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Based in Galway - working with clients across Ireland.

About Donncha Hughes, Business Advisor, Galway

Photo of Donncha Hughes


A native of Tipperary, I live in Galway with my family. I am a self employed independent business  consultant, mentor and business trainer.


After studying in NUI Galway where I secured a Masters in Marketing, my first job was 18 months as Marketing Co-ordinator with Galvia Hospital, now the Bon Secours, in Galway. That was a very interesting first job as I was involved in a major strategic review of the future of the hospital. It included research with patients and with GPs. I also participated in the management strategy days.


IBEC was my next job. I spent 7.5 years working with the employers body. It was brilliant as I got to meet with all of our 500 member companies. I also networked with senior decision makers in the region. I learned all about business development, public relations and most importantly about compiling major economic reports. In early 2006, I was centrally responsible for preparing a major report on the potential impact of Open Skies on Shannon Airport.

In June 2006, I started as Manager of Limerick Institute of Technology’s incubation centre. During my four years, the Enterprise Acceleration Centre was very successful. In that time, Graham Royce and I established the LEAP programme. The other major highlight was the development of the Mid-West Entrepreneur Showcase which is now an annual event.

Since making the move to self-employment in July 2010, I have worked with some fantastic businesses. It has really pushed me to develop my skills and range of expertise. which now includes: web design, social media, some graphic design and Lean Startups, financial projections, tenders and grant applications.

The highlight of 2012 was the development of the training element of the New Frontiers Programme with Dundalk Institute of Technology working with Bridgewater; and the design and delivery of the Lean Startup @ GMIT programme.

2013 was equally busy and productive as I joined the external evaluation panel for Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund and got more involved with GMIT’s New Frontiers programme providing training on Lean Startup particularly the Lean Canvas as part of Phase 1. I also started contributing to Tweak Your Biz.

I have been lucky enough in 2014 to have been asked to work in depth with a small number of clients on HPSU funding applications and investor ready business plans. A highlight of the year was speaking to Conall O’Morain on the Sunday Business Show on Today FM. I find writing blogs to be very useful and was delighted that my post on Value Propositions was included as one of the first one published with the launch of the New Frontiers blog in late 2014 – to include a very well written Bio by Scarlett Merrill. While Startup Digest Galway also kicked off around that time.

2015 was another fantastic year. A lot of work happens on a one to one basis with clients while training programmes have been very busy. Along with Conor O’Donovan, the Startup Galway Pitches Meetup was formed (please note that Startup Blink later over the group). At that time it was an informal group that meets on the last Friday of every month (6-8 times a year is the plan) to assist members who want to practice a real ‘pitch’. On the blog front, I wrote a very popular article for Inspired on CSF.

2016 has been an extremely busy year. A highlight was working InterTrade Ireland as a business plan reviewer on the Seedcorn Competition. I spent several days in Newry reviewing lots of business plans – for those that apply the feedback process is very valuable. In conjunction with GTC in November, the Pitches Meetup held their 2nd annual Pitch Competition – a great event.

In 2017, I delivered the training and mentoring element of the LEO Innovation Investment Fund in the West region (Mayo, Roscommon and Galway) in October 2017. Attended by 15 companies, LiiF invested €25,000 on a matched basis in 7 of the businesses. I also delivered training for the Empower Start programme which launched that Autumn.

2018 saw the launch of my online training website. The first 3 programmes were CSF, New Frontiers Phase 2 and Financial Projections. I also secured a tender for 6 months to engage with LEO Galway clients on ‘portfolio management‘ – meeting some of their clients on a proactive basis to see what supports they could avail of. A big highlight of the year was being elected Chairperson of YAP and attending their annual Croke Park event.

Online Training by Donncha Hughes

3 Courses published in 2018

Thankfully business is very good – I am busy but not too busy that the service to clients is affected. I remain committed and totally interested in the work so here is to a busy 2019!



I have a huge interest in startups and SMEs. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who requires assistance in the areas of Financial Projections, Marketing, Business Plans and/ or from organisations who organise Training for startup entrepreneurs.


Please feel free to leave comments on my blog, follow me on Twitter or email to discuss how I can assist your business 



Donncha Hughes (@donnchadhh)

Startup Digest Galway Curator Donncha Hughes

Calendar of Events in Galway for Startups – part of Startup

6 Responses so far.

  1. Avril Webster says:

    Donncha – best wishes with your new business! I like your blog. Avril

  2. Once again I have had cause to call upon Donncha and avail of his expertise. And once again I have found him to go above and beyond my expectations with respect to his knowledge and how readily he can impart it, enabling you to grasp it more comfortably.

    In all his dealings and follow up assistance, his integrity and sincere interest in helping you to help yourself is second to none. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

    The fruits of his teaching and help?

    • Donncha says:

      Thanks Anne, I am happy to help. And I am delighted that some of my blogposts are useful.


      • Blogs are not only usefull Donncha, they are very informative too. Some things I read because I need find out how to do things, but others are very interesting to read and can quite often lead to ideas not otherwise thought of! Which of course means more work for me, but………..!!

        • Donncha says:

          Very interesting comment Anne, as a blog writer I am often asked how do I select topics to write about. The answer directly relates to your comment. Most of my posts follow training workshops when someone has asked a question that merits a long, step by step answer. Invariably the question will be asked again and I can refer people to my blog. Other posts are inspired by something interesting that I come across. When I write a blog, it feels like I have made my contribution. I am always thinking about what the reader will find interesting to read – positive feedback is reassuring and inspires further posts. It is interesting that i can go weeks without writing a post and then feel obliged to write several in one week because material for good posts comes along. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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