Who can apply?
The PLATO Cork programme supports any existing small or medium business.
Whats in it for me?
For a small programme fee, you will have access to a support package to the value of approximately €3,000, although some past participants say you cannot put a price on the value of the PLATO Programme.
What training opportunities are there?
In addition to monthly group meetings and one-to-one mentoring, it is anticipated that a number of group training sessions will be held periodically depending on the groups training needs. The PLATO Cork team and Parent Company will work closely with the group to identify shared training needs either within the group itself or common needs across the entire network. Member companies across all groups will be encouraged to attend training events providing an excellent platform for inter-group networking and business development.
What cross border trading opportunities are there?
The PLATO concept was imported to Ireland back in the 1990s from Europe. The PLATO model is also active in other parts of Ireland and Europe with PLATO Cork working directly with several other PLATO region to strengthen the value of the network for member companies.
PLATO Cork is a cross border initiative allowing companies to share experiences, networking opportunities and training excellence. As a PLATO member, you will be encouraged to participate in regular inter-regional activities allowing you to network in a safe, controlled and informed way. Cross border events will also allow you to make new business introductions and to further develop business linkages and alliances created as a result of being in the network.
Who are the Plato Parent companies?
A unique aspect of PLATO Cork is the participation of large local parent companies that act as group leaders offering participants access to the full range of management expertise and a new ‘sounding board’ for making management decisions. Parent companies benefit from new linkages to local supply sources for products and services, as well as the opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to the economic development of the local region. Parent Companies represent the full range of management areas: personnel, marketing, accounting, finance, engineering, production, quality control and sales
How much does PLATO Cork participation cost?

A minimal participation fee is required which is dependent on the number of staff & annual turnover of a company.

How much of my time will PLATO Cork take up?
PLATO Cork is designed not to intrude on the management of your company. A commitment to attend three-hour group meeting, once a month, is requested. There will also be a occasional evening seminars and/or workshops to attend. You may wish to devote extra time to individual discussions arranged by your Group Leaders, but that is at your discretion.
How does PLATO Cork ensure confidentiality?
All Parent Companies and Group Coordinator sign formal agreements protecting your confidentiality; this ensures that all discussions protect your company’s interests.
Who from my company should take part in PLATO Cork?
PLATO Cork caters for the development of the principal decision-maker within small companies. This is usually the owner, company director or general manager. If there are two directors who jointly manage a business, we encourage both to participate in the PLATO programme.
Who else will be in my group?
The programme is open to all SMEs across all sectors (subject to approval by Board). The PLATO Cork team will endeavour to ensure that each group is made up of SMEs from a variety of sectors. For clusters, companies from the same sector may be encouraged to join a cluster.
When are the group meetings held?
Each group, with its Parent Companies and Coordinators, will agree a time and day each month that best suits all members of the group.
How do I sign up for PLATO Cork?
You can contact PLATO Cork directly at info@platocork.ie or 021-4211433.
I am a large company… What role can I have in PLATO Cork?
PLATO uses a ‘parenthood’ networking principle, where senior managers from large companies host regular meetings for the SME groups over the 18-month period. Executives from these large companies provide senior management expertise and experience on a voluntary basis.
What is the time commitment?
PLATO Cork is designed not to intrude on the management of your company. The three-hour group meeting, once a month, is mandatory for the large parent company. You may wish to devote extra time to individual discussions arranged at your own discretion.
Who will I be working with?
As a parent company you will be working with various SMEs from a range of business sectors.
Is there training for me?
It is envisaged that the parent companies will be invited to attend training in order to network with those involved in PLATO Group Programme Activity. Parent company representatives will also have additional opportunities to attend training and trade events organised by the PLATO Cork Programme, which will provide the parent company with a networked forum for developing links with other such organisations.
What does my company gain from involvement in PLATO Cork?
PLATO Cork provides a unique opportunity for executives from major companies (in their role as parent companies) to gain practical experience of the challenges facing small business, while improving their learning across all fields of business development. Group leaders are typically Managing Directors/Senior Managers within their own organisations and represent most of the main business functions: finance, marketing, sales, personnel, operations and quality.
In summary benefits to the Parent companies are:
-Exposure to Entrepreneurs / New Thinking
-Corporate Social Responsibility Recognised
-Access/linkage to local supply base
-Commitment to local economy
-Two-way Mentoring Develops Company Management
-High profile community involvement
-Key insights into the SME sector
-Favourable publicity
What do I gain from involvement in PLATO Cork?
The individual from the parent company will have obtained unique insight and experience into the challenge facing SME owner managers and how to respond to them. This enhances their own standing within their company and helps to improve the public image and profile of the company in the community. These benefits will all contribute in a direct and tangible way to the growth of indigenous industry and increased employment.
How do I sign up for PLATO Cork?
you can contact PLATO Cork directly at info@platocork.ie or 021-4211433.