Ivan Yates to speak at British Irish Chamber Dinner

Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates is a broadcaster, columnist, businessman and former politician, holding the position of Fine Gael Dáil deputy for more than twenty years. A native of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, he became involved in local politics at a young age and, at twenty-one years old, was the youngest member of the 22nd Dáil. He was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry in 1994.

Celtic Bookmakers

In 2001, he left full-time politics to concentrate on his family and business interests.  Celtic Bookmakers, a chain of betting shops founded by Ivan in 1987, went on to become one of the largest independent family chains in the country. The business went into receivership in 2011 and Ivan declared himself bankrupt in 2012.

Newstalk, TV3

After a year in Wales, he returned to Ireland where he now works full-time in the Irish media. Ivan co-presents Newstalk FM’s breakfast show with Chris Donoghue, is a frequent guest presenter on TV3 and writes weekly columns for the Irish Independent.  He also makes regular appearances as a promotional and after-dinner speaker.

“Full on”

Ivan is married with four children and lives in Dublin. His best selling autobiography “Full On” was published in 2014.


If you want to book for the dinner (which will also give you access to the conference), click here

Separate tickets to the conference are available here. Use “ULSTERBANK” to get 50% off.

NB Discount does not apply to the conference dinner

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Help entrepreneurs to grow, mentors wanted

Helping 80 entrepreneurs to grow

The World’s largest free business accelerator, Entrepreneurial Spark, is opening its doors to exciting and dynamic businesses in Belfast this February (and we can’t wait!). Powered by Ulster Bank, we are offering free office space, a 6-18 month programme of hands-on enablement, a start up boot camp and regular events that will help the 80 entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

Looking for mentors

In addition to all of the above, we are on the look out for experienced mentors to support, coach and help the businesses- are you the person to make this happen?  The right mentor can provide expert support and ultimately increase the likelihood of businesses becoming a roaring success and we are looking for passionate people who have the skills and experience to share with Entrepreneurs, giving them the extra edge.

You are invited

Join us for a light lunch to find out more about the programme and see our state of the art Hatchery. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to tell us a bit more about you and how you could support the entrepreneurs, as well as meet other potential mentors.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 from 13:30 to 15:00 (CST) Add to Calendar
The Belfast Hatchery – Lombard House. 10-20 Lombard Street. Belfast, Antrim Bt1 1RD GB


Hope to see you there.

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Export, scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market

Market of 60 million people

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), in partnership with PwC, will be hosting a morning seminar to explore the export opportunities for scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market.  Access to a market of 60 million people, a competitive entrepreneurial tax regime and the benefits of the wider ecosystem of supporting services for entrepreneurs on your doorstep creates a compelling offer for Irish companies.   

UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis

The UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis Maude will lead a discussion with entrepreneurs on the opportunities for Irish companies in the UK.

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will be moderated by Anthony Sheehan, UKTI expert in tech finance, tax incentives for entrepreneurs and establishing global operations.

  • Joseph Thompson – Peace by Trade – successful Bitcoin company now established in UK
  • Sonya Lennon- Frockadvisor – unique cross platform digital service for independent fashion retailers
  • Shay Garvey – Frontline Ventures – vastly experienced early stage technology investor
  • Pat Flood – Chair of British Irish Chamber ICT Policy Committee – exploring potential for future partnerships and collaborations in the Ireland & UK Tech space

The session will conclude with continued networking allowing you the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with your peers as well as the speakers. PwC members as well as UK Trade & Investment staff will also be on hand for meetings, should you have specific questions related to your own business.


7.30am:   Registration, breakfast and networking

Opening Remarks by Lord Maude, UK’s Trade and Investment Minister

Presentation by Ronan Finn PwC

Panel discussion

Q and A

9.15am:   Event concludes


PwC Ireland,

One Spencer Dock,

North Wall Quay,

Dublin 1



If you would like to attend this event please reply to this email or email Darragh at darragh.otuathail@britishirishchamber.com by 25th January.

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How a Bilingual Employee Can Be Vital In Your Company

Bilingual Employee – English isn’t the only important language anymore. Simple as that. While it is still the most dominant one, at least in terms of business, French, German and Spanish languages are getting there very fast. Europe is much like a big family and English speaking people aren’t the only ones that are important for doing business.

Bilingual Employee

In fact, there are a whole lot of positions that would help their business owners greatly if they can speak at least one other language except English and those positions are very common today. Take social workers, nutritionists or marketers for example. The non-English speaking population is growing day by day, and if you want to increase your customer range, you need to consider hiring bilingual employees seriously.

