Westmeath businesses seek foreign expansion opportunities

Ulster Bank’s Business Live tour promotes cross-border trade and international trade

This week, business professionals and entrepreneurs from across Westmeath attended an event focused on international and cross-border training, providing knowledge and guidance on new opportunities for businesses who have reached full growth in their existing market.

The event, which took place at the Olive Grove restaurant, Athlone, on Monday, was part of Ulster Bank’s Business Live series, run in association with Smallbusinesscan.com The events, which are free to attend and will appear in venues across the island of Ireland between now and March 2012, feature an informal panel discussion chaired by entrepreneur and co-founder of Smallbusinesscan.com, Fionan Murray. Those who attended were also given the opportunity to take part in a questions and answers session and engage with trade support specialists from Ulster Bank and other organisations, including InterTradeIreland.

Speaking at the Ulster Bank Business Live event in Westmeath, Brendan McDermott, regional director with Ulster Bank, said: “In the past 12 months, we have experienced a notable increase in enquiries from Irish companies centred on doing more business abroad and the support available to them. To facilitate the increased demand, we are hosting a number of events across the island of Ireland for businesses and business professionals who want to learn more about foreign expansion and cross-border opportunities. The events feature a panel of local and experienced business people who will share their experiences, mistakes, and accomplishments with attendees.”

The event’s panellists ranged from online entrepreneurs whose micro businesses are selling globally over the internet, to larger manufacturing companies with a footprint in established and emerging overseas markets. They included James McGee from Athlone Extrusions, Gary Moore from Steripack, and Simon McKeever from the British Embassy in Dublin.

Speaking at the event, Fionan Murray, co-founder of Smallbusinesscan.com, said: “Through Smallbusinesscan.com, we have also noted an increased number of queries focusing on doing business abroad. CSO statistics from the first five months of 2011 show an overall worldwide average increase in Irish exports of almost 6 per cent. Irish companies in traditional sectors such as construction, waste management, agricultural machinery, and automotive components are doing just as well as those in newer sectors such as telecommunications and compliance software. Our online forum also offers access to a wide range of experienced business people and networking opportunities for those thinking about entering foreign markets.”

The Ulster Bank Business Live series kicked off in Belfast on November 16 and will run until March 5, 2012. The events will appear in key towns and cities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Further information about the Business Live events is available from Ulster Bank branches or at www.smallbusinesscan.com

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