Bank of Ireland today (3 October 2014) announced details of an exciting programme of activity for Rathdowney, Co. Laois over the weekend of 10 – 11 October, 2014. The ‘Enterprise Town’ initiative has been organised by the Bank in partnership with the local business community in Rathdowney. The initiative aims to promote and drive business momentum for SMEs in the locality and will be formally launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, T.D. on Friday 10 October.
The activities taking place over the two days include a Business Expo, which takes place in St. Fergal’s College on Friday 10 October from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. More than 70 local businesses will showcase during the day. A Sports and Community Expo will take place on Saturday 11 October in the College from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with 20 clubs having already signed up to attend. Both events will welcome prominent business and sporting personalities including Gavin Duffy of RTEs Dragon’s Den and Louise Phelan, Vice-President, Global Operations EMEA for Paypal who is herself a Rathdowney native. The Sports Expo will see record breaking Kilkenny hurling star Henry Shefflin in attendance along with other sporting personalities.
Commenting on the initiative, Maria Harris , Branch Manager, Bank of Ireland, Rathdowney said: “We are very excited to bring our ‘Enterprise Town’ initiative to Rathdowney . The response from the local business community has been heartening and from the outset the local community welcomed and embraced our proposal. I am proud of what we have achieved together over a very short time. The Bank is committed to supporting the growth in business recovery in this country. And, we are confident that, in working in partnership with local communities, we can help support bringing this recovery to life.
“Bank of Ireland is the No. 1 business bank in Ireland with more than 50% share of non-property new lending flow to the SME and agri markets. We want to be seen as Ireland’s ‘Enterprise Bank’ for business and our Enterprise Town initiative is one of several which forms a core part of how we can make this happen. The local community provided the essential support required to make the organisation of these events happen – led by Fr Martin Delaney, Kieran O’Sullivan, Trevor Stanley, John King, William Mansfield, Mary Prendergast, Pauline Keane, Elaine Maher and Bernie Moloney. They have all worked tirelessly with me to bring these events to life”.
The Bank continues to see some very encouraging signs of increased demand from its business customers and it has approved new credit facilities of c. €2.1 billion in the first half of 2014. We are approving over 85% of credit applications received.
“We would encourage all local businesses and the local community to engage with this initiative and participate in the programme of activities scheduled for next Friday and Saturday. There is much talk around the town on the potential that these events have to help drive increased activity for local enterprises. The Bank has been an active employer and business in this community for a very long time and our future success is intrinsically linked with the success of the local community”, concluded Maria Harris.