The one minute interview – Marion Walshe

Marion Walshe is the regional manager of Plato in Dublin. Here she describes what Plato does and why small business owners join the programme.

Marion Walshe Plato

Plato is a business support network for owner-managers. Every year, 80 owner-managers from small businesses (of all kinds) take part in the programme.

All the companies are post-startup, they have to be at least two years running with two or more staff. We have had companies that were 20 years running. Support is an ongoing requirement for business owners at every stage.

The eternal struggle of the small business owner-manager is not having enough time, or resources, to work on their business. Plato aims to help by giving them a confidential support service, networking opportunities and business development training led by managers from large ‘parent’ companies.

Plato also gives owner-managers an environment where they can meet and learn. They can meet once a month for three hours. The programme runs for 18 months. There is a cost of €600 per owner-manager.

I think there is a feeling among small business owners that things are improving. Many of the firms we talk to are now preparing to hire new staff.

The large ‘parent’ companies that provide mentoring support to the participants include DCU, Dell, Ericsson, ESB, IBM, Microsoft and Pfizer.

The next Plato programme starts in April 2016. It is fully subscribed. For more information on future programmes, visit

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