Belfast Telegraph

Exports roadshow urges SMEs to broaden business horizons

By Heather McGarrigle

A business roadshow is aiming to inspire hundreds of businesses across Ireland to trade outside their home markets.

Business Live, organised by Ulster Bank in association with Small Business Can, will visit five locations in Northern Ireland. The tour begins in Belfast on November 14 and will take in 14 key towns and cities in total.

The free of charge events will centre around an informal panel discussion chaired by entrepreneur and co-founder of Fionan Murray.

Owners of SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to ask questions, network and engage one-to-one with experts from Ulster Bank and other organisations, including InterTradeIreland.

They will hear from business owners already trading internationally and cross border, who will share their experiences, mistakes and accomplishments

Panellists will range from online entrepreneurs with micro businesses, to larger manufacturing companies operating in established and emerging overseas markets.

Firms who have significantly increased their customer-base and turnover by selling across the border are set to feature prominently.

Many of the export success stories haven't been widely told, so it is hoped they will provide motivation to other firms.

Ian Jordan, head of business and commercial banking NI at Ulster Bank believes low cost marketing and selling online opens up markets.

He said: "This is one of the reasons why more and more SMEs are able to widen their customer-base and enhance their business by trading outside of their home market.

"Exporting and importing aren't just for larger companies with significant resources and cash reserves; we also see lots of potential for small and micro businesses, particularly online."

More information about Business Live is available from Ulster Bank branches or at

Local companies featuring on the panels will include:

  • CDE Global
  • MastIreland
  • MetHealthcare
  • HandDrawnCreative
  • Boozeberries
  • Up and Running

Tour Dates

November 16: Riddel Hall, Belfast

November 21: Olive Grove Restaurant, Athlone

November 21: Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge

November 23: Kilkenny Design Centre, Kilkenny

November 28: Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena

November 29: Carrickdale Hotel, Newry/Dundalk

February 2, 2012: Verbal Arts Centre, L/Derry

February 6, 2012: The Strand Hotel, Limerick

February 7, 2012: Clayton Hotel, Galway

February 8, 2012: The Model School Art Gallery, Sligo

February 20, 2012: Cork BIC, Cork

February 21, 2012: Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre, Waterford

February 22, 2012: Stillorgan Hotel, Dublin

March 5, 2012: Burnavon Arts Centre, Cookstown.