Nearly 200 small business owners and managers today attended a one-stop-shop event for SMEs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, in the Strand Hotel, Limerick.
This free half-day event was organised by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to provide people thinking of starting a business and existing entrepreneurs with the information they need from across the public sector.
‘Taking Care of Business’ brought together more than 25 State bodies in two strands with presentations in one area and information stands in a separate area. The information stands were manned throughout the event by experts who spoke directly to attendees and answered questions in an informal setting; in the hall 18 concise presentations were given with a focus on key regulatory requirements and assistance available to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
Opening the event Alan Kelly TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “Today’s ‘Taking Care of Business’ event was designed to give entrepreneurs and SMEs easy access to a broad range of information that can help them in their business, from access to finance options, to advice on compliance issues and financial grants. The Government is determined to make 2014 the year for jobs; to make that happen we have to make sure that business is getting the message about the variety of State assistance on offer.
“One of the best things about ‘Taking Care of Business’ is the informal atmosphere; attendees can talk directly to staff from over 25 State bodies and get answers to questions they might be reluctant to ask in a different setting.”
The State bodies represented deal with a wide range of areas, including:
- Access to finance for SMEs;
- Assistance and supports from enterprise agencies and Local Authorities;
- Tax, employment and Health & Safety obligations;
- Legal requirements for setting up and running a business;
- Requirements in areas such as food and environmental safety.
The event was organised in close co-operation with local agencies including Limerick City and County Councils. A number of representative bodies from industry supporting the event were available to talk to attendees, including Limerick Chamber of Commerce. The presentation sessions during the day were chaired by prominent people in the Limerick business community:
- Helen O’Donnell – entrepreneur, Chairperson of Limerick Tidy Towns and Limerick Person of the Year 2012
- Mary Fitzgerald – Woodlands House Hotel, Adare
- Paul Collins – Mechanical Engineer and winner of National Enterprise of the Year 2013.
Minister Kelly said: “The high turnout today shows that business people in Limerick and the surrounding region understand the benefit of attending an event like this. It’s particularly encouraging to see people thinking of starting a business finding out what they need to know; we need to support ambitious people to go out there and create jobs with their businesses.
“I was also glad to see Enterprise Ireland, the Enterprise Europe Network and the European Commission’s Representation in Ireland at the event; they are helping entrepreneurs to learn how to start exporting to the wider European market and beyond.”
Today’s event builds on a pilot event in October 2013 in Dublin Castle, which was attended by 500 people. The feedback from the pilot was overwhelmingly positive, with 89% of attendees surveyed finding the format worked well and 80% agreeing that their business would benefit from having attended. The 2014 events are expanding on the number of State bodies at the pilot and bringing ‘Taking Care of Business’ outside Dublin, the most frequent suggestion for future events.
Further ‘Taking Care of Business’ events will be held in Galway on March 25th and Cork on April 1st; to register for one of these events and for more details including the running order of presentations and the full list of State bodies attending, please visit takingcareofbusiness.ie.
Another ‘Taking Care of Business’ event will take place in Dublin Castle on October 16th.