Connemara Maths Academy : Smallbusiness interview West of Ireland

Hello all,

It’s been a busy weekend as I took part in the 5th Walking Festival on Inishbofin Co. Galway, and had an incredible time.  We are regular visitors to Inishbofin, but it’s the first time I took part in the Walking Festival. The weather was amazing, beautiful walks and great company! Check out the Inishbofin website and Facebookpage to keep informed of events, there is quite a few during the year. Below is a video I made of some of the pictures I took !
Read my previous article about Inishbofin here.

My next small business is located in Connemara, which is the area you need to drive through to get to Inishbofin. Let’s hear it from Aengus from Connemara Maths!

Aengus O'Connor B.Sc., D.L.S., M.Phil., P.D.E. Director, CMA
Aengus O’Connor B.Sc., D.L.S., M.Phil., P.D.E.
Director, CMA

Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.

I live in Connemara and run residential summer programmes for teens (10-17) at three centres in absolutely stunning locations along the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) at Kylemore Abbey, Glenstal Abbey & Killary Centre.

Can you provide me with a description of your business?

Summer Camps for teenagers where learning through discovery, creativity & adventure is the corner stone of our philosophy in a maths centered programme.

How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?

This summer 2016 will be our third season. We started in 2014 with two weeks and 40 students and are now open for 7 weeks. Our summer camps sold out last year and bookings are up three fold already this year. Are you ready to be swept away? Check out this video:

How did you get started in this business?

Having worked as a musician and with qualifications in Maths and Music performance & media technology I have always used music tech and media technology when teaching mathematics. When I returned to Ireland in 2012 I saw an opportunity to offer programmes that had maths at its centre through using creative technologies and adventure activities. It’s a great combination and kids have a ball. We have the latest technologies such as Virtual Reality where students will build their own virtual worlds.

Is this your full time job, a hobby or a bit of both?

Full time.

How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?

I spent many years studying and working! B.Sc (Maths); DLS (Law); M.Phil (Music & Media Tech); PDE (Maths). I worked as s teacher, lecturer, head of department & principal in UK for three years, Italy (3yrs), Switzerland (1 yr) & Syria (3yrs) while also working as a consultant in Saudi Arabia and UAE. International experience is vital I think.

How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? 

Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest

You may find our website here http://www.connemaramathsacademy.com/

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?

We see ourselves being the number 1 Summer Camp provider in Europe within the next 5 years.

Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?

We already do. 30% of our students are from over seas, US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Ukraine & Brazil.

How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?

Our business is dependent on technologies so it impacts is hugely. For example Virtual Reality ( VR) is now available at consumer prices so we can use this to great effect.

What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?

Connemara is in my blood and my family and I can’t imagine living anywhere else!

Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners? If so, where?r.

My business partner Kim Moran.

Kim Moran, Marketing Executive, Connemara Maths Academy
Kim Moran, Marketing Executive, Connemara Maths Academy

Can you describe your customers?

Happy students & parents!

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

We offer a unique programme with the very best teachers and the latest technologies. Our methodologies work and students benefit enormously from our programmes.

What are the biggest challenges for running this business?
Marketing.

What keeps you going, when the chips are down?

Marketing.

Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?

Yes. Learnstorm (formerly Mathletes)

Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

Exercise often & consult a mentor regularly. Always know how many sales you currently have & make sure your cash flow is secure.  Sales, sales, sales.

What did you learn from this interview?

That marketing is key while quality should never be compromised.

Please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland!  If you would like to be interviewed, please drop me an email to katleen@workinglivingtravellinginireland.com and I’ll be in touch.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook!

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