Increasing your customer base with a Bilingual Employee

Having bilingual employees on key positions in your company can make a huge difference. Let’s consider two examples: HR and health specialists (just about any branch in healthcare).

Having a bilingual HR specialist will allow you to hire employees that are great at their work (IT sphere, writers, bloggers etc.), but can’t speak English (or are very bad at English) for any reason. Those employees can become vital for your company since:

  • They will require a lot less salary in most cases compared to similar professionals who are proficient in English, but still be able to do an outstanding job for you.
  • They can help broaden your reach. You will have the opportunity to dip into new markets, ones that still require your product or service, but can’t communicate in English.
  • They can increase your customer satisfaction by a lot. While it may seem a minor thing, but people love to be spoken to in their mother tongue, even if they do speak other languages. If you ever encounter a delicate issue with one of your customers, an employee who speaks their language may become your life saver in those dire situations.

Bilingual health specialists can be even more important. If you are in healthcare business (psychology, therapy or run a hospital/clinic, etc.) bilingual medical staff can be the difference between a loyal customer and a passerby, or in some cases, even the difference between life and death.

If a non-English speaking patient comes to your clinic with some serious health issues and can only speak French or German, your bilingual employees will suddenly become life savers, no matter whether they are nurses or janitors, as long as they can properly translate everything for the doctor.

Training the rest of your staff

What’s really great about bilingual employees is that you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of them to increase your customer reach, retention rate, satisfaction level, etc. Just a handful of them will be able to train the rest of your staff to become more or less proficient in another language, which can lead to even more opportunities.

When communicating with customers, even a few words in their mother tongue can make a big difference. Great bloggers for example, know about this very well and use it to their advantage along with other blogging secrets.

Finally, bilingual employees, regardless of their position, can be very handy when it comes to business negotiations abroad. If you consider entering new markets, those employees can become half-time or full-time translators for your negotiators to ensure that everything goes on smoothly.

You might think that you can always hire professional translators when needed, but there is a difference between hiring a translator and having somebody from your team that cares for your company help you succeed abroad.

This will not only increase that employee’s motivation, but also show your business partner that you have taken the first step towards entering a new market seriously, since you already have people that speak the necessary language, not just hired translators.

When it comes to business, every opportunity should be weighted seriously and taken if there is a positive risk-reward scenario. The absolutely beautiful thing about having bilingual staff members is that there is no risk whatsoever: only opportunities. And depending on your business, those opportunities can make all the difference in the world.

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If you are exporting to the UK ..

There is no rugby on the weekend of the 19th of February. That doesn’t mean we can’t go shoulder to shoulder with our exporting partners in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

One of the highlights of the conference season is the annual British Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner and conference.Exporting or thinking of exporting?
If you are exporting, or thinking of exporting, this is the event to go to. Particularly with the upcoming Brexit referendum, which will bring its own challenges and opportunities.

The Conference
The structure of the conference is a mix of politics and business, discussing not just Irish and UK politics, the elections, Brexit and the EU, but also leadership, strategy and export.

To give you a flavour of some of the contributors:

  • Tony Hanway of  Virgin Media
  • Ann Heraty of CPL
  • Sarah O’Connor of Cool Beans
  • Barry Andrews of Goal
  • Tim Arnold of Hailo
  • Niamh Townsend of Dell
  • Conor O’Leary of Greencore
  • Ambassador Dominick Chilcott
  • Paul Drechsler of the Confederation of British Industry
  • John Fitzgerald of Trinity College
  • Ellvena Graham of ESB

Meet your potential clients
During the annual British Irish Chamber of Commerce conference there is an opportunity to meet your counter parts from Ireland and the UK. To accommodate these meetings, there will a separate meeting room where you can meet your potential buyers, speakers, experts, customers and partners. We will endeavour to facilitate those meetings.

Panel discussions with your peers
If you are not interested in the politics and if you want to talk to other small businesses from Ireland and UK on a collective basis, you can participate in a number of open panel discussions, where business people from Ireland and the UK share their business lessons and experiences. Topics that will be covered are culture, selling, social media, lessons from failure and lessons from success.

