Featuring Fiona Kingston, Ulster Bank

We have been working with Ulster Bank for 6 years now. It has always struck us that the perception of bankers from the outside, does not correspond with our experiences. In fact Ulster Bank is filled with cool dudes and dudes, who have a very interesting stories to tell.

Programme director of Business Women Can

So we decided to put them on video. Here is the next in our series, featuring Fiona Kingston of Ulster Bank. The women behind Business Women Can, an initiative that celebrates the success of women led businesses and helps and support women led business. An indication of the success of Fiona and Business Women Can is that from zero the women led category in the Business Achievers Awards is not the most popular category (with a lot of excellent businesses). 

Family, trekking and running

When Fiona is not working for Ulster Bank, she keeps busy with her two boys, her husband and goes out hiking and trekking in county Cork. She runs too, include at least 2 half marathons every year.

The tip for success

When we asked her for her business number tips, she gave us two. 

The post Featuring Fiona Kingston, Ulster Bank appeared first on Small Business Can.

This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/featuring-fiona-kingston-ulster-bank/ on thinkbusiness

Is Your Small Business Prepared for The International Market?

Expanding your business operations outside the country can improve profits and brand exposure immensely. But taking on a macro-scale leap also holds new challenges that may present road bumps to your projected business path. Small businesses, given their limited working capital, must factor in all possibilities prior going global.

Is Your Working Capital Enough?

To expand, a business must have money for both existing operations and expansion. It should be a no-brainer but many small businesses seem to neglect the right capital amount prior to offering their products or services on the international market. Having sufficient capital allows a business to make mistakes early on without any permanent damages to the business. An under-capitalized business will operate under pressure and thus will most likely fail.

Do You Have The Equipment?

Equipment and machinery are necessary components for expansionary endeavors. Construction firms must have equipped sites at their prospected foreign location in advance. Meanwhile, retail stores must also have the proper facilities and labor forces already set in place in the country they wish to expand in.

Aside from business equipment, moving supplies are also crucial. Look for cost-effective custom crates to make sure your business’ products can be shipped internationally without incurring damages and defects. According to a Toronto custom packaging expert from Pack-All International, custom crates are preferable to mass-produced ones, as the former can be made to suit the unique shipping needs of your product.

Cost vs. Potential Gains

Will it be worth it to expand to that particular market? Do research to find optimal locations and target markets to expand to. If the costs outweigh the potential gains, it may be better to use the capital to further empower local brand influence instead.

Study The Market

Be familiar first with the marketplace you want to go into. Who are the big players? What are the average costs for properties and materials in the area? The more you are familiar with the demographics of the country you wish to do business in, the easier it will be to identify your market and promote your brand.

Cloud Computing Technology

Cloud computing services help you scale with cheaper cost and lower risk. It also makes managing the small business simpler through increase in accessibility and productivity, all while lowering the costs.

Prepare Your Workforce

Your brand must cultivate a culture with consistent values and this goal starts with your workforce. Make sure they understand and embrace the business’ goals and overall missions, irrespective of which branch they are working in. Regular video conferences are a great and inexpensive way to maintain communication with a distant or international workforce.

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Preparing for Christmas with Ulster Bank Business Women Can

The aim of the Ulster Bank Business Women Can network is to enable, connect and support female entrepreneurs and business leaders. Our event on 3rd December did just that, bringing together a wide range of business women to network with each other and learn from the personal experiences of four very successful NI female business leaders. The evening also had a focus on supporting local businesses, with a range of stalls, where female led Ulster Bank customers showcased their business and provided the opportunity for invitees to start their Christmas shopping.

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Cathy Martin, Managing Director of CMPR kicked off the evening, speaking of the importance of networking and how her business has grown from contacts made at the first event she organised for Irish artist Terry Bradley. How opportunities can come from every event you attend and by spending your time wisely, networking can benefit long-term. As the founder of Belfast Fashion Week franchise, Cathy has her finger firmly on the pulse of current trends and shared her fashion tips with the audience; that metallics are big for the 2014 Christmas season and one of her top tips for your Christmas party is to bring a handbag big enough to carry those most needed flats for the way home!

