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Programme Manager Name: Nick AllenWhere are you from and how did you get here?

I was a course developer and training programme manager with Digital Equipment Corporation in the 80s. Then a management consultant with General Electric and EY in 90s, Director of Strategy for a management consulting start-up in London city, followed in the noughties by having my own business in Ireland offering career coaching, business analysis and bespoke entrepreneurship programmes.

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

For aspiring entrepreneurs, the ability to think strategically does not require an MBA or indeed any formal business training. What it requires is the desire and drive to succeed in any venture in life. A critical factor in driving successful start-ups is creating an inclusive and supportive environment where facilitating clear thinking in the promoter is the primary objective, helping to drive incremental, goal-focussed progress. In particular, to support and mentor the promoter to visualise critical milestones and to develop a laser focus on crossing the next hurdle. You cannot teach people to be successful – but you can facilitate and guide their progress to achieve goals by staying strategically focussed.

This is what I love doing – supporting promoters and helping them succeed by learning to think and act strategically in everything they do.

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

Following a stint as a visiting lecturer with UCD Innovation Academy, I became very involved with start-ups and early-stage businesses in general. My experience and skills to date all seem to come together in the New Frontiers model, which is unique.

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

Strategic thinking, empathetic approach with promoters, and a desire to get the best out of people and see them succeed. I really enjoy seeing people make the significant jumps in confidence and ability which is required when you’re starting out on your own. I believe that we have a serious responsibility to believe in people when they join our programme. This in itself is reinforcing for participants – they get energy and enthusiasm from the positive and encouraging atmosphere which we engender here in Athlone and Maynooth.