Encouraging our small and medium-sized companies to export is crucial for the Northern Ireland economy, according to the co-founder of Small Business Can, Ron Immink
Why are more local companies not exporting? It is a conundrum. Not only for us, entrepreneurs like you and I, but for governments and banks as well.
Especially when we know what businesses have going for them. Brand Northern Ireland is still very strong (you might not believe that with the consistent doom and gloom merchants at home). The mindset, the art of storytelling, the chutzpah, the history, the goodwill... and I can go on.
We also have the networks. I know that the Diaspora idea has been bandied around quite a bit, but it is a powerful sales engine that you should use. And not only in the US. There is a very powerful network elsewhere in the UK at your disposal as well. And there are similar opportunities all across the globe. In other worlds, the world is your oyster.
Blah, blah, blah. We can talk about it until the cows come home. But we have decided to try to do something about it. With the support of the people that make Small Business Can possible, Ulster Bank, we are coming to a place near you.
Very similar to our very successful Start-Up Live events, we will feature a panel of business people talking about what they have learned regarding doing business abroad. No speeches, no lectures, no academics, no pitches. Just a conversation between peers with a lot of questions... and stupid questions are welcome. In fact, with Ron and Fionan, the founders of Small Business Can, moderating, they are inevitable.
Two of the panelists participating in our events are profiled here on these pages talking about their successes outside of Northern Ireland. They have great stories to tell, and their stories highlight that small and micro companies can do business internationally. It's definitely not just for bigger firms.
The first Business Live event is in Belfast on November 16 and there are five in Northern Ireland, with 14 across the island.
Representatives of InterTradeIreland will be attending many of them to share their expertise in relation to doing business cross-border.
We'll also have entrepreneur and author Emma Jones, who advises governments on enterprise (check her out on Twitter @emmaljones), at the Belfast event.
And finally, depending on what you need, we will build other applications on Small Business Can to make doing business abroad as easy as possible. Let us know what you need.
Looking forward to seeing you at one of the Business Live events in November and February. Find out more at: www.smallbusinesscan.com/business-live-events