The cases are related to the enterprise issues faced by organisations and individuals from diverse industry sectors. The publication includes teaching material from the social enterprise sector to high technology start-ups, to student businesses. The cases are written by staff at the teaching interface, by recent graduates, and by experts and mentors involved with growing commercially-viable ventures. A significant achievement of this casebook has been to encourage contributions from practitioners who tend not to publish but have a wealth of experience in working in or with SMEs or charitable organisations. The first case in this book outlines the practice of ethical entrepreneurship, while at the same time building a lucrative market for Java Republic products. Operating in the food and retail sector, David McKernan is faced with some tough branding, production and market expansion decisions. In the second case, the Lenihan brothers have used their experience in the telecoms industry to set up Phones Made Easy in Kilmallock, County Cork.
The case documents how entrepreneurs must be ready to adapt to a changing marketplace and provides an insight into some of the challenges associated with franchising. Mcor Technologies is the focus of the third case. Here, the case writer portrays the story of a family business based in Ardee, County Louth, which strives to compete on the world technology stage with the likes of Sony, Motorola and Amazon. The MacCormacks risk secure jobs and more to fund their invention, the Matrix, a new 3-dimensional printer. Mcor Technologies is a perfect example of a disrupter; the MacCormacks demolished the status quo of rapid protoyping through additive technologies. The Galway Hooker represents the only case in this casebook written by a student. Founded in 2006 by two cousins, Aidan Murphy and Ronan Brennan, Galway Hooker is a brand of Irish pale ale brewed in County Roscommon. It is currently only available in Ireland on draught in pubs mainly in and around Galway, with selected outlets in Cork and Dublin. This case provides good insight into growth within a niche market. Amray Medical describes the journey of Helen Johnston, from radiographer to international entrepreneur.
Amray Medical manufactures a patented range of X-ray protection aprons for use by radiographers and is now a reputable niche player in the medical supplies industry. The Johnstons are a true example of entrepreneurial can-do attitude; Helen spotted an entrepreneurial opportunity and the company has been building on its key strengths ever since, over the last 20 years. Aiompar Logistics tells the story of the 'incubatee', Gerry Bedford. Gerry established Aiompar Logistics as a global provider of freight payment services and transport management solutions in 2005. This company increases the bottom-line performance of its customers through operational efficiencies. The case will be useful to those seeking to understand better the start-up processes leading to growth. The final case in the business section of this book is the story of SL Controls, a Sligo-based engineering company founded in 2002 by Shane Loughlin and Keith Moran, both of whom met at IT Sligo in 1998 in their roles of engineering lecturer and student. This case illustrates the challenges of bringing a new innovative process, DiVOM, to the marketplace.
In the second section of this book, social enterprise cases are presented. The first case describes the entrepreneurial journey within the community enterprise context. The industry sector is tourism. The case highlights the many key actors involved in community-based ventures and the need to make decisions based on multiple stakeholders. The case illustrates the difficulties of managing a venture with limited resources but emphasises the positives of working together and sharing resources in true community spirit. In the final case, the case writer provides an account of the inspirational Lifestart Foundation, which seeks to offer children a better start in life through education. Lifestart was established in 1980s by a school teacher, Sr Delores McGuiness, who commanded the support of numerous volunteers to grow the Foundation into a nationwide body. Although Lifestart is now a national charitable organisation, it continues to rely on its core volunteers, which presents all sorts of challenges in a voluntary sector with diminishing government sector funding. The story is a compelling account of the diverse issues affecting growing social enterprise ventures.