontline

Welcome to the Celtar web blog if you have not been here before, and if you are a returned reader, thank you for visiting us again.

Our calendar is filling up with business mentoring sessions, quality management meetings, directors and management meetings, interview panels, strategic planning sessions and having conversations for action with new clients.

This month at Celtar we plan to move a few steps forward, and continue our work with business owners, directors and startups.

Our services fall into the following categories – there are many overlaps

  • business mentoring and advice for business owners and directors of SMEs (across sectors)
  • business mentoring for startups and early stage businesses (across sectors)

Specific services are

  • business plans for funding
  • business planning advice for managing your business better
  • strategic planning workshops & assistance in implementing plans
  • Business Reviews, holistic report on your company from external perspective with recommendations for growth
  • Business coaching your staff
  • Training (personal development training in a business context), performance management, effective internal communications


With 25 years of experience of working with the owners of great ‘small’ businesses, we look forward to continue to share our knowledge and experience in 2015.

We love variety, and believe that business owners are the sector specialists and that we are the specialists in working with business owners!

Here is a selection of companies and startups we advised in 2014

A transport website, an exhibition stand business, two website companies, an online learning platform startup, a materials handling manufacturer, a wig studio, a language school marketing company, a rock and quarry blasting company, a client management software app startup, a fashion agency, a professional audio company, a digital marketing agency, a fitness programme for primary school children, an environmental management consultancy, a recruitment company, a TV and film production company, a showbiz website, several different software development businesses, a PR agency, a retailer of audio and lighting equipment, a mobile ordering solution for restaurants increasing their sales,  a crowdfunding startup and a  Bitcoin startup.

Most of the above are well established companies, others are startups seeking investment from external sources.

We are proud to have partnered with Intertrade Ireland, Dublin City Enterprise Board and the Dublin City local enterprise office during the year


Fees are quoted per project.

One-off meetings may be charged for, please check beforehand. If a meeting  results in an assignment or programme of work, the fee will be refunded.

Enquiries are welcome, as business advice and business mentoring can be offered via Skype and email. We have one satisfied client in New Zealand.

Contact us today at

business advice from Dublin Ireland

Websummit 2014 is on! Guerilla mentoring is here!

November 4th, 2014 No comments

As well as attending the 2014 websummit in Dublin over the next 3 days, I will be offering free #guerillamentoring to any startups who are interested.


Tweet me @billylinehan so we can connect and arrange to have a coffee together.


Starting a business in Ireland? You might be interested in an objective view of the range of government supports, which ones make sense for your business at this stage?


Like all countries there are a plethora of supports for startups, most of value to specific groups BUT at the right place and more importantly at the right time. Some programmes are PR driven, whether supported by public or private sectors.


Me, I specialise in offering strategic planning through workshops, cooperative business plans &  business planning and practical business mentoring.

Enjoy the summit!


Celtar business and management consultants



4 Myths of Entrepreneurship, and Ireland

September 18th, 2014 No comments

With the advent of the most hyped web summit to date, it  is worth reflecting - based on solid research elsewhere - on the support for entrepreneurs and ‘ordinary’ businesses in Ireland.

Probably one of the most intelligent sources of research on entrepreneurship that I have come across in recent years emanates from the Kaufmann Foundation based in Kansas City, USA, says Billy Linehan of Celtar.


Dane Stangler of Kaufmann delights in challenging all of us in the enterprise support community – and Enterprise Ireland in our local context – by demolishing commonly held assumptions about

- small business and job creation

- the typical age range of successful entrepreneurs

- why governments and local authorities should stop trying to copy and re-create mini ‘Silicon Valleys’

- and that incubation centres are NOT effective in launching early-stage companies


I love this animated sketchbook, see it at–four-persistent-myths-about-entrepreneurship?



“There are several areas in which I think our research and the research of those we fund has been making headway in, if not disproving, at least pushing back against conventional wisdom or what turn out to be myths,” Stangler says in the three-minute animated video.

“Myth-busting Entrepreneurship,” notes four commonly held beliefs and attempts to set the record straight.

  • Challenging the notion that small business plays the most important role in growing the economy, Stangler notes that the age of the firm is a more important variable than the size of the firm.  “It’s new and young companies that create most jobs and innovations, not necessarily small companies,” he says. (This is accepted by most commentators in Ireland, except possibly ISME and the SFA?)


