Local Enterprise Week 2016

Over 500 businesses attend Monaghan first Local Enterprise Week

As part of the first nationally co-ordinated 'Local Enterprise Week' Monaghan Local Enterprise Office hosted and supported a number of events from March 7th to 11th all over the county. The week was supported by Monaghan County Council and invitations were extended to key agencies and businesses in the county.

The Local Enterprise Week series of events was aimed at stimulating business growth and new business creation to drive economic prosperity. An estimated 500 potential & existing entrepreneurs attended 13 business seminars, workshops and networking opportunities along with mentoring clinics. All events took place over the past five days and offered something for everyone, regardless of whether you wanted to develop a business idea, start a business or grow your existing enterprise.

Chief Executive Eamonn O Sullivan officially opening Local Enterprise Week stating that “Monaghan County Council is committed to progressively supporting enterprise in the county. The number of business opportunities planned for the week shows that through the Local Enterprise Office we are focused on providing the right environment for business supports to our small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs”. CE O Sullivan, also supported the positive message being promoted by Local Enterprise Week that Co Monaghan is a great place to live, invest and do business. Also at this event Monaghan County Council launched the findings from their recent skills audit Bridging the Gap. The report had the primary object contributing to the development of education courses suitable to the needs of Monaghan business.

Day two’s key event was the 2016 launch of Monaghan Women in Business (a Local Enterprise Office networking programme). Over 60 women turned up to hear keynote speaker Rosemary Delaney from Women Mean Business Magazine. Riona Carroll, programme co-ordinator expressed her delight on the numbers attending the event and spoke about the need for a strong network which supports the needs of business women in Monaghan. Riona outlined the 2016 programme and stated that she was looking forward to working to develop the network. Eilin Connolly from Monaghan LEO said that “the idea behind the Women in Business initiative is to get our many talented and hard working business women together in a relaxed, informal environment to get to know each other, learn from each other, network and meet potential new customers and suppliers from within the group”. (a full report on the event will be released next week with full 2016 programme).

Another highlight of the week was on Wednesday when a Business Seminar attended by 80 people had opportunity to hear from local, regional and national agencies in Monaghan who can support business through finance, training, business development and mentoring programmes. Speakers attended from Enterprise Ireland, IntertradeIreland, Department of Social Protection and LEADER. Also speaking on the day was Padraig McEneaney, Managing Director of Celtic Pure who shared his business story, of starting from bottling water by hand to moving to 40,000 units per hour! His recent expansion and job creation announcement makes Padraig a great role model for business in Monaghan.

This seminar was followed by Monaghan County Final for the National Enterprise Awards with 11 businesses up for awards. The LEO Enterprise Awards celebrates Monaghan’s best and brightest in business and the winners were as follows Best Start Up; went to family run company headed by Mila Khokha, Baked with Love Ltd. Best Established accolade was awarded to Pet Shop Online. The innovation award went to Marc Kelly for his creative branding firm Sculp, a creative branding firm established in 2011. The winner of the Overall Monaghan Business of the Year when to Cloud10Beauty. The company is owned by Blanaid Johnson and has rapidly grown to become Ireland’s definitive one-stop-shop for online beauty. On receipt of her award Blanaid said that she was absolutely thrilled and delighted with her award from Monaghan LEO and that she looked forward to representing the county at the National Enterprise Awards in May.

One of the key events of the week was the annual Retail is Etailsummit. The event in its fourth year is designed to support businesses in the North East develop their online presence and increase their ecommerce capacity. The event, organised by Monaghan IT Forum and supported by the Local Enterprise Office took place in the Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Briege Quinn, Business Advisor, Local Enterprise Office, Monaghan said: “We recognise that eCommerce is an extremely fast growing area and we are delighted to be part of this initiative to raise awareness among the hundreds of SMEs who have already registered because they want to tap into the enormous potential. In line with the Action Plan for Jobs we are open for applications for the new Trading Online Voucher Scheme. Reaction has proven extremely positive and demand from small local businesses to participate has been high. The scheme is allowing us to engage with a wider range of companies than ever before. Trading online is not only a big opportunity for small businesses; it is more and more becoming an essential part of business strategy. With a little help and some financial support we can ensure that these businesses benefit as a result."

One of the final seminars of the week was presented by legal expert Brian Morgan from Morgan McManus Solicitors, Clones. Brian’s seminar disseminated information on changes to Employment Law, he explained the new Workplace Relations Commission and advised businesses to be up to date with all relevant information. Brian explained how this Act has substantially amended the primary Employment and Industrial Relations legislation. All Employment Law Complaints made on or after the 1st October 2015 will be heard by Adjudication Officers at first instance. The Workplace Relations Act also provides for the Labour Court to be the appellate body to determine, among other matters, appeals against decisions of the WRC Adjudication Officers. The Act provides for the new Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and enables the WRC to undertake a full range of functions formerly carried out by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), including the Rights Commissioner Service, the Equality Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) and the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA).

At the close of Monaghan’s First Local Enterprise Week, Head of Local Enterprise John McEntegart was upbeat in his assessment: “Monaghan Local Enterprise Week attracted huge interest among business owners, managers and aspiring entrepreneurs who came to attend events all over the county. It was a hugely successful week and a great result for our Local Enterprise Office. I was delighted to attend most of the events and the feedback that I have received from everyone has been very positive. Monaghan Local Enterprise Week has created a tangible and positive impact on our business community and this will help to enable our local businesses to work more effectively and exploit more opportunities”.