Bizfest 21/06/17

National Opera House, Wexford
12:00 - 16:00
Business Training

Bizfest is a free networking event aimed at helping Irish companies to develop their networks and expand their business.

This event is no longer available

“Look further, think bigger, be ambitious” Bizfest 2017 launched at the National Opera House, Wexford

Now in its 4th year, Bizfest 2017 will be hosted by the south-east region Local Enterprise Office’s and Enterprise Ireland. The event is sponsored by Bank of Ireland.  Bizfest aims to provide an opportunity for owners, managers and their key staff across Ireland to make connections while immersing themselves in the experience, entrepreneurial spirit and stories of entrepreneurs.

Bizfest has 3 elements; The first element is a networking lunch, the second is an exhibition area which introduces attendees to services which may benefit their business. The third element is a panel event featuring unique business people who have experience on the local, national and international stage.  This year’s panel includes Julie Sinnamon CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Patsy Carney CEO of Eirgen, Jim Hughes CEO of Innovate and Paul Jacob Owner of Smart Storage.

The event is hosted by Newstalk presenter and Wexford native, Ivan Yates.

Speaking about the event Tom Banville, Head of Enterprise at LEO Wexford on behalf of the South East Local Enterprise Office’s said; “The Local Enterprise Office Networking Events are popular and engaging events which generate much interest from businesses and help make connections happen. Which in turn develop key relationships, boost revenues and help maintain and create jobs”.

Bizfest 2017 is co-hosted by Bank of Ireland and Andrew Owen, Branch Manager in Wexford added; We are delighted to support Bizfest 2017 and would encourage all businesses from the area to participate in the event which will provide them with a fantastic opportunity to make connections with their peers across the country who will attend this event”

Panellist Jim Hughes co-founder and CEO of Innovate said “Making the right connections is a vital part of doing business in this country. This is a very useful networking event for Ireland’s enterprise community”


Ivan Yates (MC) - Newstalk Presenter.
Julie Sinnamon - CEO Enterprise Ireland.
Jim Hughes – CEO and Co-Founder Innovate.
Patsy Carney – CEO and Co-Founder Eirgen Pharma.
Paul Jacob – Owner and Founder Smart Storage.
Margaret Kirwan – Director at Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Fiona Dillon - CEO of Tumbledown Media

Ivan Yates (MC) - Newstalk Presenter

Ivan Yates has had unique life experience in politics, business and media. A former government minister and Wexford TD for more than 20 years; an entrepreneur who founded and developed Celtic Bookmakers to employ 400 people, with €200 million turnover.  In 2014 he published his best-selling autobiography, ‘Full On’ with acclaimed reviews. 

Julie Sinnamon - CEO of Enterprise Ireland

Julie Sinnamon is CEO of Enterprise Ireland, a government agency responsible for the growth of Irish-owned businesses in global markets.  Prior to her appointment to CEO in November 2013, Julie held a number of senior public sector positions, spanning a 30 year career in Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.  She has considerable experience in a variety of industry sectors, most notably the food sector, where she has worked directly with some of Ireland's best-known food brands, from their originating idea, right through to globally trading multi-national food businesses.

In 2015, Julie was appointed to the Investment Committee of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, part of the National Treasury Management Agency, by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan. She has been recently appointment to the National Competitiveness Council. She is also a Board Member of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Limited.

Jim Hughes – CEO and Co-Founder of INNOVATE

In 2006, at the age of 25, Jim Hughes entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore and he founded Innovate together with Enda Cahill, Innovate’s chief technical officer. Their vision in setting up the business was to provide differentiated value while delivering the highest levels of customer service, at all times focusing on attracting and retaining the best people in the industry. In 2012 they set up their communications business unit, VoiceGrid to provide integrated communication systems. a career in IT provided Jim with a technical grounding, but his interest in people and belief in the power of a growth mind-set has enabled him to found and build a leading IT service provider based on the pillars of excellence, leadership and respect.

