Fergal Keogh is an example of Back for Business in action. His story demonstrates that it is not only those who return from living overseas, while still in their twenties or early thirties, that can successful start a new business on their return.
Fergal returned to Ireland in his late fifties following a successful career in the Middle East. While in a position to retire, he felt the need to continue to engage with the world of work and decided to pursue that ambition by creating a new business.
“It was very clear to me that getting another job now that I was over 50 was going to be much more difficult. I decided to leverage my years of commercial experience and use it to get a new business started. After all, there is only so much golf you can play!”
Looking for opportunities for a new venture in a range of industries, in 2004 Fergal Keogh saw the opportunity for pilot training. He knew that he would need a partner with the requisite technical skills. Hence he joined forces with Sé Party, an airline pilot. As it happened Sé was younger and so a partnership based on strong technical and commercial skills had the additional advantage of combining youthful enthusiasm with years of experience at a very senior level.
Fergal Keogh believes that those who have gained senior corporate experience overseas often do not realise the value of their own experience and skills, until they get the chance to apply them. “Younger people haven’t had the benefit of having made all the mistakes that we have along the way…. and learnt from them.” In Fergal Keogh’s experience, an older experienced person with strong commercial skills, partnering with a younger entrepreneur, often brings a form of comfort to the banks and other financial backers than might not
be there otherwise.
Fergal Keogh thoroughly enjoyed his new second career as an entrepreneur. “Starting a business on my return from the Middle East turned out even better than I could have imagined at the time. Establishing Simtech was great fun and a source of real stimulation. It offered me the possibility of creating something from scratch and offered exciting new opportunities. ” he says. Having sold the business earlier this year, Fergal is now set to retire for the second time.
Fergal Keogh, chief executive and founder of Simtech, has created a purpose built aviation centre of excellence for airline personnel and career pilots close to Dublin airport.
Simtech employs over 20 full time and approximately the same number of part time highly specialist administration and technical personnel. The company provides aviation flight simulation and aviation training for major airlines and helicopter companies in Europe, Middle East and further afield
The recent acquisition of Simtech will see further investment being made, which will provide a platform for growth into the future.
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