Cork knowledge driven companies, with support from many local organisations including the Genesis Enterprise Programme (GEP), based at the Rubicon Innovation Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), are leading the region’s recovery from the recession.
A CORK based entrepreneur and businessman has developed software which helps voluntary organisations comply with ever increasing amounts of time consuming and often complex statutory regulations.
According to Bob Gee, owner and managing director of Volunteer Toolkit, people in the voluntary sector are becoming more and more swamped by the amount of paperwork they have to do in order to ensure that they meet the conditions they have to operate under.
Their great work was in providing a huge range of services, everything from sporting outlets for young people, assisting the disadvantaged and promoting the arts, but they were finding that they had less and less time for these core activities because of the amount of regulatory tasks they were faced with. They wanted to be free ‘to do more of the good stuff ’ they volunteered for in the first place, according to UCD graduate Bob.
His software, comprehensive and time saving, was easy to use, effective and reliable. Organisations which failed to
show that they were complying with the regulations would be in trouble, he said. He quoted a recent speech in
which Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the Government wouldn’t continue to support voluntary
organisations which failed to demonstrate good governance.
Now his Volunteer Toolkit software has caught the eye of the judges in the ‘innovation that matters’
initiative being run by it@cork, in conjunction with Bord Gáis Networks, Cork County Council and (IT)
consultancy firm, Barlogue Consultancy, Rochestown Road.
The winner of the competition, to be announced next month, will receive funding towards the cost of
taking part in a Council organised trade mission to Chicago early next year.
Kildare born Bob said he was particularly delighted to be one of six companies to be shortlisted for the
top prize as it was only recently that all the elements of his software had come together.
He also praised the support he had received from the team at the Genesis Enterprise Programme (GEP) at
the Rubicon innovation support centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
Set up 14 years ago, GEP has supported almost 200 entrepreneurs in starting their own businesses. More
than 50% of the businesses are trading internationally, with 40 designated as ‘High Potential Start-Ups’
by Enterprise Ireland. Bob, now in the process of getting feedback from volunteer groups on his programme, said the GEP team couldn’t have been more helpful. it@cork champions success of knowledge-based firms
Bob Gee owns local Cork company, Connect Promotions, together with his wife Tricia. Connect supplies
promotional products sourced from around the world and has customers throughout Ireland. Bob is a member of the
board of management of St John’s Central College and has also served on the boards of a number of voluntary
organisations. He previously held a number of senior positions at EMC, including director of production and director of