Patsy Carney – CEO and Co-Founder of Eirgen Pharma

Co-founded EirGen in 2005 with Tom Brennan. Since then they have grown the company, constantly investing and expanding operations at its Waterford Base, while developing new innovations in the research and development of chemotherapy drugs. EirGen employs 76 people and has contracts in 45 countries and it is one of the leading developers and suppliers of high potency niche pharmaceutical products in the world. EirGen Pharma was sold to US-Based Opko for €120m in 2015.

Paul Jacob – Founder and Owner of Smart Storage

In 2011 Paul Jacob founded & developed Smart Storage, the 1st modular under-stairs storage system to fit into all domestic homes. Manufactured in Ireland and supplied across the UK & Ireland. Providing a supply and installation service to the domestic consumer, Smart Storage also provide flat-packed and easily assembled option to developers and builders across the UK.

The former construction engineer appeared on Dragons Den last back in 2012. Two of the Dragons offered him more than he initially asked for and it was Norah Casey, CEO of Harmonia, who ultimately sealed the deal. After almost an hour and three quarters of grilling in the Den, Paul came away with an investment of €65,000 for 20 per cent of his business. He has grown the business dramatically since then. Smart Storage are working with some of the leading housing developers, their products are now being installed in new housing developments across the UK & Ireland.

Margaret Kirwan – Director of Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Margaret (Mag) Kirwan is a business woman, active promoter of local food, mother of four children and author of her own cookbook, 'Fishwives'.

Goatsbridge Trout Farm was established in 1961 by Rita and Pauric Kirwan and was the first privately own fish farm in the country. Their son Gerard joined the team in 1985 followed by his wife Mag in 1995. Gerard and Mag's goal was to extend the Goatsbridge product range beyond fresh trout to added value, smoked trout – hot and cold – under the Goatsbridge brand. In 2010 a state of the art processing and packaging facility was added to the farm to further ensure the quality of trout produced on the farm.

Today, Goatsbridge Trout Farm is the leading provider of live fish for the restocking of lakes, rivers and fisheries. Goatsbridge Premium Irish Trout is also supplied to hotels, restaurants, caterers, supermarkets and fish wholesalers around the country. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of all they do and their product certainly reflects this. They are Ireland's only producer of trout caviar, only smoked trout in a tin and also produce award-winning smoked trout pate. Goatsbridge was the first fish farm to sign up to Bord Bia’s 'Origin Green' programme and is committed to sustainable water and energy usage and to social sustainability.

Fiona Dillon - CEO of Tumbledown Media

Fiona Dillon is the creator of the Freddy Buttons brand, created to promote healthier eating amongst children. Her series of six Freddy Buttons books are now on their second print run and Fiona is currently in talks with a Chinese company based in Shanghai who are keen to create a bilingual version of her books.  Her newest client is Tipperary Food Producers for whom she is creating a bespoke children’s book which is due to launch in September 2017.

Fiona is also a feature writer for Irish Country magazine and  Her first book, Food From An Irish Garden (Orpen Press, 2013) was published in 2013 and she is Great Taste and RAI awards judge.  She is also Food Correspondent for KCLR96FM and is working on turning the Freddy Buttons books into an animated TV series for children.

Lauren Murphy - International Sales Director with St. Killian's Candle Company

St Killian's, based in Cahir, Co. Tipperary are the inventors and distributors of a patented candle burning system.

Since commencing their business in 2011, St. Killian’s have grown the business across 17 countries. They have spent 15 years developing this totally smokeless, clean and safe candle burning system. St Killian's were endorsed by an American insurance company, Catholic Mutual Group in 2016. They are the largest insurers of cathedrals and churches in North America and Canada. They endorsed St Killian's due to the safeness of the Candle Burning System.

Lauren Murphy is the International Sales Director within St Killian's. Lauren has worked for St Killian's Candle Company for the past three years, developing both domestic and International markets, having recently introduced the St. Killian Candle system to Florida and Hawaii.