“Success comes from the self-satisfaction and accomplishment of a worthwhile goal” – 60 seconds with Mike McGrath of Kwayga

60 Seconds With, Interviews | Tue 13 Sep | Author – Business & Finance

Mike McGrath is co-founder and COO of Kwayga, an online platform for B2B buyers and suppliers in the European Food & Beverage sector.


What was your first job?

I was lucky enough to grow up next to the world-renowned Ballymaloe Hotel so at weekends and during the summer, I would have worked in the kitchen. I got an appreciation for the importance of quality and brand, while working here.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

Strangely there is no CAO option for Procurement, so like most sourcing professionals, I discovered the importance of Procurement during my career. Specifically, following the global recession of 2008, most businesses took a keen interest in assessing their supplier base and supply-chain costs in a hunt for cash. I realised then that most businesses had plenty of help to generate revenue, but they had very few solutions for reducing costs, so hence a purchasing career has unfolded and has brought me many rewards along the way.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

From a career perspective, my greatest achievement was being appointed to an European Commission expert group for eTendering, which has opened many doors in the past 10 years. Personally, I’ve completed a few Ironman triathlons which are not for the faint-hearted!

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

No, I don’t have any regrets and truthfully, I don’t spend much time looking in the “rear view mirror”. Thankfully, my career continues to improve as do the business opportunities that emerge (like Kwayga).

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success comes from the self-satisfaction and accomplishment of a worthwhile goal.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I took part in the Entrepreneur Experience many years ago and one of the seasoned entrepreneurs told me to make sure my business proposition addressed a “big problem for a small number of people, and not a small problem for a big number of people”. This advice was very relevant then and continues to guide the creation of our value propositions now.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

We have an exciting start-up business and we are working hard to change the status quo on supplier discovery within the global food supply-chains. This is very exciting and motivating for me, and the great team we have are just as committed to making significant improvements to the lives of our customers. This higher purpose leads to higher performance.

How do you handle adversity?

As mentioned above, I’ve completed a number of endurance events and these regularly present adverse situations which are very challenging on the body and mind. However, coming through this pain gives a new perspective on adverse situations and this reflection allows me to put adversity into context.

How do you relax?

Swimming, running and cycling help, plus I’ve two great kids and I love watching them embark on their own sporting careers, starting at the local GAA club.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

We dream about Kwayga.com becoming the default portal of choice for professional food and drinks buyers globally; connecting the right supplier with the right buyer at the right time. This dream is inspiring us to create a global brand, with a scalable business model and delivered by a world-class team. For now, we will continue to deliver remarkable value for our customers and execute on our business plan, so this future aspiration for the business will come closer everyday.


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