  • He cites multiple studies that refute the popular stereotype that most entrepreneurs are 23-year-olds starting tech companies in their local coffee shop or their bedroom.  “By and large,” he says, “the ‘peak age’ for starting a company is in the mid to late 30s, early 40s.” (majority of Enterprise Ireland startup support and PR has been targeted at young men in their 20s, though this is slowly changing)


  • Stangler warns against efforts to recreate Silicon Valley in the hopes of creating a hotbed of high-tech startups. “Silicon Valley is a very unique place that’s never going to be replicated.  We all need to stop trying to be a Silicon fill-in-the-blank, not just in the U.S., but anywhere around the world,” he says. (time for Enterprise Ireland, Dublin City Council, #startupireland and Dublin chamber of commerce to consider their approach to tech startups in Dublin?)


  • More recently, Stangler and the research team at Kauffman have been examining the role of business incubators to launch early-stage companies. “Most research shows that incubators are not effective at all for actually producing companies,” he says. (politicians will loathe losing the opportunity and kudos of creating bricks and mortar incubation centres all over the country, and Enterprise Ireland and Forfas might review their relevant investment and job creation policies)


Stangler concludes by acknowledging the importance of harvesting more research to uncover myths and propose constructive alternatives.

State agencies, colleges and state funded quangos in Ireland must continually review their enterprise development policies, justify their expenditure and demonstrate on our behalf the return of their investments .


See more about the foundation at


Billy Linehan is MD of Celtar, business advisers, Ireland


Thank you for reading

The One Hour Business Plan – practical planning for your business

June 14th, 2014 No comments

Introduction to the One Hour Business Plan

Preparing  a presentation on business planning I came across the idea of a One-Hour-Business-Plan. The blog post was written by Caroline Cummings who works for the business plan specialists, . She suggests that a channel Twitter approach could be used in writing a plan, with each section of less then 140 characters!

Writing a business plan can be painful: I don’t know anybody who likes writing their business plan, it is a task most people avoid till the last moment. The One Hour approach limits this pain, takes away the stress and gives you a worthwhile outcome.

Our Experience: There are a lot of benefits in writing a short business plan using the One Hour Business Plan model, and then expanding on it later. Achieving a quality result in a short time is great for those who have huffed and puffed about starting to write a plan, and find it a daunting prospect.

Business plan content should always be challenged and assumptions cast aside. So it  is beneficial to invite a friendly business adviser with an external perspective to participate in the planning with you. 


 Steps to create a one hour business plan:

  • Prepare by thinking about answers to the questions
  • Grab a whiteboard / flipchart / large piece of paper
  • Ask an independent business adviser to work with you, and facilitate the exercise
  • Start writing!


  1. A one-sentence description about your business. (Value Proposition)
  2. The “problem” your product is responding to by being in the market. (the Market Need)
  3. A description of your products (photos are always appreciated). (Your Solution)
  4. Who else in the market is doing similar things and why your products are better?(Competition)
  5. Who buys your products (or will buy your products)? (Target Market)
  6. How much does it cost you to produce one of your products? How much do your products cost, how many of them will you sell this year, and how will you make a profit?(Financials: Budgeting & Forecasting)
  7. How do (or will) you market your products? (Sales Channels & Marketing Activities)
  8. What are your business achievements? What are you working toward? (Milestones & Goals, past and future)
  9. Who are you, and why are you the right person to lead your venture? (Management Team)
  10. How much money you need to launch or grow your business, and what specifically will you use the funds for in your business? (Funding Needs & Use of Funds)

Positive result: A short to-the-point planof the business which can be presented to funders and business partners, and shared with staff and stakeholders.

Help! A friendly business adviser can facilitate the planning hour, ensuring all questions are answered & act as a scribe recording the content.


Sharing “Thoughts and Ideas about effective business planning” presentation by Billy Linehan of Celtar, for the Women’s Business Network sponsored by the Dublin City Local Enterprise Office, see . Seven business plans were created and presented during the evening.

Great night. Most informative and loved the insights from each table on the business plan exercise” attendee at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin, Monday 9 June 2014,  

Interested in creating your own One Hour Business Plan?

For individuals, startups, groups, companies – contact Billy Linehan at


Skype: celtar.inspire

Business advice Dublin Ireland