An opportunity to show your business in a better light
This year's National Enterprise Week will see several new features to benefit businesses
Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Week is building on the success and momentum of previous events by adding new elements to a tried and trusted format which has proven hugely popular with Ireland's SME community over the past four years.
"We have retained all of the core elements of National Enterprise Week and added some very exciting new features," says Bank of Ireland's head of small business and agriculture, Gerry Prizeman. "The flagship events in each region give an overall focus to the week, but the activity in the branch network forms the bedrock on which everything is built. In the coming week the branches will be organising about 75 networking events across the country which will allow likeminded businesspeople to meet and do business with each other and hear from successful business owners about how they have succeeded. A new dimension to this strand of activity is a number of social media themed events which are aimed at assisting businesses make the most of these powerful new communications tools."
The Show Your Business events will again be the prime local focus. "We are very conscious of the valuable locations our branches occupy in towns and communities throughout the country and how these can be used to assist local business," Prizeman notes. "During Enterprise Week every branch in the country will open its doors to small businesses to allow them show and sell their products and services. It effectively turns the branches into pop-up shops for local businesses. Also, some of our larger branches will be hosting Christmas fairs to help stimulate trade at this key time of the year."
The success of Show Your Business over the years has led directly to a groundbreaking new service for small businesses from Bank of Ireland, says Prizeman.
"Shop Local is a location-based smartphone app which will allow businesses to promote exclusive offers and discounts to consumers in their local area. We have 150,000 customers registered for our Bank of Ireland mobile banking app already, and the Shop Local app will allow them to receive offers from nearby businesses. This is hugely exciting and is a first for any bank in Ireland. It will be a completely free service and we are hoping to launch it in early 2013."
An added dimension to the Show Your Business activity this year is the chance for craft, artisan and food businesses to win a free stand for their business at the National Crafts and Design Fair which takes place from December 5th to 9th in the RDS in Dublin. "Bank of Ireland is paying for a stand at the fair, and the outstanding business in this category during the next week will get it free, giving them the opportunity to promote their products and services to a national audience", says Prizeman.
The agricultural sector is a particular area of focus during Enterprise Week, according to head of agriculture Sean Farrell. "We recognise the additional cost pressures placed on farmers as a result of the bad weather in the summe,r and the knock-on effects this will have in terms of winter feed and so on," he says. "We had a meeting with Minister of State Shane McEntee recently and confirmed our commitment to supporting the agri-food sector. We recently launched a dedicated €25 million fund to support credit demand for agri-feed purposes and this will continue to be available. Also, we are committed to delivering a 24-hour turnaround on agricultural credit applications where we have all the necessary information to process them."
The SME Credit Clinics are another new feature of Enterprise Week. "These are primarily aimed at early-stage and micro-businesses," Prizeman explains. "We hope to run 100 of them around the country between now and the end of the year. These free clinics will bring businesspeople through the lending process, from the financial fundamentals of cash flow analysis right the way through to working capital cycles. This will help encourage more successful credit applications from these businesses."
Businesses wishing to take part in any of these events or activities should log on to bankofireland.com/enterprise