Consultant looking to invest in Derry start-ups with ‘mini Dragon’s Den’

John Buckley
John Buckley

A semi-retired consultant has revealed he is looking to invest in local start-up businesses after he and his Derry-born wife moved from France to the city.

Jane Buckley returned to live in the north-west after over 30 years away from the city with husband John, who has a wealth of business experience, 18 months ago.

John said he has really fallen for city, region and its people and wishes to give something back.

Mr Buckley, who was born in Cork but grew up in London, said he now wants to help local people by putting up funding and providing advice and support for business ideas.

He is also considering hosting an introductory event followed by a ‘mini Dragon’s Den’-type event in Derry city centre in the near future so people can pitch their plans in person.

“Since we’ve been back I’ve really taken to the city and the people,” Mr Buckley said. “Jane and I have just been talking about what can we do more for Derry.

“I did a lot of work for start-up companies in my previous job with PA Consulting Group., and the idea came up: can we, in some way or other, help people who want to start up their own business with some sort of seed corn money. Have they got a good idea? Are they are interested in taking their idea forward but need cash to take it forward?”

He said that as an investor he also wanted to bring business acumen and advice as well as finance to the table to help give fledgeling businesses the best chance at success, and is hoping to touch base with the local education, business and tourism sectors as well to help identify potential projects.

“Derry is a terrific city,” he said. “I think it’s under-exploited. I know there are other things going on and it is getting better, but how can I and my wife help develop some of the ideas that are here?”

Mr Buckley said they wanted to invite people along to an event to come and tell them their idea, how they have formulated their plan and look at a partnership to take that forward.

“It’s sort of like a mini-Dragon’s Den,” he said. “It could be anything; anything that seems to be a good idea and if it helps to create jobs or interest in Derry, even better.”

Mr Buckley is an independent semi-retired management consultant and is on the board of two housing associations in Ireland. He has a wide range of experience assisting with start-up companies and served as a Director of Kentech International, who specialise in the provision and maintenance of electrical and instrumentation services to the gas and oil industry in UAE, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mexico.

He has also been a consultant to Washington DC-based venture capital company Paperboy Ventures, which invested in start-up ventures, and with PA Consulting Group, one of the world’s leading independent management and technology consultancies.

Anyone with business plans that they are developing is asked to contact John at: bring.it.on.derry@gmail.com