Lunchtime lectures bring expertise to local businesses

Enterprise Week 2007 began today at the Linenhall Library in Belfast with the first in a series of Lunchtime Lectures organised by Invest Northern Ireland. The lectures, sponsored by Ulster Bank, aim to stimulate growth among existing local businesses.

Commenting on the series, Invest Northern Ireland’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, Tracy Meharg said: “Companies have strengths and weaknesses in different functional areas. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is vital that firms seek to improve their capability by addressing limitations and building on strengths.

“Invest NI’s series of Lunchtime Lectures is open to all businesses and offers an opportunity to discover innovative ways to improve performance across a range of organisational functions such as sales, marketing and information technology.”

Today’s lecture was delivered by Bill Beers, Managing Director of Beers Engineering Consultancy Ltd. He provided an insight into how organisations can significantly reduce their operating costs and carbon footprint, thereby improving profitability and increasing corporate social responsibility. Discussion included topics such as electronic storage, workplace heating systems, office lighting and working from home.

Ulster Bank commercial banking manager, Susan Reville, said: “Northern Ireland’s existing business base includes a wealth of talent which can reach its full potential through a commitment to innovation and with the best advice and support. The conditions for doing business in Northern Ireland are improving and the opportunities for enterprising and creative firms have never been better. Through our network of commercial managers across Northern Ireland and our support for initiatives like Enterprise Week, we are committed to supporting local businesses to achieve as highly as they possibly can.”

E-commerce will be the focus of tomorrow’s lecture, which will highlight the principles of online selling. Invest NI’s Nicholas Martin, and Ronnie Lennon of Downpatrick based company Vivomed, will demonstrate how web trading has helped it to broaden its product range and increase its market share.

On Wednesday, delegates will learn about the importance of brand development when growing a business. Case studies, presented by Gillian Colhoun, will highlight the merits of an effective brand design when positioning a company. The value of increasing brand awareness to improve profitability and establish the reputation of a company will also be outlined.

Personal selling and professional image will be the topic of the event on Thursday afternoon, when personal and corporate image consultant Billy Dixon delivers the lecture.

Motivational speaker Mary Keightley will discuss the sales process at the final lecture on Friday afternoon, focusing on the final stages of sealing a deal.

Enterprise Week continues tomorrow evening with the flagship Celebration of Enterprise event, also sponsored by Ulster Bank.