Westport Export Seminar a superb success

By 2016 Ireland will be the best small country in Europe in which to do business, according to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. At the SMEs Doing Business in Europe seminar in Knockranny House Hotel last weekend, delegates were addressed by An Taoiseach as well as the Minister for Small Business, John Perry, whose speeches echoed the need for people’s active involvement and support in the Government’s recovery plan. Ireland is “open for business” and requires participation from its people to make change happen.

Small business is the “backbone” of the country’s economy, and both Minister Perry and Mr Kenny reiterated the Government’s commitment to doing all it can to support and foster growth within the SME sector.

The seminar, which was organised by the European Parliament information office in Ireland, in conjunction with Network Mayo, offered west of Ireland SMEs insight from other small Irish businesses currently exporting within Europe and further afield.

Inspirational presentations were given by Anne Butterly, Easy Dry (Louth ); Bernie Butler, Good4U (Sligo ); Aisling Roche, Achill Island Turbot (Mayo ); and Adrian Devane, Babóg Baby (Galway ). Caoimhe Delaney, membership development manager of the Irish Exporters’ Association, provided practical advice and tips on behalf of the organisation, which supports Irish businesses seeking information on exporting.

A common theme in the advice and experiences of all those presenting on the day, was the importance of determination and vision for your product or service, alongside an awareness that help is available for those starting out or developing their business for export. Another recurring theme was the impetus behind each product; all resonating eco-friendly, healthy, educational and simply better ways of doing business. “It is clear that the driving forces of business in Ireland have changed dramatically – quite possibly as a result of the recession – entrepreneurs and businesspeople are looking for better, more positive, ways to add to the economy and society in general,” commented Una Murphy, national lobbying and funding officer with Network Ireland.

Opening the event, Olwen Dawe, president of Network Mayo, and Francis Jacobs, head of the European Parliament information office in Ireland, both referred to the need for awareness of availability of export advice and supports among the SME community. Seminars such as this one provided an opportunity for SMEs to glean some much-needed insight from colleagues, as well as expert information.

The seminar was chaired by Marian Harkin, MEP, whose European experience and knowledge of the Irish economic context added greatly to the seminar. Ms Harkin spoke about the need for positive steps in redeveloping confidence in our country at home and abroad, commenting that an event such as the seminar helped to contextualise all that is possible for small businesses in Europe.

Closing the seminar, Una Murphy thanked all those who made the event possible, with particular reference to the European Parliament information office in Ireland, and the organising committee (Dearbhla Byrne, president Network Galway, Olwen Dawe, president Network Mayo, Áine Kilgallon, PRO Network Ireland, and Caroline Gordon, secretary Network Ireland ). Ms Murphy also thanked the speakers, political representatives, and delegates for ensuring the event had been the great success it had proven to be.

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