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David Manley – the Man behind the Awards

Everyone involved in the David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards is very excited about our new association with SmallBusinessCan.com!  So we thought we’d tell you a bit about the man who inspired our Awards – David Manley.

Dynamic, charismatic, giving, visionary, free-thinking, gregarious, sociable, fearless, courteous – and yes, even occasionally bolshie – this is how the many, many people who knew David remember him!

The core to David’s personality was passion – he loved business, loved the arts, loved sport, loved people – especially family and friends – and loved life. Sadly the latter was taken from him all too soon – he passed away on August 15th 2002 aged 50.

No idea too small
Challenging and exciting, full of opportunity and all about finding the right fit between people – this was David’s view of the world of business. Passionate about supporting fledgling entrepreneurs whom he saw as critical to Ireland’s economic success, no idea was too small if he saw potential in someone. He was eager to guide those who deserved a break in the cut-throat world of business. But he hated the ‘me-too’ approach and always tried to do things differently himself – and to instil that philosophy in the entrepreneurs he mentored.

And mentor people he did – in their hundreds – whether they were start-ups in business, the arts or in the social arena, he was excited by working with people with potential. He steered them in the right direction – but these entrepreneurs didn’t just thrive on passion and enthusiasm – David was rigorous about applying a practical business-like structure to all types of enterprise. He also helped by breaking down seemingly huge challenges into smaller, manageable and much-less-scary mini projects!

For the love of sport
David’s great sporting love was motor sport – he drove in Formula 3 and Mondello, the Phoenix Parkand Kirkistown provided a regular outlet for his energy!  He had four race victories in his Mallock U2 car in 1976 and became the first Irish driver of his generation to race in Europe, where his victory in Nagaro, Francewas his proudest moment on track.

Off-track, his Red Arrows team set new standards of professionalism and he was quick to understand sponsors and their needs. He played a pivotal role in persuading  committees to saveMondelloPark, rescue the Phoenix Park Races and he contributed greatly to rallying inIreland when insurance problems arose.  Using his wide network of contacts in motor sport, he brought world class drivers such as the late Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Jackie Stewart toIreland. The Dun Laoghaire Grand Prix in 1987 would have been impossible without him.

Did this man ever sleep?!! He also:

  • was chairman of Business To Arts;
  • was a member of many business and professional bodies including the Trinity Business Alumni and the TCD undergraduate association, Foresight;
  • was CEO for the ‘Not For Profit Business Association’;
  • co-developedEnterpriseIreland’s Mentor Programme
  • was a board member of St. Patrick’s Festival.

The David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Award
After his untimely death in 2002, a group of friends and colleagues decided that David’s generosity of time and extensive mentoring of entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors should be recognised.  And so – with the help of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin Business Innovation Centre, Business to Arts and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland – David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards were established.  www.davidmanleyawards.ie

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