Gavin Kennedy, Head of Business Banking NI, Bank of Ireland UK said: “Business Owners Insights is all about building business confidence and we can help to do that through sharing knowledge, insights and success and by building a powerful community of networks.
“Half of the SMEs we recently surveyed said their current business was just managing, with a further 16% stretched or struggling. We’ve listened, and in response we have developed a programme that we hope will inspire, engage and create business opportunities for our customers so they can gain a competitive advantage.
The Bank’s key objective in developing this new initiative is to enable local SMEs to hear from some of Northern Ireland’s most talented and successful entrepreneurs on the challenges they have faced in building their business, the lessons they have learned and most importantly the advice they can give to fellow entrepreneurs with ambition to grow their businesses.
The keynote speakers included Breda McCague, Motivational & Transformational Specialist and CoFounder for Lean-In Ireland who inspired attendees on the main theme of the night, developing business confidence and the art of the pitch. She said; “To land your dreams, think big, be clear about the success you want and how it feels [when you get there] and be clear on the actions you need to take to get there. After that it’s about taking on fear…The opponent of opportunity. Just go for it!”
Niall McKenna, Chef and entrepreneur owner of James Street & Co restaurant group shared the best advice he’d be given in running a business, he said: “The importance of looking after your staff, have the nerve to get on with it and building relationships is vital to business.”
Other speakers included Willie Jack, owner of several bars including The Duke of York in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter; and Holly Wilson, Commercial Manager, Belfast Cathedral.
Gavin continued: “The programme will give our customers the opportunity to hear from others who have started or run a business, had similar experiences to their own, made a success of it and who have learned valuable lessons along the way. It is these insights we are keen to share among our business customers that we hope will prove invaluable for their own business growth.
“We are committed to providing our customers with tangible support in a unique environment that we hope will be highly interactive, engaging, fun and with an endless exchange of ideas and opportunities that will stimulate new ideas and fantastic growth opportunities.“
Pictured at the launch from L to R: Niall McKenna, Chef and Owner, James Street & Co restaurant group; Breda McCague Bank of Ireland and Co-Founder, Lean-In Ireland; Holly Wilson Commercial Business Manager, Belfast Cathedral; and Gavin Kennedy Head of Business Banking NI, Bank of Ireland UK