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Following Cathy, Brenda Shankey gave a very heartfelt and down-to-earth talk, of her experiences of running a men’s grooming business with her husband, Jason www.jasonshankey.com. She told of the challenges of investing in people and how by being so personally involved in the business and staff, it impacted her when some people have gone on to set up in competition with their business. Brenda’s message was very much about how to bounce back from difficult times and how the world of business is a continuous learning experience. Brenda ended with some tips on how to go from work – to – party at Christmas and how to achieve that much sought after party hair and make-up look in minutes.

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Petra Wolsey, Marketing Manager of the Beanchor Group, was the third speaker of the evening, speaking of her career from waitressing initially and working her way through the ranks in a Company which hires over 300 people and runs some of the most successful bars and restaurants in Belfast. With over 50% of female representation on the Beanchor payroll, Petra is acutely aware of the importance of flexible working and the benefit of finding working solutions for both employee and management. Petra finished by reminding everyone of the importance of taking some ‘me’ time over the Christmas break and where better to relax than the beautiful spa at the Merchant hotel www.themerchanthotel.com/index.php/spa

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Finishing off the speakers session, Ruth Wilson spoke of how the passion she had for decorating as a young girl who moved house 8 times, has developed into her business, Beaufort Interiors www. beaufortinteriors.co.uk which has seen her design homes for the rich and famous, as well as some royal clients! Ruth had prepared a beautiful display to demonstrate some options for decorating your home for the Christmas season.

Before and after the speakers guests had the opportunity to purchase from an array of products at the ‘UB Christmas fair’ ranging from flowers, gifts and cards, beauty products, jewellery, home made cakes and pastries, fabric goods, prints and chocolate. Check out each of our stall holders at their websites / facebook pages as listed:

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thinkbusiness

Ulster Bank Continues Support for Women in Business

Sharing experiences and insights can help businesswomen overcome some of the challenges faced when starting, running or managing a business. That was the message to female business leaders and entrepreneurs at an Ulster Bank Business Women Can event held in Belfast.

More than 60 local businesswomen gathered at the bank’s Belfast headquarters for the event, which heard from leading local entrepreneurs, and saw local businesses showcase their wares in a Christmas market format.

Speakers included: Cathy Martin, founder of Belfast Fashion Week and Managing Director of CMPR; Petra Wolsey, Marketing Director at The Beannchor Group; Ruth Wilson, Founder and Managing Director of Beaufort Interiors; and Brenda Shankey Co-Director of Jason Shankey Male Grooming.

Shauna Burns, centre of Ulster Bank, with the speakers: Ruth Wilson, Founder and Managing Director of Beaufort Interiors, Cathy Martin, founder of Belfast Fashion Week, Brenda Shankey Co-Director of Jason Shankey Male Grooming, and Petra Wolsey, Marketing Director at The Beannchor Group.

Shauna Burns, centre of Ulster Bank, with the speakers: Ruth Wilson, Founder and Managing Director of Beaufort Interiors, Cathy Martin, founder of Belfast Fashion Week, Brenda Shankey Co-Director of Jason Shankey Male Grooming, and Petra Wolsey, Marketing Director at The Beannchor Group.

 

Head of Ulster Bank’s Mid Ulster and Fermanagh Business Centre Shauna Burns said that the bank is delighted to support such events, where successful and dynamic business women can share their experiences and insights.

She pointed out Northern Ireland’s largest company, its largest bank, its government department for enterprise, and its Chamber of Commerce, for example, are now all led by women.

And she said that whilst much more needs to be done, there is an increasingly strong support network in place to assist female entrepreneurs and to encourage more female business leaders.

She continues: “There is no doubt that more women in business is a highly positive development for the economy. A recent global entrepreneurship report by the French giant BNP Paribas, for example, found that the average turnover of the primary business of women entrepreneurs, at $9.1 million, is higher, compared to $8.4 million for men. It also found that women entrepreneurs typically launch about 5 businesses compared to 4.3 for their male counterparts.

“Looking at the calibre of businesses represented at our Business Women Can events gives me cause for real optimism in 2015 and beyond,” she adds.

