Press Releases

10 November 2014

Themed “Let’s Connect”- Bank of Ireland’s eleventh National Enterprise Week is launched

No 1 business bank with over 50% market share of all new SME and Agri lending

Bank of Ireland today (Friday 7 November 2014), announced the launch of its eleventh National Enterprise Week which will run from Friday 14 to Friday 21 November 2014. Themed “Let’s Connect” the Bank will focus on supporting Ireland’s SMEs, start-ups and the agri sector to help foster business growth and development in the Irish economy.

SME and Start-ups

Bank of Ireland is focused on supporting Ireland’s SMEs, and has approved €3.2 billion of new credit to SMEs to the end of September this year which is up about 18% on the same period last year. The Bank has approved 46,000 SME credit applications to the end of September and receives around 1,100 applications per week. Of applications received the Bank has an 87% approval rate and is providing over 50% of the new non-property lending to the SME market. Supporting business start-ups is a key focus for the Bank and to date this year we have opened 26,000 new business customer accounts, with over 11,000 of these accounts being opened for start-up companies. 

Gerry Prizeman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland said “We remain firmly committed to supporting Ireland’s SMEs, the agri sector and start-up companies. We have a number of initiatives in place to support these customers and our bi-annual National Enterprise Weeks are an example of this support. This is our eleventh National Enterprise Week and each year we add more events and look at different ways we can better support businesses.  New elements included in the programme of activities are a partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices in several counties to hold seminars, and we will also host a webinar live from Twitters EMEA headquarters. Our theme for the week is “Let’s Connect” – as we are seeking to help businesses connect with each other and by so doing find potential new suppliers, customers and markets. During the week we aim to showcase and highlight as many businesses as possible on a national and local level to help them connect with customers and each other.

“Our Show Your Business pop-up events in our branches are a fantastic platform for companies to meet prospective customers and highlight their business. Over 3,000 businesses showcased their products and services during our enterprise weeks last year, which shows what a valuable opportunity it provides.  Aside from the support we offer to businesses through our Enterprise programme of activity, we also have very ambitious growth plans which is demonstrated by our financial ambition to lend about €21 billion into businesses within the Irish economy up to 2017. We are well on track to deliver this target to help Ireland’s SMEs, start-ups and the agri sectors grow and develop,” added Gerry.

During this National Enterprise Week, Bank of Ireland is also delighted to be the national sponsor for Startup Weekend, as it maintains a Dublin presence and extends to new locations countrywide in Galway, Limerick and Cork.  The format is dynamic and energetic bringing together over a single weekend, would be entrepreneurs with great new business ideas and matching them with the talent to help bring their ideas to life.  As Ireland’s Enterprise Bank we are pleased to be supporting this initiative during our National Enterprise week. The theme of our week is “Let’s Connect” – exactly what we want to enable during the Startup Weekend where it is the connections made over the weekend which will turn some business concepts into a reality” said Gerry.

Local Enterprise Offices

A new element to this National Enterprise Week is the Bank’s partnership with Local Enterprise Offices, which will see joint delivery of a series of expos across several counties. Themed “Starting and Growing your Business” these events will feature local entrepreneurs and the Enterprise Village, which will have representatives from both the State and private agencies, who are involved in supporting small businesses, available for one-to-one consultation.

Show Your Business – Branch pop-up shops

Local branches will be acting as pop-up shops for customers throughout the week, giving businesses the opportunity to promote and sell their product or service within the branch. Customers can contact their local branch or log on to and become one of the thousands who have successfully taken part in previous National Enterprise Week’s Show Your Business activity.

Credit Clinics

Free credit clinics for small and micro-businesses as well as Agri credit clinics, will again be running throughout the week. Business start-ups and early stage businesses will receive advice on how to write a solid business plan, manage working capital, and understand cash flow and financial projections. These events will also provide entrepreneurs and business owners with the opportunity to connect at networking events, which we have been running throughout the country.                                   

Agri Marts

We will also be attending a number of marts to provide advice and support to the agricultural community. Agriculture is a key sector in the Irish economy and the Bank is investing in the sector, providing expertise on the ground through our Agriculture Development Managers, attending local marts, providing agri credit clinics and continuing our long and historic association with the National Ploughing Championships.

Twitter Webinar

In a first for an Irish bank we will co-host, live from Twitter EMEA headquarters a webinar which will provide SME owners with an interactive clinic on using Twitter for their business. Registration is now open to log in into the session on and the session can also be followed on @BoIbusiness and with #LetsConnect

  “Being “Ireland’s Enterprise Bank” is a key focus for us. During National Enterprise Week we focus on supporting Ireland’s businesses and our theme of “Let’s Connect” is aimed at helping businesses connect with each other, potential new customers and new markets. Our National Enterprise Week is an ideal opportunity for businesses to network with each other and industry experts at the many events we are hosting nationwide. I encourage both customers and non-customers to get involved in the week, either by attending an organised event or showing their business in one of our 250 branches,” concluded Gerry Prizeman.

