Bank of Ireland hosts National Enterprise Week throughout 32 counties 20- 27 May 2011

Supporting SMEs and business recovery in local communities

Bank of Ireland today, 23 May 2011, launched its fourth National Enterprise Week, its support and advice initiative for SMEs, which will take place countrywide from Friday, 20 May to Friday, 27 May.  The week, which is open to Bank customers and non-customers, will consist of advice led events featuring a number of industry speakers, showcasing opportunities for SMEs in branches and a series of CEO/Directorbreakfasts.  The initiative has been running for two years and is part of the Bank’s continued commitment to actively support and finance viable small to medium sized businesses in every sector across the country.

The six day initiative consists of three core elements.  It includes a series of advice events, 11 of which will be flagship events, on a wide variety of topics such as exporting, agriculture, women in business and opportunities in IT.  The showcasing element, ‘Show your Business’ will enable local businesses to display and sell their wares in the Bank’s branches.  Many of the branches will have themed days for businesses which include crafts, professional services, ‘green’ service providers, charities and the food industry.  Thirdly, a number of commercial branches will host a series of CEO/Director breakfasts where a panel of local business leaders will relay their company’s story, share their insights, and answer questions from the audience. There will also be networking opportunities at the end of each event.

According to Michael Lauhoff, Head of Small Business and Agri, Bank of Ireland: “We have been running this initiative for the past two years in recognition of the pivotal role that SMEs have to play in the recovery of the Irish economy.  They are the backbone of local communities and will be essential to the rejuvenation of the Irish economy.  We have an important role to play in providing finance and support to these businesses.  During our last National Enterprise Week held in November 2010, over 3,800 business people attended 110 events countrywide and nearly 2,000 businesses displayed their wares in our branches.

“The purpose of the initiative is to give business owners in local communities, both customers and non customers of the Bank, the opportunity to gain tangible and relevant advice, to meet successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders, exchange ideas and to share their experiences.  It also gives them the opportunity to promote and sell their products/services on a new platform while also displaying their innovative businesses within our extensive countrywide branch network.

“The Bank remains steadfast in its commitment to actively finance and support viable SMEs, regardless of their sector or geographic location in Ireland.  We approved €3.66bn in new and increased lending facilities last year, with drawdowns of €2.38bn to the end of December 2010.  In the first quarter of this year we have approved circa €781m in new and increased facilities with drawdowns of €472m.  Our loan approval rate for the first quarter of this year was 83%, which is consistent with the average approval rate in 2010.  However, we recognise that reduced demand remains a trend against the backdrop of a challenging trading environment.  We continue to focus our efforts on ensuring that businesses know that we are actively lending to the sector.  We encourage all SME owners to come and talk to us, we are keen to prove to them that we want their business.

“The Bank is fully committed to its SME plan which was approved by Government in July 2010, in which it outlined its objective to make a minimum of €3bn of lending available to SMEs in each of 2010 and 2011 as an integral part of its business strategy.  We have no capacity restrictions in lending to SMEs”, Michael Lauhoff concluded.

For the most up to date information on events taking place across the country during National Enterprise Week log onto or contact your local branch.


For further information contact:


Anne Mathews

Media Relations Manager

Group Communications

Bank of Ireland


076 623 4771

(087) 2460358


Notes to Editor:

A selection of events happening across the country include;

College Green branch will host a farmers market in the courtyard of the building on Friday, 20 May and Friday, 27 May.  A number of businesses will showcase outside the branch during the following week including the Asian market, Mooz Shakes & Sweets and Georgia Bikes.  Ballsbridge branch will have a farmers market taking place outside the branch throughout the week.  Baggot Street branch will also host a farmers market on Friday, 20 May and Friday, 27 May.  Artists and other businesses including bean bags from Daddylarrydesign will have stands in the courtyard on Wednesday, 25 May and Thursday, 26 May.

A number of flagship events will also take place across the country;


A breakfast event will take place on Friday morning, 20 May in the House of Lords, Bank of Ireland College Green entitled ‘Future trends and opportunities in IT’.  Guest speakers include Paul Rellis, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland and Justin Keatinge, Managing Director, Version 1, which is a leading IT consulting and outsourced managed services company with offices in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.  Also speaking will be Nicola Farronato, co-founder and CEO of B-Sm@rk, an IT company.  An Italian native, Nicola is involved in knowledge-driven entrepreneurship.

A breakfast event will be held in Stillorgan Park Hotel on Wednesday, 25 May from 7.00-9.00am entitled ‘Supporting Business’.  Guest speakers include Norah Casey, CEO Harmonia and Dragon on RTE’s Dragons’ Den series which is sponsored by the Bank.  Also speaking will be entrepreneurs Jennifer Shaw and Claire Finnan from Huggy Bloom Enterprises.  Their business is an event and exhibition management company which last year organised Ireland’s first pregnancy and baby fair.  Representing the Bank will be Des Crowley, Chief Executive Retail (Ireland and UK).

A flagship event entitled ‘Women in Business’ will take place in Carton Hotel in Maynooth on Wednesday, 25 May from 6.00pm to 8.30pm.  This event is being held in conjunction with all the branches in Dublin West.  Speaking at the event will be Joan Burton, T.D, Minister for Social Protection and Norah Casey.  Psychotherapist Derry McDermott who runs her own business in Clondalkin will also speak at the event.  Representing the Bank will be Anne Marie Darcy, Head of Branches – Dublin West.

