announce free Business Live Events for all SME’s doing, or thinking about doing, business outside of NI

Previously untold stories of international business success will be shared with hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and aspiring entrepreneurs as part of a major events tour being organised by Ulster Bank in association with Small Business Can.

Business Live will feature 14 dates across the island – five in Northern Ireland – between November and March at which all types of business people will hear that trading outside of your home market is probably easier than many think.

Organised in association with, the series will kick off on the evening of November 16 at Riddel Hall, Belfast and culminate in Cookstown’s Burnavon Arts Centre on March 5 – taking in key towns and cities along the way.

On stage will be entrepreneurs who are trading successfully cross-border and internationally to share and discuss their experiences, mistakes and accomplishments with the audience of would-be, emerging and established exporters, importers and cross-border traders.

The events, which are free of charge to attend, will centre around an informal panel discussion chaired by entrepreneur and co-founder of Fionan Murray, and will feature the opportunity for questions, networking and the chance to engage one-to-one with experts from Ulster Bank and other organisations, including InterTradeIreland.

Emma Jones, the influential author of Go Global: How to Take Your Business to the World, and an adviser to governments on the subject of enterprise, will kick off the first event in Belfast and will participate in the discussion and Q&A.

Panellists will range from online entrepreneurs whose micro businesses are selling over the internet around the world, to larger manufacturing companies with a footprint in established and emerging overseas markets. Firms who have significantly increased their customer-base and turnover by selling across the border will also feature prominently.

Many of the panellists are companies whose inspirational cross-border and international trade stories are little-known, and sharing them at the events is intended to provide motivation to other SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs, says Ian Jordan, Head of Business and Commercial Banking NI at Ulster Bank.

He continues: “When you can communicate with potential customers and suppliers across the island and around the world 24/7 at little cost through the internet, it opens significant opportunities. This is one of the reasons why more and more SMEs are able to widen their customer-base and enhance their business by trading outside of their home market”.

“Exporting and importing aren’t just for larger companies with significant resources and cash reserves; we also see lots of potential for small and micro businesses, particularly online. That will be a key message of Business Live.

“I would encourage all SME owners to come to the events, including aspiring entrepreneurs, as there will be something for everyone to learn from the discussion, and the potential to meet and network with a wide range of like-minded business people and experts,” Mr Jordan says.

“As an all-island bank, and as part of an international group with people on the ground in 37 countries, we feel that Ulster Bank is very well placed to help SMEs to explore and capitalise on their potential to do business outside of their home market,” Mr Jordan adds.

More information about Business Live is available from Ulster Bank branches or at

Local companies featuring on the panels will include:

  • CDE Global
  • MastIreland
  • MetHealthcare
  • HandDrawnCreative
  • Boozeberries
  • Up and Running

Tour dates:

  •  16th November, 2011: Riddel Hall, Belfast
  • 21st November: Olive Grove Restaurant, Athlone
  • 22nd November Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge
  • 23rd November: Kilkenny Design Centre, Kilkenny
  • 28th November: Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena•29th November: Carrickdale Hotel, Newry/Dundalk•2nd February: Verbal Arts Centre, L/Derry•6th February: The Strand Hotel, Limerick
  • 7th February: Clayton Hotel, Galway
  • 8th February: The Model School Art Gallery, Sligo
  • 20th February: Cork BIC, Cork
  • 21st February: Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre, Waterford
  • 22nd February: Stillorgan Hotel, Dublin
  • 5th March: Burnavon Arts Centre, Cookstown