For further information on Bank of Ireland’s Enterprise Week visit or follow us on Twitter @BOIbusiness. We will be using the #LetsConnect for all our updates over the week.

Note to Editors:

Local Events

Local events are free and are open to all businesses. SMEs can contact a Bank of Ireland branch to get more information on the events or to confirm their attendance at one of the seminars or events, or on the Bank’s website:

Show Your Business in Branches:

During National Enterprise Week, each branch across the network will be hosting ’Show your Business’ for customers to show and hopefully sell their business produce or service which remains one of the most popular features of the week.

Twitter Webinar

Date: Friday, 14 November 2014

Location: Online Event

Timing: 2:00pm -2:30pm

Speaker: Laurie Kelly, SMB Marketing Manager EMEA, Twitter       


Bank of Ireland and LEO Expo Schedule

Dublin Starting and Accelerating your Business Seminar

Event: Let’s Connect Conference

Theme: Starting and Accelerating your Business

Location: Mansion House, Dublin 2

Date: Monday, 17 November 2014

Timing: 8:30am to 12:30pm



  • Richie Boucher, CEO Bank of Ireland
  • Liam Halpin, General Manager Dell Ireland
  • Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland                                   
  • Colin Goulding, Google for Entrepreneurs
  • Wayne Murphy, Bank of Ireland Accelerator Programme
  • Eamon Leonard, Web Summit
  • Eoin Costello, Startup Ireland
  • Ann Horan, DCU Ryan Academy
  • Patrick Leddy, Pulsate
  • Wayne Byrne, Oxymen
  • Greg Moore, Glanola Ltd
  • Eimear O’Connell, Restored Hearing

Mullingar Bank of Ireland and LEO Expo Seminar

Event: Let’s Connect breakfast event

Theme: Starting and Growing your Business

Location: Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar

Date: Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Timing: 8:30am to 10:00am



  • Paddy Leydon, Regional Business Manager, Bank of Ireland
  • Christine Charlton, Head of Local Enterprise Office, Westmeath
  • Olivia Curran, An Olivia Chocolate
  • Dean Gammell,

Cavan Bank of Ireland and LEO Expo Seminar

Event: Let’s Connect breakfast event

The Theme: Starting and Growing your Business

Location: Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Road, Cavan

Date: Friday, 21 November

Timing: 7:45am – 9:30am



  • Heather Humphrey’s, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  • Gerry Prizeman, Head of Enterprise Development, Bank of Ireland
  • Vincent Reynolds, President, Local Enterprise Office, Cavan
  • Alicia Taylor, Nutri Snacks Ltd
  • Caroline Thompson, Riverside Beauty & Spa

Carlow Bank of Ireland and Local Enterprise Office Carlow, Bizfest event

Event: Bizfest 2014

Location: Lord Bagenal Hotel, Leighlinbridge, Carlow

Date: Wednesday, 26 November

Timing: 11.45am- 2:30pm

Register:  email -

Hosted by: Richard Curran, Dragons, Den


  • David Walsh, Netwatch
  • Henry Shefflin, Bank of Ireland
  • Padraig O’ Ceidigh, founder Aer Arann
  • Joanne Hession, QED
  • Gerard Keenan, Keenan’s

Limerick Starting and Accelerating your Business Seminar

Event: Let’s Connect Conference

Theme: Starting and Accelerating your Business

Location: Thomond Park, Limerick

Date: Thursday, 27 November 2014

Timing: 7:30am to 9:30am



  • Gerry Prizeman, Head of Enterprise Development, Bank of Ireland
  • Eamon Ryan, Head of Local Enterprise Office, Limerick
  • Deirdre Collins, Dee’s Wholefoods
  • Shane McCarthy, Bluechief

Mayo Bank of Ireland and LEO Expo Seminar

Event: Let’s Connect breakfast event

Theme: Starting and Growing your Business

Location: Breaffy House Resort Hotel, Castlebar, Mayo

Date: Friday, 28 November

Timing: 8:30am -10:00am



  • Paddy Leydon, Regional Manager, Bank of Ireland
  • John McGee, President Local Enterprise Office, Mayo
  • Pearse O’Reilly, Mayo TV
  • Bernie Campbell, BGRSB LTD

Startup Weekend

Date: 14th - 16th November 2014

Location: Galway - NUI Galway, Cairnes Building Galway

Timing: from 6:00pm Friday to 9:00pm on Sunday

Date: Friday, 21st to Sunday, 22rd November 2014

Location: Google HQ Barrow Street, Dublin

Timing: from 6:00pm Friday to 9:00pm on Sunday

Date: Friday, 21st to Sunday, 22rd November 2014

Location: University of Limerick

Timing: from 6:00pm Friday to 9:00pm on Sunday

Date: Friday, 21st to Sunday 23rd November 2014

Location: Architecture Factory Tyco Building, Bishopstown Cork

Timing: from 6:00pm Friday to 9:00pm on Sunday

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