Dundalk Institute of Technology

"Serial entrepreneur" John Teeling inspires and motivates students at DkIT

John Teeling's most recent venture is the local Great Northern Distillery.

Donard McCabe


Donard McCabe

"Serial entrepreneur"John Teeling inspires and motivates students at DkIT

DkIT Students with John Teeling as part of the Entrepreneurship Lecture Series 2018

John Teeling, one of Ireland’s most prolific entrepreneurs was invited to speak to students recently, as part of the 2017/18 Entrepreneurship Lecture Series which is coordinated by the School of Business & Humanities.

In his address to Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) students, he said “The world is going to be very different with vast opportunities over the next 30 years.” 

Teeling cited that by 2040, approximately 47% of all white collar jobs will no longer exist and many of the jobs that will be held by DkIT graduates in 30 years have not yet been completed. 

He pointed to changing demographics and advancements in technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence together with innovations in agribusiness and education  as creating new opportunities for young entrepreneurs.

Teeling urged students to explore opportunities in entrepreneurship, highlighting its strong importance to the Irish economy and continued job creation. He affirmed his belief that “entrepreneurship may be part of the Irish psyche” and pointed to the nation’s strong tradition of success in this area.

Teeling himself is a self-confessed ‘serial entrepreneur’, having established several companies in the oil and gas and resource sectors for more than 30 years.  

He is the founder and chairman of Connemara Mining, Petrel Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold, West African Diamonds and Botswana Diamonds all listed on the London Stock Exchange. He is also the founder and a former director of Kenmare Resources and a former director of Arcon. 

More locally, he founded the Cooley Distillery in 1987 which he sold to Jim Beam in 2011 for €72 million. His most recent venture is the local Great Northern Distillery, Ireland’s largest independent distillery, which John acquired from Diageo in 2013.

During the talk, Teeling said that there is rarely a ‘perfect time’ to set up a new business instead stating that“whenever you are ready is the right time”.

He confirmed that self-belief and determination are vital characteristics of any budding entrepreneur and he advised the young audience of four other components that are necessary to set up your own business - Vision, Resources, the ability to handle uncertainty and energy & perseverance

“Resources are money, people and technology,” said Teeling. 

“You can buy the technology, you can recruit people who share your vision, but there are only three sources of money for entrepreneurs: family, friends and fools.” It is important therefore that people believe that you are going to look after their money.

Business lecturer and lead organiser of the lecture series, Angela Hamouda had this to say about Mr. Teeling's visit,

“It is a huge honour to have esteemed entrepreneur and renowned academic, John Teeling speak to our students.

"As an Institute, we are committed to the development of a culture where entrepreneurial thinking is the norm, which produces graduates that are equipped with skills and mindsets that will increase their employability and their intention to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

"Entrepreneurial role models such as John Teeling are important to our students, and we hope that his words of encouragement and advice will help inspire some of the leading entrepreneurs of the future.”