Donna Ahern talks to Richard Glavin, commercial director of Linked Finance.
How would you describe your role?
I lead the sales and partnership account management teams at Linked Finance, one of Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer digital lenders.
To date, the company has supported over 3,000 Irish SMEs to secure loans throughout the country.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
I worked as a kitchen porter in a busy restaurant.
It was here that I learnt the importance of hard work and the value of teamwork.
Collaboration and synergy with colleagues makes life and work more rewarding.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is exciting to be part of a fast-growing disrupter in the Irish lending landscape.
Linked Finance prides itself on the speed, simplicity and service provided to thousands of Irish SME businesses.
2021 was a challenging year for many SMEs, but the resilience and perseverance of businesses can never be underestimated.
I am incredibly proud and honoured that we had the opportunity to support businesses as they reopened or remodelled their business.
We saw in the Linked Finance SME Confidence Indices from 2021 that business optimism was back to pre-pandemic levels, which is encouraging as we move into 2022.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully reflecting on having successfully solidified Linked Finance’s position as a real alternative to the pillar banks.
The company has a strong track record in helping Irish SMEs get access to secure, seamless and efficient financing.
The aim is to be a true end-to-end digital peer lender offering market leading returns to our investors and innovative flexible products and brilliant service to our borrowers.
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
Be curious, ask questions and treat every day like a school day.
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
As a young teenager, delivering flyers for my father’s business. Although I got the chance to work with my brothers, the job itself was monotonous.
My father wasn’t too happy either when he caught us throwing the last batch in a skip.
What do you think the government could do to help business in the current climate?
From our SME Confidence Index in 2021, we saw some positive feedback from SMEs on the level of support that the government provided and continues to provide to keep businesses open.
Linked Finance were proud to provide the government's COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to Irish SMEs in 2021.
However, our SME Confidence Index for Q3 2021 found that almost one third (31%) of Irish SMEs are uncertain of the necessary requirements to take action on climate change or the potential impact on their business.
Greater clarity is needed on sustainability requirements, and financial support will be an important factor.
What three business people do you most admire, and why?
Michael O’Leary – a business titan for three decades who has shown that Irish people can succeed on the international business stage.
Steve Jobs – his vision changed the way we all live today and he also showed great bravery during his illness.
Elon Musk – in just 13 years Tesla has completely transformed the motor industry to become a trillion-dollar business.
What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
Specsavers has done a great job with their advertising.
The adverts are always really funny and memorable, with their tagline becoming part of everyday modern language.
I think it has real cut through.
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up?
HB ice cream – I used to love them as a child.
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
I am a humble person, so I would be very happy with a dinner with my wife, my late father, and late best friend.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received?
No one is more important than you and you are no more important than anyone else.
How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?
Not too much. I find it helpful to keep up with news, as well as staying in contact with new and old colleagues.
With which fictional character do you most identify?
I’m happy to be myself.
Most likely to say?
It depends who you ask! From a professional perspective it would have to be ‘keep on pushing - anything is achievable’.
Least likely to say?
Being an avid golfer, I wish I could say it was ‘fore’ but unfortunately that’s not the case!