200 attend free one-stop-shop event for small businesses in Galway

200 small business owners and managers today (Tuesday) attended a one-stop-shop event for SMEs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway. 

Organised by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, this event aims to provide people thinking of starting a business and existing entrepreneurs with the information they need from across the public sector.

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The ‘Taking Care of Business’ event brings together more than 25 State bodies in two strands with presentations in one area and information stands in a separate area. The information stands were manned throughout the event and presentations were made by 18 State organisations.

Opening the event Ciaran Cannon TD, Minister for Training and Skills, said: “Today’s ‘Taking Care of Business’ event provides entrepreneurs and SMEs with a unique opportunity to access a broad range of information and talk directly to staff from over 25 State bodies and get answers to questions that can help them in their business.

“Growing our indigenous sector and creating jobs for this economy is a major priority for this Government.  A key element of this is ensuring that we communicate with our entrepreneurs and SMEs on the supports and assistance that are available to them and I believe today’s ‘Taking Care of Business’ event is a unique example of how we can achieve this”.

The State bodies represented deal with a wide range of areas, including:

·        Access to finance for SMEs;
·        Assistance and supports from enterprise agencies and Local Authorities;
·        Tax, employment and Health & Safety obligations;
·        Legal requirements for setting up and running a business;
·        Requirements in areas such as food and environmental safety;
·        Advice on Government procurement and intellectual property.

The event was organised in close co-operation with local agencies including Galway City and County Council. A number of representative bodies from industry supporting the event were available to talk to attendees, including Galway Chamber of Commerce.

The presentation sessions during the day were chaired by prominent people in the Galway and National business community:

·        AJ Noonan – Chairman of Small Firms Association, Rhonellen Group
·        Declan Dooley – Vice President Galway Chamber and Managing Director of Galway Independent
·        Mary Bennett – Treasure Chest, Galway and Chairperson of the County & City Enterprise Board

Closing the event Minister Perry said: “As Minister for Small Business I see good communication as a key part of the agenda to reduce red tape for business.  One of the things we find causes people the most headaches is lack of clarity about what they’re supposed to do, who they need to talk to and where to get the right information. My Department and all of the State bodies here today are committed to proactively engaging with businesses to tackle this information gap, by making sure that SMEs and entrepreneurs can find the information they need from multiple sources in one place.

“‘Taking Care of Business’ shows what can be achieved by working together, across boundaries and is part of this Government’s wider effort to communicate better with business.  The ‘Taking Care of Business’ roadshow follows on from the launch of businessregulation.ie
, a web portal that my Department launched in 2012, which provides information from over 30 State bodies in one place.

“One of the strengths of ‘Taking Care of Business’ is its informality; face-to-face contact is a crucial ingredient and attendees can ask questions they might be hesitant to ask in a different setting. The turnout today shows there is a demand from SMEs for this kind of coordinated communication event. It’s really positive to see so many businesspeople make the effort to attend; they are here because they understand how essential it is to make the most of the guidance and supports currently available.”

Today’s event builds on a pilot event in October 2013 in Dublin Castle, which was attended by 500 people. The feedback from the pilot was overwhelmingly positive, with 89% of attendees surveyed finding the format worked well and 80% agreeing that their business would benefit from having attended. The 2014 events are expanding on the number of State bodies at the pilot and bringing ‘Taking Care of Business’ outside Dublin, the most frequent suggestion for future events.

A further ‘Taking Care of Business’ event will be held in Cork on April 1st; to register for this event and for more details including the running order of presentations and the full list of State bodies attending, please visit takingcareofbusiness.ie 

Another ‘Taking Care of Business’ event will take place in Dublin Castle on October 16th.