PLATO programme – advice from fellow owner-managers and experienced managers in large companies

There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.

PLATO Business Development Programme


An 18-month business development programme that facilitates groups of 12-15 owner-managers meeting monthly, hosted and facilitated by large ‘parent’ companies such as IBM, Pfizer and Paypal. The programme aims to develop the skills of the owner-manager and the success of their business.


Participants can use their group as a sounding board for ideas or as an advisory forum to discuss specific issues in their business. The members of the group decide what issues should be on the agenda.


In addition to group meetings for owner-managers, there are a range of training modules and seminars which are open to all staff members of the participating companies.


The next PLATO programme starts on 11 April 2018.



The aim of PLATO is to help owner-managers to grow their business in a planned way. The programme has been rolled out across Europe and PLATO Dublin already has over 2,000 alumni.  


PLATO is funded by the four Dublin Local Enterprise Offices and supported by many of the most prestigious companies in Ireland.


Those who have completed the PLATO programme report:

  • Greatly improved management awareness and effectiveness
  • Greater business productivity
  • Increased turnover and profits
  • Increased employment



If you are interested in joining the programme, first submit your company details via the PLATO website. You will be contacted by a member of staff to arrange a meeting to determine your suitability for the programme.


The 80-90 participants in the programme are carefully split into groups of 12-15 (no competing businesses in the same group). Each group meets monthly for three hours. The meetings are held in the premises of PLATO parent companies at a date and time chosen by the group members. They are chaired and facilitated by Group Leaders from the parent companies and a range of business experts are invited as guests.


The cost of the programme is €600 for the 18-month duration.



If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:

  • The next PLATO programme starts on 11 April 2018. Places are likely to fill up well in advance of the start date, so apply now.
  • The programme is open to companies that have been trading for more than three years and have more than three employees.
  • Every effort is made to place participants in a group located close to their business.
  • Owner-managers who have completed the PLATO programme can opt to join past participants from other groups in an Advanced Group – either immediately or at a later date.
  • More information is available on
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SFA in the media
GDPR – The six legal bases for processing personal data
St Patrick’s Day 2018 – FAQs for this public holiday
Microfinance Ireland to make an additional €30 million available to small firms
SFA Business Connect - Aviva Stadium 01 February
PLATO programme – advice from fellow owner-managers and experienced managers in large companies
SFA team meets with Minister Heather Humphreys
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SFA GDPR Workshop **Save the date**
SFA Annual Conference **Save the date**
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