Access to credit and fostering young entrepreneurs key focus at Bank of Ireland’s seventh National Enterprise Week.

Bank of Ireland today, 15 November, launches its seventh National Enterprise Week in support of new and existing SME customers. This popular bi-annual event, which has become a feature in local business diaries across Ireland, runs from Friday 16 November until Friday 23 November. The key focus of this week will be on getting access to credit and ‘Junior Dragon’s Den’, a new concept aimed at young entrepreneurs, an extension of the Bank’s existing sponsorship with RTE’s Dragon’s Den.
Bank of Ireland is hoping that the broad range of events and seminars during Enterprise Week will encourage customers from all sectors to come and discuss their borrowing needs.  The ‘Show your Business‘ aspect of the enterprise event remains a highlight for local small and medium enterprises, as they get the opportunity to set up shop in local branches across the Bank’s network. The business flurry created during these events gives a boost to the entire community.

Credit Clinics
A new feature of the event is the introduction of free credit clinics across the branch network. The clinics aim to explain the small business lending application requirements and to improve micro and small business access to credit. It is also aimed at giving start-ups valuable advice on how to write a solid business plan, manage working capital, understand cash flow and financial projections. SMEs can contact their local branch for more details of a credit clinic near them or check out

Junior Dragon’s Den
A total of 190 second level students, who have applied for and are shortlisted to appear on RTE’s new Junior Dragons’ Den, will compete in the Regional Finals at a number of Bank of Ireland flagship events during Enterprise Week. The regional winners will compete in the National Final on 8 December 2012 to pitch in front of the Dragons and receive a cash investment of €2,000 for their business.

Shop Local mobile app
The Bank also invites SMEs to register their interest for a new location based ‘Shop Local’ mobile app, which is designed to give SMEs a chance to increase their footfall by promoting exclusive offers and discounts to customers.  The app will launch in early 2013. Entrepreneurs can contact their local branch for more information on how get this free promotion for their business.

According to Gerry Prizeman, Head of Small Business and Agriculture, Bank of Ireland, Business Banking:”We expect to reach our €3.5bn approval target by year end by providing new and increased lending to the SME sector. We are fully aware of how vital cash flow and credit is to small businesses and want to lend. We have received 42,000 formal lending applications from SME and Agri customers up to the end of September, of which over 35,000 have been approved to date. These customers have advised us that they are using this additional finance to increase output, create efficiencies, sustain employment, find new markets, and invest in their businesses, farms, premises and people.
“The free events during National Enterprise Week cater for all sizes of businesses and all sectors. We invite new and existing customers to stop by their branch to get information on how to be part of it.  Activities throughout our branch network, our credit clinics and the Shop Local mobile app are examples of how we support the SME sector through actions rather than words. We earn the trust of thousands of SMEs every day and are working with them to help their businesses move forward”, concluded Gerry Prizeman.