Tuesday 25 October 2016

National Enterprise Week lands as SMEs pick up speed

Published 13/11/2015 | 12:59

Ireland is a nation of innovators and go-getters and over recent years this has never been more evident.

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During the downturn people took the opportunity to setup and start their own business. As things are changing in Ireland with consumer spending increasing, there’s no denying there is optimism in the air. SMEs that worked through difficult times and are now better equipped to capitalise on the economic upturn, while some are just starting out with great ideas and a willingness to work. There is a belief that the heart of the Irish economy, the SME, is beating loud and strong.

As a barometer of the change Bank of Ireland released some figures supporting their backing of SMEs and start-ups – the bank approved new credit for Irish businesses to the end of September 2015 of €3.6 billion, up c.13% on the same period last year. Just under 50,000 applications for new or increased credit were received by the bank to the end of September from Irish businesses, a 9% increase when compared with last year with approved c.88% of these credit applications.

Timing is everything and this week Bank of Ireland launched its thirteenth National Enterprise Week which runs from Friday, 13 to Friday, 20 November 2015. The relationship between business and bank is a crucial one and to foster growth and enterprise Bank of Ireland will be inviting local business into their branches for their 'Show Your Business’ events which will take place in  branches across the country on Thursday, 12th and 19th  and Friday, 13th and 20th of November. It’s in keeping with National Enterprise Week’s theme ‘Let’s Connect’ and the branches will open their doors to local business so they can showcase what they do and take the opportunity to network. Over the concurrent Thursdays and Fridays over 3000 business will be present in branches across the country.

As part of the Bank's Enterprise Town initiative Branch managers will work with a local committee to host expo events focusing on Business, Sport and Community and Schools in 17 towns across Ireland during the month of November.

The ‘At Ours/At Yours’ events will see branch managers host SMEs in their branch for a networking session and then follow up with return  events in the business’ premises.

Of course Ireland’s agricultural sector faces challenges today and the continued growth of farms and farming business remains crucial to Ireland’s short and long term future. In recognition of this, Bank of Ireland’s agricultural advisors will host a series of presentations and will partner with Teagasc and accounting firms IFAC and FDC. The talks are aimed at providing farmers with the information they need to know when expanding their business.

This year sees ‘Enterprise in Education’ make its debut as part of National Enterprise Week and will see local entrepreneurs visit secondary schools to share their experience and inspire the next generation of business people. Bank of Ireland’s graduate employees will be given a platform to share their experiences too.

“It is important to focus students’ minds on the importance of developing businesses in their local areas as well as providing them with real insights into the different careers available in the Bank. Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit while in school will help Ireland to continue to grow its SME sector long into the future,” says Gerry Prizeman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland.

There’s something for everyone this National Enterprise Week and we are all invested in the recovery and growth of our SME’s. It is local communities and their entrepreneurship, innovation, their persistence and resilience that has turned the economy around and will continue to be the engine of sustained growth into the future.

Local events are free and are open to all businesses. SMEs can contact a Bank of Ireland branch to get more information on the events or to confirm their attendance at one of the seminars or events, or on the Bank’s website.

Bank of Ireland has teamed up with Independent News and Media (INM) to offer you the chance to win an advertising campaign for your business worth €100,000 in Ireland’s leading newspaper titles, the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent, and on Ireland’s biggest website, Independent.ie

For your chance to win this prize for your SME, complete the entry form here.

Sponsored by: Bank of Ireland

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