David Connolly New Frontiers programme managerWhere are you from and how did you get here?

I am from Dundalk and was also a student of Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). I graduated from DkIT with an MBS in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and, while completing this, I also worked for the Regional Development Centre (RDC) supporting campus-based entrepreneurs through the Student Enterprise Programme. Following graduation, I worked in a number of enterprise development positions with multiple agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) of Dublin City and Cavan. More recently I undertook further studies through NUI Galway completing both a Postgraduate Diploma in Technology Commercialisation Management and a Master’s in Agricultural Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

What is it about business and start-ups that so interests you?

I am fortunate to have worked alongside a broad range of businesses from highly technical proposals seeking to commercialise innovative developments to assisting domestic companies seeking to export for the first time. Supporting innovative and ambitious businesses to deliver on their potential is something I find highly infectious.

When did you become a New Frontiers PM and what inspired you to become one?

While I started in the role of New Frontiers Programme Manager for DkIT/ DCU in September 2021, I actually have a much longer relationship with the programme. Across previous roles, I worked extremely closely with the New Frontiers programme run by Technological University Dublin. During this time, sat on interview and assessment panels, made presentations to the participants and provided funding advice. I always enjoyed watching the considerable progress participants make during and upon completion of the programme. Therefore, the opportunity to work together with participants was a natural fit.

What do you feel are the qualities you bring to the role?

Having managed a portfolio of clients across multiple sectors ranging from idea stage through to successfully launching internationally, I can bring guidance that will help participants gain as much as possible throughout the programme. I also bring a deep knowledge of the domestic and international startup ecosystems, having held voluntary positions on initiatives such as Director of StartUp Grind Dublin and Pre-Accelerator Programme Manager of the Founders Institute Dublin.