Business Women Can

Ulster Bank’s successful Business Women Can programme provides online and local support, which aims to offer help and understanding on the specific challenges to women starting, running or managing businesses. The programme is run with the support of programme ambassadors throughout the Bank.

Ulster Bank’s Business Women Can ambassadors are trained and focussed on understanding the products, services and practical support tools needed when starting or running a business and are committed to supporting businesswomen across Ireland.

Stallholders at the event

Style Story (www.stylestoryjewellery.com)

Tracey Tsang Fabric Goods

Jason Shankey (www.jasonshankey.com)

Serene Skincare (www.sereneskincare.co.uk)

In Magazine (www.in-magazine.co.uk)

Floral Creations (www.floralcreationscomber.co.uk)

Ann’s Pantry (www.facebook.com/pages/Anns-Pantry)

The Creativity Hub (www.creativityhub.com)

Sheldon Galleries  (www.sheldongalleries.co.uk)

Willow Cards & Gifts (www.thewillowmoira.com)

Chocolate Memories (www.chocolatememories.co.uk)

Barely Cosmetics  (www.barelycosmetics.com)

Delen Skincare

Beaufort Interiors (www.beaufortinteriors.co.uk)

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thinkbusiness

Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2014 Winners

Overall ‘Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2014’: Almac

Judges Special Recognition Award: Janet McCollum, Chief Executive Officer, Moy Park

1. Woman Led Business: TVM
2. Best Business Start Up: Smart Wall Paint
3. Small Business Award: FCS Global
4. Best Established SME: Reagecon Diagnostics Ltd
5. Food and Drink: Avondale Foods
6. Social Enterprise: The Food Hub
7. International Business: Realex Payments
8. Agri-business: Paul Brophy Produce

Celebrating their success at the 2014 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final at the Mansion House Dublin were the national winners. Pictured L – R: Front Row: Helen Arnold of Television Mobiles Ltd., Noel McPartland of The Food Hub, Ellvena Graham, Managing Director of Small Medium Enterprise Banking at Ulster Bank, Doug Cookson of Almac, Derek Geddes of Avondale, John Barron of Reagecon Diagnostics. Back Row : Jim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Ulster Bank Group, John Byrne of Smart Wall Paint, Paul Gillen of Realex Payments, Janet McCollum of Moy Park, Mike Rowland of FCS Global, Paul Brophy of Paul Brophy produce, Ross McEwan, Chief Executive Officer, RBS.

Celebrating their success at the 2014 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final at the Mansion House Dublin were the national winners.
Pictured L – R: Front Row: Helen Arnold of Television Mobiles Ltd., Noel McPartland of The Food Hub, Ellvena Graham, Managing Director of Small Medium Enterprise Banking at Ulster Bank, Doug Cookson of Almac, Derek Geddes of Avondale, John Barron of Reagecon Diagnostics.
Back Row : Jim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Ulster Bank Group, John Byrne of Smart Wall Paint, Paul Gillen of Realex Payments, Janet McCollum of Moy Park, Mike Rowland of FCS Global, Paul Brophy of Paul Brophy produce, Ross McEwan, Chief Executive Officer, RBS.

 

Celebrating their success at the national final 2014 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards in the Mansion House was overall winner Craigavon-based Almac. Pictured L – R: Doug Cookson, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Almac Group, Ellvena Graham, Managing Director of Small Medium Enterprise Banking at Ulster Bank and Austin Tanney, Marketing Manager, Almac Group.

Celebrating their success at the national final 2014 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards in the Mansion House was overall winner Craigavon-based Almac.
Pictured L – R: Doug Cookson, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Almac Group, Ellvena Graham, Managing Director of Small Medium Enterprise Banking at Ulster Bank and Austin Tanney, Marketing Manager, Almac Group.

 

Overall ‘Ulster Bank Business Achiever 2014’: Almac Group Ltd.

Headquartered in Craigavon, Almac is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services to over 600 companies globally within the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. Services include state-of-the-art drug discovery, world leading cancer diagnostics, research and development, manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, formulation development and the support of global clinical trials. Today the global organisation employs over 3,500 staff in a diverse range of activities.


