Local Enterprise Week 2019, a national initiative led by the Local Enterprise Offices across Ireland, commences on March 4 and runs until March 8. Throughout the week Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Offices (LEO Cork North and West and LEO Cork South) have organised a number of business and training workshops, networking events and advice clinics covering a variety of topics including: creativity in business, agri-tech, speed networking, Brexit, lean business, digital and social media, trading online vouchers, GDPR, innovation, women in business, start your own business and many more. These events will be highly beneficial for many SMEs, start-ups and those involved in the micro business sector throughout the county.
Supporting businesses throughout the county, 2018 saw Cork County’s Local Enterprise Offices Cork issue grant payments to the total of €845,090 with 71 projects funded. In terms of job creation, grant approvals to the total of €960,050 and the approval of 84 projects saw 192 additional jobs created in 2018. A total of 2,357 entrepreneurs were trained at 168 training programmes across Cork North and West and Cork South. A key service provided by the Local Enterprise Offices is mentoring which saw 982 participants receive expert mentoring throughout 2018. The LEOs Cork also engaged with 1,464 fourth year secondary school students in 36 schools across Cork County in 2017 and 2018.
Local Enterprise Week from March 4 to 8 will see the LEOs Cork North and West and Cork South provide further training and information for entrepreneurs or those thinking of starting a business throughout the week. The events will highlight the wide range of supports available through their Local Enterprise Office – from funding to mentoring, training and business advice. The week also provides a good opportunity for these businesses to learn from the experiences of others, gain practical advice, network and make new connections.
Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Offices have also played a key role in preparing small businesses for Brexit, and throughout February they roll out Brexit Customs Training on the customs import and export procedures that will be required post-Brexit. Local Enterprise Week will be a great opportunity for businesses to learn more about this specialist training.
One of the main headline events this year is ‘Creative Thinking – A roadmap for your business growth’ taking place on Tuesday, March 5 at the Inchydoney Lodge and Spa Hotel, Clonakilty, West Cork from 9.30am-4pm. Sonya Lennon, who is one of Ireland’s leading business women and fashion entrepreneurs, will be keynote speaker at the event. Sonya has built an established career as a stylist, designer, broadcaster and author and is an experienced and captivating speaker. The event, hosted by Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, will also include speakers such as Marie Toft, Emotionise , Maria Archer, Stephen A McDonald and a Design+ Technology Gateway. In addition, there will be a panel discussion from Cork businesses who have demonstrated innovation and creativity to start and grow their businesses including: James Gale, Swiftfox; Maudeline Black, Blacks Brewery and Distillery; Claire Graham, The Old Mill Stores and Genevieve Sheehan, Sheenco Travel.
Whether you are an entrepreneur with a business idea, a start-up or a growing small business, there is something at this event for everyone to learn from, plus networking opportunities.
On Wednesday, March 6, there is an exciting opportunity to attend a progressive convention titled ‘AgTech – The Future of Sustainable Agricultural Business’ from 9am-2pm at Fota Island Resort. This half-day convention will highlight the importance of sustainability, with a focus on the future challenges of farming and the uses of technology in developing and sustaining the agricultural economy. Speakers will include experts in the industry along with start-ups in the AgriTech sector, to talk about their journey from development to solution and where they are today. Keynote speakers on the day will will include Eoghan Finneran of Farm Eye and Padraig Hennessy of Terra NutriTech. Also sharing their knowledge and expertise on the day will be Karol Kissane, Nuffield Scholar; Seamus O’Mahony of Dairygold and ASA Ireland Vice President; Dermot Forrestial of Teagasc Oak Park; Alan Jagoe, President of Agri Aware and Ursula Kelly of Cormac Tagging.
Wednesday, March 6, will see an all-star line-up at an event titled ‘Leadership – the hallmarks of success. Are you an effective leader?’ at Mallow GAA complex from 8am-10.30am. Speakers will include Cork legend and Cork All Star Brid Stack, Jan Harte HR Consultant and Organisational Specialist, and JJ O’Connell Director of the PLATO & Family Business Ireland Network. Brid will speak about lessons from her life, the importance of leadership and useful tips for achieving success. This will be followed by an interactive and effective ‘Speed Networking’ event. Attendees are invited to bring their business cards to connect and share with like-minded business owners and professionals.
Speaking at LEO North, West and South’s Local Enterprise Week schedule of events launch, Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West said, “Each year, Enterprise Week is an important collaborative initiative on our calendars on a national level. Here in Cork, it is our key function, to continue to support, train, mentor and fund our entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises, from the start up and growing stages right through to the established stages. We run training and events and advice clinics right throughout the year but Enterprise Week is our real push to have a full calendar of events for the week, assisting clients across all sectors and across all stages of business growth. It’s about us getting our message out that we are here as a First Stop Shop to support the micro-enterprise sector in Cork”.
Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise, LEO South Cork added, “Having the confidence to start your own business isn’t always easy, but we encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a business or has already done so to come along and find out more about the supports we can offer. As you can see from our enterprise support stats from 2018, we are here to help, and whether it’s getting your business off the ground or taking the next step to expand, Local Enterprise Week is a fantastic way of finding out about how we can help.”
In addition to the above there is full comprehensive schedule of events now available at www.localenterprise.ie/CorkNorthandWest and www.localenterprise.ie/SouthCork . Many of LEO Cork North West and South’s events are FREE to attend, however prior booking is essential for all events.