Over 1,200 SMEs participating throughout branch network
Bank of Ireland is hosting its third showcase event for SMEs next week in branches throughout the country with the primary objective of aiding business recovery. Throughout the week, SMEs will showcase their products and sell their goods/services in their local branch. ‘Show your Business week – Christmas special’ will take place across the Bank’s retail branch network from Monday 7 to Friday 11 December 2009 and is open to both customers and non-customers of the Bank.
The week long event offers small and medium sized companies an ideal platform in which to display the diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship of Irish businesses that exists in local communities while simultaneously benefiting them financially. It also provides a platform at which they can network with other businesses and discuss challenges in the current economic climate. The event has been arranged following overwhelmingly positive feedback received from SMEs who exhibited both at the Bank’s National Enterprise Week in May and the ‘Show your Business’ week held in October, with over 2,000 businesses participating.
Branches across the country will host over 1,200 SMEs who will display a wide variety of goods and services, while also giving customers the opportunity to purchase in their local branch. Items for sale will include arts and crafts, organic and locally grown food produce, displays by florists, designers, restaurants, electronic goods to name but a few along with special offers, discounts and vouchers. The Bank has linked in with the Crafts Council of Ireland who has invited their 1,800 members to participate. The following is a selection of some the businesses that will show and sell in branches in Dublin city centre:
College Green branch will host the Irish Farmers Market on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 December in the forecourt of the building following which it will move to Baggot Street branch for the remainder of the week. A diverse range of SMEs will show and sell on the alternate days. Some of the other businesses showcasing in College Green include: The Dolls Store, Ireland’s only specialist stockist of designer dolls, dolls houses and miniatures, Buoy oh Buoy, a Kerry based company that makes beautiful crafted lights from buoys found floating on the sea. Others include Sew Creative, Mad Flowers, Hench Hill Good Foods, Java Coffee, Make it Natural, the D Hotel, along with artists Paul Flynn, Jim Scully, Simon Meylor and Karen Wilson. Businesses appearing in Baggot Street branch include: Crepes in the City, Corona Silver & Fashion jewellery, coffee by Badger & Dodo, Keep Sake Candles, Eva Power photography, gifts from Emmilija Ireland and Christmas cards from Focus Ireland and the Simon Community.
One of the businesses showcasing in Camden Street branch will be Retro Rider, a Dublin based importer of Dutch steel-framed bicycles and accessories alongside Restore Health Foods and Gloss Hair & Beauty. Swish.ie, Educogym and Supermacs will appear in O’Connell Street branch.
According to Damian Young, Head of Small Business, Bank of Ireland: “We remain committed to SMEs and continue to support well-managed forward thinking, viable small businesses and their financial needs. In addition, we continue to look at ways in which we can positively impact on business recovery in this sector. Actively lending is the core to getting businesses moving while also strengthening the Irish economy. We have lent over €2.1bn to the sector up to September of this year through loan restructures, working capital facilities and through a number of specialist funds worth over €500m. We approved over 40,000 credit facilities up to end of October and, on a monthly basis, we are processing on average 6,000 applications for credit facilities. We continue to have no restrictions on our lending capacity to the SME sector in Ireland.
“This is the third time this year we have hosted SMEs in our branch network. Feedback received from previous events confirmed that they had achieved new sales leads, and it provided them with a platform for greater exposure to the local business community along with the prospect of reaching a new audience/marketplace. An additional benefit was the very valuable networking opportunity with other business owners”, added Damian Young.
For more information on the events being held during ‘Show your Business week – Christmas special’ contact your local branch.
Bank of Ireland
(01) 604 3836 / 087 246 0358
Notes to Editor:
- ‘Show your Business’ week is one of a number of initiatives that the Bank has undertaken to support, advise and work with viable small to medium size businesses. These include launching a range of specialist funds over the past twelve months designed to meet the specific financial requirements of SMEs at all stages of development which include the recently launched €26m Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund. The Bank has also introduced a new independent free mentoring service designed to help and support growing enterprises in various stages of business development called ‘Enterprise Builder’. These supports are outside of the 800 business advisors throughout our network and a number of Business Advice Shows, Enterprise Evenings held throughout the country, alongside the Enterprise Bus which has toured the country since the beginning of the year.
The Bank’s specialist funds include:
- Business Support Fund (€250m) provides flexible finance to small businesses to support cash flow. Draw-down figure to the end of October is €39m. The fund was launched in December 2008.
- Developing Business Loan provides finance for amounts up to €50,000 for businesses in the first five years of growth and requires no security. The draw-down figure to the end of October is €23.1m.
- European Investment Bank Loan Fund (€100m) provides investmentcapital to fund small and medium-sized enterprises or small scale infrastructure projects, while meeting EU policy objectives. €4.3m has been drawn-down to end of October. We have approved €32m and issued offer letters but these customers haven’t drawn down yet. The fund was launched in June 2009.
- Environmental Projects Funds (€200m) which includes €100m Green Fund for the financing of green initiatives (launched in May 2009) and €100m Renewable Energy Fund (launched in February 2009) designed for the financing of Irish based renewable energy projects. The total amount approved to date is over €40m, of which €29m has been drawn down by customers. In addition a further pipeline of €68m is in discussion with customers.
- Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund (€26m) was recently launched to provide equity finance to SMEs in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the University of Limerick Foundation. The fund (of which the Bank provided €17m) will invest in start-up and early stage companies, with a focus on export orientated high potential start-up companies that operate in the technology (including green technology), food and financial services sectors, in addition to supporting patent and patent pending projects within Irish universities.
Other support activities include:
- ‘Enterprise Builder’, which was launched in October 2009. It was created for SMEs and confidential to the customer, the free service consists of a diagnostic review provided by an independent and qualified mentor who has industry experience in the sector in which the business operates. SMEs who register for this service will be matched with an appropriate industry experienced mentor who will offer an initial assessment, review and diagnostic report completely free of charge. The value of this mentoring initiative for the Bank’s SME customers is approximately €1,250. The mentors are independent experts with over 20 years experience and a track record of helping businesses to succeed. They will act as a confidential sounding board, advising SMEs on developing skills and overcoming barriers to growth. ‘Enterprise Builder’ has a panel of over 70 mentors from all industries including IT, marketing, engineering, retail and hospitality and is managed by The Discovery Partnership on behalf of the Bank.