Judges Special Recognition Award: Janet McCollum, CEO, Moy Park

Janet McCollum has worked for Moy Park for over 20 years. She joined Moy Park in 1993 as European Accountant and within 6 years had progressed to the Executive Board as Group Finance Director. Janet assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer on 1st January 2014, with leadership of the Moy Park Europe business which covers the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe. During her time in Moy Park, Janet has seen the business evolve into its current position as a major force within the UK and European food industry. The company offers a range of fresh, high quality and locally farmed poultry and complementary convenience food products to all the leading retail and food service customers in the UK and Europe. As Northern Ireland’s largest private sector company, it employs 12,000 people with 14 main sites in the UK, Ireland France and the Netherlands, accompanying mills and hatcheries and 800 farms in its supply chain.


1. Woman Led Business Award – TVM

TVM is a leading outside broadcasting facilities provider based in Fermoy, Co. Cork. Using the most advanced technology and highly skilled personnel, TVM enables programme makers to consistently deliver top quality programmes. Its main customers are Sky, BBC, TG4, Setanta Ireland, RTÉ, TV3, and various production houses. Established in 1986, the company is led by Helen Arnold and has 50 employees.


2. Best Business Start-up Award – Smart Wall Paint

Smart Wall Paint develops, manufactures and sells a one-coat whiteboard paint which transforms smooth surfaces into write-on wipe-off whiteboard areas. The paint is available in three finishes – white, clear and magnetic, is eco-friendly, and can be applied to wood, metal, glass and other smooth surfaces. A commercial grade paint, the product is manufactured in Ireland and the UK and customers include Google, SAP, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, BT, Vodafone and Virgin, as well as small businesses. Smart Wall Paint was established in 2011 by Ronan Clarke, and is based in Rathgar, Dublin. Employing 15 staff members, the product is now available in 20 countries with 25 distributors, and is also sold online.


3. Small Business Award – FCS Global

FCS Global is an independent communications company that provides communication solutions including voice, data and networking servicers to a wide variety of small, medium and large corporate clients worldwide. Established in 2002 by Mike Rowland, it now has bases across Europe, Africa and the US and services over 3,000 sites in 170 countries. It has partnerships with major global services providers including BT, HP, Orange and Accenture. Headquartered in Roscommon, FCS Global has a total of 70 employees.


4. Best Established SME Award – Reagecon Diagnostics

Reagecon Diagnostics develops, manufactures, and distributes physical and chemical standards and reagents for laboratories worldwide. The company also offers customized manufacturing, training, and technical services. Its customers include organizations that operate laboratories, clean rooms, and processing and production plants in the pharmaceutical, clinical, environmental, life sciences, food technology, and education sectors. The company offers its products through its network of distributors, as well as online, and supplies its products in 150 countries worldwide. Reagecon Diagnostics was founded in 1990 and is based in Shannon, Ireland. The company is the largest producer of calibration standards in the world.


5. Food and Drink- Avondale Foods

Established in 1965, Avondale Foods the family-run company is located just outside Lurgan on Chestnut Farm. Avondale initially grew and sold vegetables before moving focus to research and development and subsequently diversified into vegetable processing. With products supplied under own label and Country Kitchen brands, the company supplies most major supermarkets


6. Social Enterprise Award – The Food Hub

An initiative of Drumshanbo Community Council, The Food Hub is a voluntary community group that converted an old food factory into an enterprise centre for food and drink companies. Designed to address the needs of food group manufacturers and to attract enterprise to their community, the food production facility tailors to entrepreneurs who may not have the initial seed capital to invest in a start-up production facility, and to existing businesses wishing to expand who demand greater cost-effective production capacity as their sales volume increase. Established in 2007, the Food Hub also offers sectoral training programmes for the food sector; from start your own food business programmes to hospitality operations. The Food Hub employs over 40 people across eight tenant companies.


7. International Business Award – Realex Payments

Realex Payments is a European payment service provider which provides a broad range of payment services for over 12,500 clients across 30 countries including Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, AXA Insurance and Aer Lingus. It processes payments in excess of €28bn per annum. Established in 2000 by Colm Lyon, Realex Payments now employs over 160 staff members. The company is headquartered at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin, with sister offices in London and Paris.