The event for Dublin North will be held in the Europa Academy in Swords on Wednesday, 25 May from 6.30-9.30pm.  The theme is ‘Personal & Business Effectiveness and Networking’.  Michael Dawson, CEO, Leinster Rugby and Séan Weafer, Networking & Coaching Mentor are two of the guest speakers.  Séan is a conference speaker, coach, mentor, facilitator, author and workshop leader.  Another keynote speaker is Neil O’Brien from Time to Fly.  Neil founded his business in 1998 and is a business and sports coach specialising in mental fitness.  Representing the Bank will be Mark Cunningham, Managing Director, Bank of Ireland Business Banking.  A number of businesses will have stands at the event including The Down Syndrome Centre who will have a collection point for their Buy my Dress campaign in Glasnevin branch on Friday, 27 May.

West Munster:

The flagship event for the region will be a business breakfast which will be held on Friday, 20 May in the Strand Hotel on the Ennis Road in Limerick.  The event will take place between 7.30-9.30am and will be addressed by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D, and the Bank’s Group Chief Executive, Richie Boucher.


The main event for the region will be held in Ballybay Mart on Friday, 20 May from 5.00-7.00pm featuring an agriculture theme.  Guest speakers will include Minister of State, Shane McEntee, T.D. at the Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food with special responsibility for Food, Food Safety and Horticulture.  Also speaking will be Ruairi Ward from Ward Consultancy, agri and environmental consultants in Ballybay and Ray Doyle, Interim Director General, ICOS (Irish Cooperative Organisation Society). Other speakers will include Dermot Coyle, Members Relations Manager, Lakeland Dairies and Aidan McCabe, Farm Advisory Manager, Town Of Monaghan Co-Op.  Representing the Bank will be Michael Lauhoff, Head of Small Business & Agri.

South Leinster:

A breakfast briefing event is being held in Carlow branch on Wednesday, 25 May commencing at 8.00am.  The theme will be exporting.  Guest speakers will include Julie Sinnamon from Enterprise Ireland.  Julie leads a team of Irish based business development advisers within Enterprise Ireland, working with established businesses, to help them strategically position themselves in the global marketplace.  Also speaking will be Donal O’Sullivan, CEO of Co-operative Animal Health.  Based in Tullow the business has been servicing animal health needs of the agricultural community for the last 50 years supplying all requirements for the prevention and treatment of disease on farm.  Mick Sweeney, Director of Wealth Management, Bank of Ireland will also be speaking.

North-West Midlands:

The flagship event for the region is an evening business seminar entitled ‘Enterprising Our Way Forward’ taking place on Wednesday, 25 May from 6.15pm-9.00pm in the Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo.  Speaking at the event will be John Perry, T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, as well as Michael Dawson, Managing Director, One4all.  The business is Ireland’s leading supplier of gift cards and gift vouchers in the public and corporate market distributed through the An Post network.  Also speaking will be Frank O’Keeffe, Audit Partner in Ernst & Young’s Industrial, Commercial and Technology division.  Representing the Bank will be John Keegan, Regional Manager – North-West Midlands.

South-East Midlands:

The main event in the region will be held in Kildalton College in Piltown on Thursday, 26 May 2011 from 5.30-8.30pm. The theme of the event will be ‘Supporting recovery through export, agri and food’.  Guest speakers include Phil Hogan, T.D, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, John Whelan, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association and Des Crowley, Chief Executive, Retail (Ireland & UK), Bank of Ireland.  Local businesses will be also showcasing their wares during the event.

West region:

The flagship event for the region will take place in the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway on Thursday, 26 May from 7.00-9.30pm.  Guest speakers will include the President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, Gerry Kilcommins.  Gerry is vice-president of global operations for Medtronic’s vascular business which has operations in Ireland since 1999.  Also speaking will be Fiona Keys Commercial & Marketing Manager, Connaught Rugby.  Anthony Ryan of Anthony Ryans and Ryans Homestore which has a number of fashion and home stores across Galway, will also be a guest speaker.  Representing the Bank will be Jack Harty, Business Development Manager – West region.


The Cork flagship event is a CEO forum taking place in Fota Island Resort Hotel on Tuesday evening, 24 May, in conjunction with Cork Chamber of Commerce.  Guest speakers include Kevin Cardiff, Secretary General, Department of Finance as well as John Mullins, Chamber President and CEO Bord Gais, alongside Mark Cunningham, Managing Director, Bank of Ireland, Business Banking.

A flavour of other events taking place across the country include;

Castlebar will have a pharmacy / medical themed event on Friday, 20 May commencing at 9.15am in the branch.  Speaking at the event will be local businessman John Loftus, MD of LLR–G5, a local business which produces organic silicon products and distributes them worldwide.

A networking workshop on flower arranging will be held in Nenagh branch on Monday, 23 May and Tuesday, 24 May.  This will be held in conjunction with the Nenagh Flower Arranging Club who will also be showcasing some of their creations in the branch during the week.

Midleton branch will host an evening seminar in Fota Island Resort Hotel entitled ‘East Cork Women in Business – Looking to the Future’ on Thursday, 26 May at 6.00pm.  Speaking at the event will be Gillian Mangan, Manager, Bank of Ireland Cobh as well as Yasmin Hyde, Managing Director Ballymaloe Relish, Collette Bannon from The Workcoach and Sheila Whalley from (Services Ireland Directory).

Clonmel branch will host a ‘Wellbeing in Business’ breakfast event on Wednesday 25 May commencing at 8.30am.  There will be two guest speakers; Glen Johnson, who is a local life coach and Pat Fleming, a business mentor who will be speaking about the impact of the recession on businesses and the ways to overcome difficulties that may be encountered.

Carrick on Shannon branch will host an agri evening in the branch on Thursday, 26 May commencing at 8pm.  Speakingat the event will be Terry Casey from Casey Accountants which specialises in tax advice and accountancy services for farmers.  Also speaking will be Tom Coll from Teagasc.  Tom has worked as a Teagasc adviser in Leitrim since 1994.  He will discuss the future of the beef / suckler / dairy farming sector payment schemes in place now and into the future.