Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been delighted with the response to its first ever Enterprise Week which delivered well over 20 free business support events in a wide range of locations throughout the district in partnership with Omagh Enterprise Company Ltd and Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd.
A wide spectrum of topical business related seminars, workshops, talks and training events were on offer and well over 300 businesses from throughout the district were in attendance during the week-long Enterprise Week.
For the convenience of the local business community specialist events were held throughout the week in numerous locations including Enniskillen, Dromore, Irvinestown and Omagh and delivered by leading experts.
The Council was keen to ensure that a vast array of topics, relevant to the needs of the local business community was covered during the five-day event and offered a vast spectrum of advice and guidance on subjects such as e-commerce, digital marketing, website and Facebook training, practical support on starting and growing a businesses, pension auto enrolment responsibilities and how to tender for public sector contracts, to name but a few.
During the week the Enterprise Centres in Omagh and Enniskillen also opened their doors on a number of occasions when staff were available to offer on the spot advice and guidance on all sorts of business matters including health and safety, finance, etc.
One of the region’s most successful businesses, Euro Auctions in Dromore also opened its doors and hosted a Business Open Evening to outline the company’s history and path to significant worldwide growth. At this event businesses were also able to meeting with funding representatives from the Rural Development Programme and Invest NI.
As the Council was conscious of the need to embrace all sections of the region’s business community events also focused on women in business and the social economy sector the latter of which was highlighted and celebrated at the Council’s first ever Social Economy Conference which was held on the penultimate day of Enterprise Week.
Almost 60 people attended the Social Economy Conference in the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown where a host of celebrated speakers from the field of social enterprise addressed the event, including representatives from LEDCOM, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, the Chief Executive of Viable Corporate Services and the Chief Executive of the ARC Healthy Living Centre itself. Other participants at the conference included Omagh Enterprise Company Limited and Knockninny Credit Union
A new EU funded Renewable Energy Business Support Programme, GREBE was also launched on the final day of the week. GREBE is a three year programme being delivered by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to support renewable energy enterprise. The progamme was launched at the BALCAS Plant in Enniskillen on Friday.
Speaking about the resounding success of the five-day event, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly said the Council had been elated by the response to Enterprise Week.
“The Council is conscious of the crucial importance of SMEs to our district and has always strived to offer as much help and assistance to this valuable sector as possible. It is therefore encouraging to note that well over 300 businesses from throughout the area were able to avail of advice and guidance from the events,” he said.
“SMEs are the lifeblood of the local economy and we have listened to and taken on board what support our businesses out there need and want. Indeed feedback from those who attended events during Enterprise Week has been extremely positive and encouraging and I know the support we offered during the week, and continue to do throughout the year will go some way to help our businesses grow and contribute greater to the local economy”, Councillor O’Reilly added.
In conclusion the Chair said that such was the success of this pilot initiative that the Council hoped that it would continue on an annual basis.
“Although Enterprise Week was a pilot initiative, it is evident that it was a resounding success and I am confident that it will become an annual event on the calendar of events the Council holds every year for our indigenous business community,” Councillor Reilly concluded.