Bank of Ireland launches first National Enterprise Week

Bank of Ireland is hosting the first ever National Enterprise Week which starts today Monday 11 May 2009, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.

  • Over 120 events organised nationwide underpins the Bank’s ‘open for business’ pledge
  • Events designed to…get businesses moving

Bank of Ireland is hosting the first ever National Enterprise Week which starts today Monday 11 May 2009, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. This event is designed to lift the spirit of entrepreneurship in Ireland and to make small businesses, new and existing, aware that appropriate support, advice and information is available to them to assist them in achieving their dream of running their own business and surviving in the current economic environment. Over 120 events will take place during the week at either a national or local level broadly designed around three key themes;

  • starting your business today,
  • managing your business in recessionary times and,

The Bank’s key objective for the week is ‘Getting Business Moving’ in Ireland. Each event has been specifically created to inform, assist and connect existing and potential SMEs while also helping them to develop new ideas, share ideas and benefit from personalised information and support from local experts. The week will feature Bank of Ireland branches across the country hosting a series of business events which will include Business Advice open days, Enterprise evenings, Business networking events, Business Breakfasts and Business showcase/expo events. Speakers will include Bank personnel, local partners (County/City Enterprise Boards, local Chambers of Commerce, Enterprise Europe Network and local business networks) local business service providers (accountants, solicitors) and successful local entrepreneurs.

At the launch of National Enterprise Week Damian Young, Head of Small Business, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said: “Our main message is – yes, it is a lot tougher to start a business in the current environment and for new and existing businesses to survive and thrive. Yes, businesses require credit and we are and will continue to lend to viable prospects. But business customers need more right now – they need a range of supports and advice. This is what this week is about. Bank of Ireland is providing a one-stop shop to build sustainable businesses for the future of the Irish economy.

“Bank of Ireland is very much open for business and our lending figures prove that. Whilst it is fair to say that the demand for lending from SMEs has decreased, our average loan approval rate continues to run at 80%. We are committed to providing working capital and development loans to viable businesses and are committed to supporting the SME sector in clear recognition of its importance in leading Ireland through this downturn. Some of our recent key lending statistics include:

  • Continue to process more than 5,000 business lending decisions monthly, of which 80% are approved.
  • Open over 400 new business accounts every week.
  • Lent micro and small businesses €6.6m in start-up funding in the first three months of this year.

In addition, we have:

  • Launched a €250m business support fund to provide flexible finance to SMEs to help them trade through the current climate
  • Launched a €100 m green fund to support the financing of Irish located renewable energy projects

The week is essentially about lifting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Ireland and letting businesses know that Bank of Ireland is truly open to support viable businesses and that it wants to provide support, advice and direction. It will also provide businesses with the opportunity to meet with ‘experts’, provide opportunities to network with other businesses and provide direction and encouragement to people who are thinking about setting up a business.

In a further comment Damian Young added: “SMEs are the driving force behind the Irish economy and we continue to lend to viable businesses. Entrepreneurs create and innovate and are critical for fostering competitiveness and employment. While the current market is challenging for all businesses, there are also opportunities. Our analysis of market activity in the sector has highlighted an overall reduction for demand in credit applications from SMEs. This is not surprising given the downturn in the market where SMEs are less likely to borrow to start-up a new business or expand an existing one. Small businesses need to focus on sourcing opportunities and adapting their business accordingly. Bank of Ireland supports viable, well managed, and forward looking businesses. It is important that businesses can seek relevant advice and support from all parts of the local community and Bank of Ireland wishes to be instrumental in leading this drive. National Enterprise Week aims to allow SMEs to discover an array of information, advice, support and ideas to help them develop, run, expand their businesses in the current environment.

Tom Hayes, Head of High Potential Start Ups from Enterprise Ireland said: “We are delighted to support this innovative initiative as part of European SME Week. Now more than ever small businesses need advice and support to start a new business or grow an existing one. It is vital for existing businesses to adapt to the current market challenges. Improved quality and quantity of innovation in Irish SMEs is a key target outlined in our strategy for 2008-2010. We have worked closely with Bank of Ireland to structure events throughout the country for National Enterprise Week. These events are designed to meet the challenges that currently face SME businesses to facilitate exploiting business opportunities both inside and outside the Irish market”, he said.

For more information on the events being held during Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Week, log onto or contact your local branch.

The initiative is being held in support of first European SME Week, taking place from 6 to 14 May 2009, which is a campaign to promote entrepreneurship across Europe and to inform entrepreneurs about support available for them at European, national and local level. The event is supported by a national and local advertising campaign.


