Dr Thomas Cooney Becomes President of European Business Council

29th July 2009

storyThomasCooney.jpgDIT Lecturer Appointed President of European Council for Small Business

Dr Thomas Cooney, of Dublin Institute of Technology, has become the first Irish person to be appointed President of the European Council for Small Business (ECSB).   ECSB is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to advance the understanding of entrepreneurship and to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in Europe. The organisation has over 400 members in 33 countries and it facilitates the creation and distribution of new knowledge through research and education across national and cultural borders.

Dr Cooney is the Director of the Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship at DIT.  In November last year, he co-authored a major report on ethnic entrepreneurship in Ireland. From a nationwide survey of 1,108 foreign nationals resident in Ireland it was determined that 12.6% claim ownership or part ownership of a business, a rate that is significantly higher than identified amongst the native Irish community. A profile of the ethnic businesses found that they are generally small in scale (64% have an annual turnover of less than €50,000), young in age, concentrated in the locally traded services sectors and operating at the margins of the mainstream economic environment emerges from this mapping of ethnic entrepreneurship in Ireland. The report found that ethnic entrepreneurship in Ireland in its scale and industry focus is comparable to international experience of ethnic entrepreneurship.

Dr Cooney has identified increased benefits to members and greater relevancy of ECSB’s work to the business community as the priorities for his two-year term of office. In addition to being President of the European Council for Small Business (2009-2011), he is also Adjunct Professor at the Turku School of Economics (Finland), a member of two European Commission Expert Groups, a Council Member of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET), and was the founding Chairman of Ireland’s Network of Teachers and Researchers of Entrepreneurship (INTRE). He is a former Visiting Research Scholar at Babson College (USA) and University of Durham (UK). He has researched, presented, and published widely on the topic of entrepreneurship, including the books ‘New Venture Creation in Ireland’ (with Shane Hill), ‘Irish Cases in Entrepreneurship’ and ‘European Cases in Entrepreneurship’ (with Rickie Moore). More recently Dr Cooney has helped develop a set of proposals for the adoption of a coherent entrepreneurship education strategy that would see entrepreneurship being taught in primary, secondary and third-level schools.  

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