Book now

Tickets for the dinner and conference are € 195. Places are limited and you need to book before 25 January in order for us to try to arrange the meetings you want. We cannot guarantee that all meetings will happen on the day, but we will do our best to facilitate the introductions during and after the conference. Contact alison.cotter@britishirishchamber.com

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Starting A Business Abroad

The bureaucracy associated with starting a business abroad is shocking and is enough to deter even the most confident entrepreneur. European countries such as France, where many Brits now call home, is regarded as a red tape jungle and can be quite difficult to establish a business due to the amount of paperwork involved. However, having said that, Europe is traditionally a country of small businesses and individual traders where the economic philosophy actually encourages and even nurtures their creation.

Things to Consider

It’s often wise to work for someone else in the same line of business in order to gain experience, rather than jump in at the deep end. Always thoroughly investigate an existing or proposed business before investing any money. As any expert can tell you, an overseas business venture is not for amateur entrepreneurs, particularly amateurs who don’t speak the language! You should also take into consideration the culture of your host country and the prospect of increased business travel and time away from family and friends.

Buying an Existing Business

It’s much easier to buy an existing business abroad than start a new one. The paperwork for taking over an existing business is also simpler although still complex. If you plan to buy a business, obtain an independent valuation and employ an accountant to audit the books. Never sign anything you don’t understand completely; even if you think you understand it, you should still obtain unbiased professional advice.

Establishing your Business

Most people are far too optimistic about the prospects of a new business abroad and over-estimate income levels. Be realistic or even pessimistic when estimating your income. While hoping for the best you should plan for the worst and have sufficient funds to last until you’re established. New projects are rarely if ever completed within budget and you need to ensure that you have sufficient working capital and can survive until a business takes off.


The location for a business is even more important than the location for a home. Depending on the type of business, you may need access to major air, road and rail links or be located in a popular tourist area. Local plans regarding communications, industry and major building developments, e.g. housing complexes and new shopping, may also be important.


Hiring employees shouldn’t be taken lightly abroad and must be taken into account before starting a business. In France for example, you enter into an employment contract under French labour law and employees enjoy extensive rights. It’s also very expensive to hire employees, as you must pay 40 to 60% of salaries in social security contributions. You may even want to give preference to those who speak English depending on the type of business you intend to own.

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A Guide to Etiquette When Handling Business Abroad

International Business Infographic Part 2

If you handle, or plan to handle, business overseas then you need to be made aware of the local customs, traditions and policies that are carried out.

This helpful infographic that was put together by WD Storage covers the etiquette to follow in the countries of Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, Russia, Spain and the USA. What offends someone in one country might be a friendly greeting in another. A simple handshake can mean different things depending on what part of the world you come from. Ensuring that you know what’s what in each region will help you to close out the most business deals possible.

Stay ahead of anyone competing for a foreign client’s business by dressing correctly, buying (or not buying!) the correct gifts and talking about the right things over a business meal.

If you found this helpful but wanted to see a greater range of countries included, you can also check out Part 1 of the International Guide to Business Etiquette.

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EXIM Summit, Ireland’s only export import conference

EXIM Summit, Ireland’s only Export Import Conference in 2015, will take place in Croke Park Conference Centre on November 18 next.

Thought leadership

The one-day conference will provide export-import practitioners with a forum for education, innovation and thought leadership, and a platform for continued growth. Which is why we are surprised Ron is moderating one of the sessions ;). Maybe because Ulster Bank is one of the gold sponsors. Maybe it is because the international trade section of Smallbusinesscan.

Network opportunity

It presents an opportunity for strategic networking among participants who are trading beyond Ireland, giving them the opportunity to meet and interact with fellow business leaders and support bodies engaged in international trade. Attendees can also to seek out services which will help them in their export-import journey.

Who should go

The EXIM Summit is targeted at:

  • Irish Exporters and Importers
  • Globally recognised Export-Import companies and brands
  • Support Organisations
  • Government/ Support Bodies
  • Entrepreneurs and Investors
  • Industry Associations Representatives
  • Marketing professionals

Expert speakers

Expert speakers at EXIM Summit include: Stephen Brewer, Consultant and former CEO of Digcell, Joanna Murphy, CEO Connect Ireland, Jim Power, economist; Jim Fitzsimons, President of IMCA, Dr. Stephen Brennan, Chief Digital Advisor to the Irish Government and Kingsley Aikins of Diaspora Matters. EXIM Summit will be officially opened by An Tanaiste Joan Burton. To see the full list of speakers and event agenda, please see http://eximsummit.com/agenda/


Tickets for this unmissable event can be purchased for €99 (€100 discount) at www.eximsummit.com


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Upcoming Events from the British Irish Chamber of Commerce

Just to let you know that we’re busy at the Chamber creating great networking and advocacy events for our Members – in fact, it’s our busiest ever season and I hope we’ll see you on one or more of these occasions.