Anne Mathews
Media Relations Manager
Group Corporate Communications
Ph. 01 604 3836 or 087 246 0358

11 May 2009

Notes to Editor:

National Enterprise Week runs from 11-15 May 2009 inclusive. The events, a sample of which is outlined below can be broken into five key categories;

  • Business show cases and expos – both large and small functions where businesses of all types can display their wares to the general public. These showcases and expos are taking place both within branches and in local hotels/conference facilities
  • Business advice open days – branches will have internal and external specialists available to meet with businesses at certain times in the week. No appointment is necessary and businesses are encouraged to drop in.
  • Enterprise evenings – themed talks in branches or local hotels/conference rooms comprising a series of speakers, both internal and external, providing advice to other businesses.
  • Business networking events – structured networking events involving a group of local businesses invited to spend an evening networking and meeting other businesses. The event is chaired by a representative of a local business, chamber or bank.
  • Business breakfasts – themed breakfast meetings with a key note speaker in a local hotel or conference facility. Generally these will be small gatherings of 30 businesses commencing at 8 a.m. and finishing in time for work.

Farmers Markets on Banks Forecourts
13 May, Bank of Ireland College Green, Dublin
14 May, Bank of Ireland, Head Office, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin

Bank of Ireland College Green will host an organic market from 10 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Wednesday 13 May in the forecourt of College Green branch, in association with the Irish Farmers Market. Here small businesses can sell their fresh organic goods. This is to encourage more businesses to innovate, to lift the spirit of entrepreneurship in the capital and to exploit new market opportunities where possible. The market will be held in the forecourt of the Bank’s Head Office on Lower Baggot Street on Thursday 14 from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

11 May, Blanchardstown Branch, Dublin – 6.30 p.m.

Bank of Ireland Blanchardstown is hosting an evening event focussed on bringing your business online and the power/potential of online sales and marketing. Hosted by an experienced online business consultant (eBay), this event is a must for any small business looking to grow.

11 May, Bank of Ireland Midleton, Cork – 6.00-8.00pm

Bank of Ireland Midleton will host an Enterprise Evening focussing on ‘Getting Started and the Challenges and Successes Along the Way’. Cork entrepreneur, Colum Sully from Cully and Sully will discuss how to start up, run, and then grow your business, and how to spot market opportunities. Last year, Cully and Sully, decided to bring their manufacturing base for convenience meals from France to Ireland. Susan Kearney and Ryan Howard from SECAD (South and East Cork Area Development Ltd) will outline supports that are available to new start-ups and how to put together a grant aid request. Internal speakers will include Sean Walsh from Bank of Ireland Life and Dolores O’Riordan, from Bank of Ireland Midleton who will talk about writing a business plan and what is required for a successful credit application.

12 May, The Ardilaun Hotel, Galway – 2.00-9.00pm

Bank of Ireland is hosting a Business Advice Day which comprises a business networking event, the Bank’s Bright Idea’s Challenge (national business innovation competition with regional finals), a Business Expo and an advice driven Enterprise Evening featuring guest speaker, Sean Gallagher, from Bank of Ireland’s sponsored Dragons’ Den TV show.

13 May, Bank of Ireland Carlow Branch (invite only) – 6.00-8.00pm

Bank of Ireland Carlow will host a free networking event with local partners, The Carlow Chamber of Commerce, Carlow Enterprise Board, Carlow Business Club, Carlow Kilkenny Skillsnet, who will join forces to allow local businesses an opportunity to have a series of 3 minute one-to-one meetings with a wide range and variety of companies. The aim is to provide networking opportunities for local businesses in Carlow.

Examples below of some recent lending transactions:

  • West Region: An office supply company taking on new contracts and requiring additional capital of €50,000 to support the project.
  • West Region: A home insulation company borrowed €50,000 to establish a business to support the new government HSE scheme. This business person has a long history in the trade and is looking to finance working capital and investment into the business.
  • West Munster Region: A beauty salon borrowed €40,000 to establish a new salon in a particular area. This entrepreneur has lots of experience, a solid client list, was investing in the business and had a prime location.
  • Dublin: A restaurant/take away franchise in Dublin borrowed €50,000 to establish a new outlet. This entrepreneur will be employing a number of staff, has a solid business plan and support from the franchisee to ensure its success.
  • Dublin: An e-commerce business based in Dublin approved for €80,000 loan to support the development of the business.

A number of Bank of Ireland business customers are happy to talk to the media if case studies are required.