Transforming How You Think

Growing Your Firm Workshop

Starting a business and growing a firm involve different types of strategic thinking. One is about getting the business idea up and running in the short term. The other is about making the firm profitable over the long term.

There are many programmes available with well-known and standard frameworks geared to assist with the necessary organising, staffing, skills, techniques, networks, etc., for supporting start-ups and aligning the firm with external market conditions.

This workout focuses on the ‘next step’ by giving participants powerful concepts for thinking about how to best use resources already available within the firm to grow it.

They will explore with academic experts and highly experienced CEOs fundamental ideas about creating opportunities for growth.

The Workout is organised into four three-hour sessions. These can be delivered over two days or separately in sequence:



Prof. Connell Fanning,
Director, TKC



Dr. Gary O’Donnchadha
Dept. of Education & Skills



Michael Buckley
Business Adviser



Dr. Dave Kirwan
Managing Director, Bord Gas Energy

Who will benefit?

  • SMEs and Family-Businesses wishing to release the growth potential of their firms and people
  • Middle managers and aspiring senior managers who need their people to learn a set of essential concepts for thinking together about growing their firms
  • Middle managers and aspiring senior managers who need to take a ‘CEOship’ view of expanding and sustaining business
  • Organisations who want to foster team building through shared understanding about how to think about growing firms
  • Advisers supporting the start-up and growth of firms, such as consultancy, banking and finance
  • Policy-makers in state agencies and other development organisations and consultancies


The key ideas discussed will equip participants to think more clearly and effectively about:

  • Identifying and using the pool of internal resources of profitable opportunities to grow
  • Judging when it is necessary to employ entrepreneurial services and management services within the firm
  • Improving the quality of individual minds and the relationships between them
  • Understanding how unused resources within the firm can be powerful sources for innovation, expansion and creation of competitive advantage


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Professor Connell Fanning


Professor Connell Fanning is a business economist with a special interest in the development and application of ideas and the role and use of theories in business reasoning. He was Professor of Economics and Head of the School of Economics for 30 years at University College Cork (UCC). Connell has wide teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and in professional, executive and continuing education programmes.

He also has strong links with the business and external community. He has undertaken consultancy projects for businesses and public agencies, including the European Commission, has contributed to local and national Print, T.V. and Radio media on economic affairs, and has made presentations to a large range of public forums, conferences and seminars. He has published extensively on various themes, including John Maynard Keynes’ macroeconomic and business theory, local entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial renewal, worker management and labour-directed firms, Porter’s clusters theory, nurturing indigenous entrepreneurship and Penrose’s theory of organic growth of the firm.

Connell holds Primary and Masters degrees in Economics from University College Cork, and Masters and Ph.D. degree in Economics from Cornell University.


T:021 4658604

Michael Buckley

Business Adviser

Michael Buckley is Chairman of KKR Alternative Investment Managers and of KKR Credit Advisers (Ireland). He is also a Non-Executive Director of UK Asset Resolution Ltd, a Member of the Advisory Board of CapGen Financial (US) and Senior Adviser to a number of privately owned Irish based commercial firms in the software, professional services and retail sectors.He was also Adjunct Professor at University College Cork’s School of Economics. In the not for profit sector, he is Chairman of Irish Chamber Orchestra and serves on the Investment Committee of an international charitable organisation in the healthcare sector.

Michael has extensive experience in business in Ireland and abroad. He was Chairman of DCC Group (2008-2014), Senior Independent Director of DCC Group (2005-2008), Non-Executive Director of US based M&T Bank (2003-2012), Non-Executive Director of Bramdean Alternatives Ltd (2007-9), Group Chief Executive AIB Group (2001-2005), Executive Director AIB Group 1995-2005, Non-Executive Director of Singapore’s Keppel Tat Lee Bank (1999-2001), and Director, and subsequently Managing Director, of NCB Group (1986-1991).

In the public service arena, he was a member of Taoiseach’s Clearing House Committee (1987-1999),Chairman of Review Group on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector (1995-2002), Chairman of the Enterprise Advisory Group at the Department of Enterprise and Employment (2005-2007), Non-Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland (2009-2011), Non-Executive Director of the Custom House Docks Development Authority (1987-1997) and a Civil Servant in Ireland and in the EU (1967-1986).

He has a First Class Honours BA (1965) and MA (1970) from the National University of Ireland. His professional qualifications include CCMI (Companion of the Chartered Management Institute [UK]), MSI (Member of the Securities Institute (UK and Ireland), and FIB (Fellow of the Institute of Bankers (Ireland).


T: 021 4658606

Dr. Gary O’Donnchadha

Dept. of Education & Skills

Dr. Gary O’Donnchadha is Assistant Secretary at Department of Education & Skills, Ireland.

The Department of Education and Skills is a department of the Irish State with responsibility for education and training.


T: 021 4658606

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Dr. Dave Kirwan

Business Management

Dave is Managing Director, Bord Gais Energy Ltd.

Dave returned to the role of MD in Summer 2020. Prior to this, he completed a successful term in the UK as Managing Director of the UK Customer Operations and latterly MD of the UK Home business.

He is responsible for leading the Bord Gais Energy business through the successful sale to Centrica. Prior to the sale, Dave worked in Bord Gais Eireann for 15 years and was responsible for the launch of its Northern Ireland business, firmus energy, the development of the Whitegate power station and the acquisition and subsequent merger of the SWS wind business. Prior to joining BGE Dave worked in power generation sector for ESB/ESBI in Ireland, US and Vietnam.

Dave holds a BE electronics from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, he also holds an MBA and a DBA from University College Cork.


T: 021 4658606



Not currently on offer as an Open Programme.

Expressions of interest are always welcome.

The programme can be co-designed and delivered in-house for team development.

Talk to Us

Want to know if this programme is right for you or your organisation?

We’d love to hear from you.

Phone: 021 4658604 | 05 | 06

You may be eligible for CPD or other recognition for professional standards upkeeping. Contact UCC’s CPD Office for more information.