8. Agri-Business Award – Paul Brophy Produce

Paul Brophy Produce is a vegetable producer established 31 years ago in Naas, Co. Kildare, where it is based today. Originally started as an experiment, growing a range of vegetables to supply to local supermarkets, green grocers and restaurants, the business now services the seasonal demand for fresh Irish produce, specializing in the production of broccoli and white and green cabbage. Its main customers today include major multiples and food service companies. Paul Brophy Produce employs 10 full time staff and 60 part-time staff during seasonal peaks.

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Business Achievers Awards, the winner of last year, CDE Global

It is B-day today. The business achievers winners will be announced today.

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are all about celebrating the success of businesses from across the island. The roll-call of previous winners contains some very impressive names, and we’ll be adding to that list at this years Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final 2014 this Thursday 4th Dec. This year, ahead of our final we went back and visited one of our previous National Winners. These businesses have gone on to do some phenomenal work over the past few years. Take a look at what winning the award meant to them and how the business have benefited since.

CDE Global

CDE Global were last years overall Ulster Bank Business Achiever Award

Pride, recognition by peers and  branding, client confidence were the key benefits Business Achievers Awards. They got coverage all over the world based on the award win.

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This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/business-achievers-awards-winner-last-year-cde-global/ on thinkbusiness

Business Achievers Awards, the agri winner of 2011

It is B-day today. The business achievers winners will be announced today.

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are all about celebrating the success of businesses from across the island. The roll-call of previous winners contains some very impressive names, and we’ll be adding to that list at this years Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final 2014 this Thursday 4th Dec. This year, ahead of our final we went back and visited one of our previous National Winners. These businesses have gone on to do some phenomenal work over the past few years. Take a look at what winning the award meant to them and how the business have benefited since.

Clonakilty Black Pudding.

Clonakilty Black Pudding took the title of best Agri, Food & Drink Business at our National Final in 2011

 

The Business Achievers Awards, it was the first business awards related to agri and food. The benefits are recognition, the boost for staff, the company and a boost for the brand.

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This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/business-achievers-awards-agriwinner-2011/ on thinkbusiness

Business Achievers Awards finals today!

It is B-day today. The business achievers winners will be announced today.

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are all about celebrating the success of businesses from across the island. The roll-call of previous winners contains some very impressive names, and we’ll be adding to that list at this years Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final 2014 this Thursday 4th Dec. This year, ahead of our final we went back and visited one of our previous National Winners. These businesses have gone on to do some phenomenal work over the past few years. Take a look at what winning the award meant to them and how the business have benefited since.

Irish yoghurts

 

The benefits; 2 major new contracts in Europe on the back of winning the Business Achievers Awards

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Business Achievers Awards final 4 December II

Only one day to go before the final.

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are all about celebrating the success of businesses from across the island. The roll-call of previous winners contains some very impressive names, and we’ll be adding to that list at this years Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final 2014 this Thursday 4th Dec. This year, ahead of our final we went back and visited one of our previous National Winners. These businesses have gone on to do some phenomenal work over the past few years. Take a look at what winning the award meant to them and how the business have benefited since.

Tayto Park

Tayto Park took the title of Best Business Start Up at our National Final last year.

The benefit of winning the Business Achievers Awards for Tayto was the publicity and the morale boost for staff.

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Business Achievers Awards Final this 4th of December

Impressive previous winners

The Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards are all about celebrating the success of businesses from across the island. The roll-call of previous winners contains some very impressive names, and we’ll be adding to that list at this years Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards Final 2014 this Thursday 4th Dec. This year, ahead of our final we went back and visited one of our previous National Winners. These businesses have gone on to do some phenomenal work over the past few years. Take a look at what winning the award meant to them and how the business have benefited since.

Galway Clinic

Have a look at how Galway Clinic is doing.  Galway Clinic took the title of Best Service Business at our National Final in 2010.

Galway Clinic saw winning the Business Achievers Awards as an opportunity to celebrate, to reflect and to get independent advice and last but not least as good promotion of the business.

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This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/business-achievers-awards-final-this-4th-of-december/ on thinkbusiness