By @SimonCocking great interview with entrepreneur, angel investor and all round helpful person Mary McKenna who will be speaking at the Digitalweek in Skibbereen hosted by the Ludgate Hub, November 10th to 12th. To book tickets and see more click here.

How and why did you get involved with the Digitalweek event?

I was there last year for the inaugural event. I already had a ticket for Web Summit in Dublin but I’ve never been a fan of those huge impersonal conferences so when Dee Forbes rang me and told me about what the Ludgate team in Skibbereen were planning, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Coming from Donegal myself I’m always eager to see how other very rural parts of Ireland are re-inventing themselves.

Business Showcase event : National Digital Week, hosted by Ludgate Hub, Skibbereen

You attended last year, what did you find useful about it?

I thoroughly enjoyed last year. Digital Week is a shining example of what can happen when a large number of people in a small local community get together & put on their collective thinking cap as a starting point to find ways to kick start their local rural economy through digital.

IMHO every LEO in Ireland should send all their tech startups to Skibbereen this year because every single one of them will meet someone to pitch to, beg for a pilot from, ask for a sales meeting with, road test ideas on, sound out for a partnership with, get some advice from or chat to about potential investment.

In fact, I enjoyed last year so much I wrote it up as a blog 

What are you excited about for this year’s version of the event

I missed the Ludgate Hub official opening this summer so I’m excited to see how much progress Grainne, Callum and the team have made in the 12 months since I was last in Skibbereen. The media coverage of Ludgate has been phenomenal this past year and the folks have written the template for other towns to copy and learn from. I personally look forward to a future where our young people don’t have to leave the Irish countryside in their droves in order to have satisfying, fulfilling and financially rewarding careers.

What will you be talking about this year? 

I’m part of the funding session this year so I’ll be talking about what entrepreneurs and startups can do to increase their chance of catching and then landing an angel investor like me.

How has the last 12 months been?

I moved home to Ireland in May after almost 5 years in London so I’m getting more involved again in the Irish startup scene.

The Ludgate Hub is all about showcasing the value of more remote / rural locations, how do you explain the value when people ask about not being based in a major urban area?

I built my last business in Derry. In theory it shouldn’t be that remote but it’s still a 2 hour drive from Belfast and the same from the nearest functioning airport. I persuaded talent to move to the NW corner of Ireland by demonstrating to potential candidates the superior quality of life that’s possible – and by mentioning the beaches of course.

How can people find out more about you?

There’s more information about me on my LinkedIn profile  and at my blog at www.kickingassets.co.uk

Anything else you’d like to add / I should have asked?

My extra question Simon is “How can delegates attending Digital Week get more value out of the conference?”

My advice would be to do a bit of homework on the people taking part and perhaps reach out to a couple of them in advance with a specific ask, if you have one. The conference is very informal and you’re likely to find yourself in the bar beside all sorts of people – so practice your elevator pitch and be prepared to trot it out when you get an appropriate opportunity.

I ran some very popular entrepreneur one-to-ones last year and will do the same again this year. If any of your readers would like one of my 10 available slots, they should contact me & tell me how they think I can help them with 30 minutes of my time.

See more about Mary here

The best age to become an entrepreneur is 40. Mary McKenna, Irish tech entrepreneur, angel, trustee


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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