Bank of Ireland launches 16th Enterprise Week

Gavin Kennedy, left, head of business banking (NI) at Bank of Ireland UK, Bob Barbour, director and CEO of the  Centre for Competitiveness and Alan Bridle, economist and market analyst at Bank of Ireland UK
Gavin Kennedy, left, head of business banking (NI) at Bank of Ireland UK, Bob Barbour, director and CEO of the Centre for Competitiveness and Alan Bridle, economist and market analyst at Bank of Ireland UK

Bank of Ireland UK has announced a partnership with the Centre for Competitiveness, to deliver a series of seminars aimed at helpoing Northern Ireland firms increase business peformance and competitiveness.

The seminars, run by the Centre for Competitiveness, a not-for-profit business improvement organisation, will urge businesses to look beyond Brexit and focus on performance enhancing strategies such as benchmarking, innovation, digitisation and the adoption of specific legal approaches to ensure they can maintain a competitive edge.

The announcement comes as Bank of Ireland UK prepares for its sixteenth Enterprise Week, taking place from October 5 – 12, with the theme ‘Helping Businesses to Thrive.’

“We are delighted to have joined forces with the Centre for Competitiveness to provide these new, practical and timely seminars for local businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing and agri-food sectors,” said Gavin Kennedy, head of business banking in the province at Bank of Ireland.

Outlining some of the challenges local companies currently face - a shifting economic landscape with the as yet unsettled question of Brexit, continued rapid technological advancement, a shortage of skilled talent and the repricing of labour – he urged businesses to focus their efforts on things they have in their control to ensure they can compete now and into the future.

“Through these seminars and our packed programme of Enterprise Week events we want to empower businesses in Northern Ireland to act now.

“There is no better time for businesses to have a strategic re-think. As we look ahead to a post–Brexit economy, it is vital that local companies look at ways to improve their competitiveness and take action.

“Productivity in Northern Ireland continues to stubbornly fall short of both the UK and European average.

“If local businesses are to compete successfully they must focus their efforts on the fundamentals of business such as strong leadership, innovation, export and attracting and retaining skilled labour.

“Adopting and embracing a digital strategy is an imperative. Our own day to day lives benefit enormously from technology - in business, digitisation has the potential to be transformative with greater efficiencies through automation, delivering quality through performance measurement and providing a first class customer experience – all of which can help local companies to prosper.”

Centre for Competitiveness CEO Bob Barbour said: “Companies in Northern Ireland are likely to face a much tougher competitive landscape post-Brexit regardless of the sector in which they operate.

“There is a lot that businesses can do right now to prepare themselves for the challenges after 29th March 2019 and that’s what we’ll explore during the seminars.”