An IT Sligo graduate is helping drive forward an award-winning, local start-up company that has recently gained national attention.
Shane Gillespie (pictured), a native of Bundoran, Co Donegal, joined Sligo-based henandstagsligo.ie as part of the government-run JobsPlus programme in January 2015. Less than nine months later, he had impressed the team so much that he became a full-time staff member.
“I started off as a customer service executive intern. It was a great time to get involved because the company was just starting off,” said Gillespie. “It was nice to be there from the beginning, as I was very involved and saw the business grow over the past few years.”
Gillespie, who graduated from the Bachelor of Business Studies Honours Degree at IT Sligo in 2011, said his studies have helped him transition into his role of Customer Service Executive and Product Development team member. “I work on the day-to-day enquiries, dealing with bookings and suppliers and I’m also working with developers based in Pakistan developing a bespoke database to help scale the business,” said the Donegal man. “So, the marketing, customer service and computer classes were particularly helpful.”
In October 2015, Gillespie became a full-time employee with Hen and Stag Sligo and he has been hugely influential to its growth. Joint founder Fergal Quinn said: “Shane showed great enthusiasm to learn from the start. He had a really great knowledge of IT to begin with and this was really useful in working with the software engineer to develop our bookings database. His input continues into 2018 with work on our new payment platform.”
The company has been gaining national — and international — recognition recently and has been featured in many media outlets including RTE’s Drivetime, the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, the Sunday Business Post as well as Bloomberg and the Times in London.
The hen and stag market is now seen as one of the main domestic tourist drivers for the town, bringing in an estimated €10 million each year. As a result, Hen and Stag Sligo recently won a Sligo Business Award for Contribution to the Local Economy. Gillespie added: “it was gratifying to win and good to see that others are benefiting from the work that we’re doing.”