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Start-up Story: Afro-Eire

Afro-Eire is a new company passionate about African Music and Culture, and we aim to share that passion with schools, businesses and festivals through our high energy interactive workshops and Team-building services. My name is Paul McElhatton, I am the founder and director of Afro-Eire. I first travelled to The Gambia in West Africa overland through the Sahara desert in January 2002, since then I have returned regularly to study African music, work with Charity groups and conduct research as part of my Msc African Politics at SOAS, University of London.

In 2008, whilst studying full time in DCU I started teaching regular workshops about West African Drumming to adults in various locations in Dublin, I soon was providing regular workshops for schools, community groups and festivals. I also worked freelance as Team-building facilitator for a Dublin based events company providing drumming based activities for some of the largest National and Multi-National companies based in Ireland. I moved to London to continue my studies in 2011 and then on to Senegal until March 2014. I am now returning with zeal to launch Afro-Eire as a full time project.

Where we are now

We have recently launched a program of high quality African music, dance and culture workshops for primary and secondary schools. The second strand of our business which we are currently rolling out are the Team-building, Ice Breaker and Energiser sessions for enterprises. We are also actively involved in providing African themed music for a wide variety of events.

My business model has an element of social enterprise to it. More than just a profit making process I would like to share my positive journey through West Africa which has deeply affected my life. I regularly provide entertainment pro-bono for charities and I have a keen passion for facilitating migrant communities to share their rich and diverse culture.

What does the business need to grow

I currently employ several musicians and facilitators on a freelance basis, and hope to take on a part-time sales/administrator in the coming year. Currently I run every aspect of the business aspect of the business from sales to instrument repair. I have learnt that there are thousands of freelancers out there, and there is no need for me to spend several days trying to work out how to use Photoshop to get some quality promotional material.

Tips for other businesspeople

Just do what you love, people will pick up on the energy you give out and will naturally gravitate towards it.

There are plenty of professionals who can help you out, so surround yourself with the ones that believe in what you are doing.

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