“Invited Leaders” series
On Thursday evening 5 November, we have the first in our new “Invited Leaders” series in association with Pathfinder Consultants in Management with guest speaker Howard Millar. This closed Supper series at the RDS Ballsbridge will bring great leaders from the UK and Ireland business and public affairs space together to network against the backdrop of issues of the day.

Ireland in London Week
The week of 9 November is fast becoming “Ireland in London Week” with a great line-up of events leading to an important civic conclusion. Starting on Monday with our delegation to the CBI Confederation of British Industry Conference which will, for the first time, be addressed by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, we then have ourIreland & UK Tech Sector gathering at London’s most important Innovation Centre, Level 39 at Canary Wharf, on Tuesday afternoon,10 November. We’ll be opening up the challenge of building on the success of the ICT sector on both islands (and the support of the public agencies in both territories) to deliver a worldclass Joint Tech Hub through the best collaborations and strategic planning across Policy, Skills, Science, Infrastructure and Funding. We hope you can join us for this first event in what will become an important initiative from the Chamber’s new ICT Advocacy and Action Group.

COBCOE International Chambers Forum
On the afternoon of Wednesday 11 November, we will have a delegation attending the COBCOE International Chambers Forum on Europe, bringing our Members’ views into a timely and important debate on how the best Europe can be delivered for all.

Dublin Chamber visit to London
Thursday 12 November and the morning of Friday 13 November will see us join the Dublin Chamber visit to London and a series of meetings with The Irish Times, Investec and Doyle Hotel Group. On Thursday evening we’ll be at Westminster for Tourism Ireland’s major networking event for Irish interests. Along the way, we have important engagements with Co-operation Ireland and with Ambassador Dan Mulhall and his business team at the Irish Embassy.

Irish International Business Network
On Friday 13 November, we’re supporting our friends at IIBN, the Irish International Business Network, at their Annual Conference at BAFTA in London which features a superb lineup of Ireland & UK business content.

Lord Mayor’s Show
On the evening of Friday 13 November, we’ll be at the Irish Embassy for Ambassador Mulhall’s reception in honour of the Lord Mayor’s Show and the extensive Irish delegation which, for the first time, will include the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Belfast and many more.

Finally, rounding out a great week for Irish and British business collaboration, we will honour the Lord Mayor of the City of London with a first-time presence at The Lord Mayor’s Show of the Lord Mayors of Dublin, Belfast and several other Irish communities.

Our heartiest congratulations and appreciation go to Niall Gibbons and his Ireland and UK teams at Tourism Ireland and to Peter Finnegan and Dublin City Council’s International Relations team for their huge work in bringing about such an important initiative as Ireland in London Week – it’s a fitting acknowledgement, if only a taster, of the trading relationships that power a €1 billion a week joint market and the 400,000 jobs that directly flow from it.

Keynote business gathering
Moving on, we’re planning a keynote business gathering around a visit to London by one of our leading government Ministers on Monday November 23.

Invitational Breakfast at Iveagh House
On the morning of Wednesday 2 December, we will stage a major invitational Breakfast at Iveagh House in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green under the kind auspices of Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan. At a time of unprecedented interest in British Irish affairs, we’ll have a panel of prominent thought leaders from Britain and Ireland engaged on the upcoming UK Referendum on EU Membership and Ireland’s interest in these critical proceedings. This kicks off an important new series from the British Irish Chamber as part of our commitment to facilitating high quality debate, factual information and wide engagement on issues of importance to business, investment and jobs on both islands, with the question of Brexit clearly high on that agenda for all our interests.

Meet the Buyer
On Thursday 3 December, the Chamber’s Board meets in the City of London alongside a parallel Meet the Buyer event for SME’s hosted by Grant Thornton, followed by the Chamber’s London Christmas reception hosted at Lloyd’s of London and kindly sponsored by William Fryand Robertson Low. Keep an eye out too for a special surprise Christmas Reception we may announce for Dublin very shortly…

EU Commissioner for Agriculture
On Tuesday 8 December we have a special In Camera lunch in London with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan. Showcasing quality Irish food at Richard Corrigan’s Bentleys Restaurant, we’ll bring together food industry leaders from Britain and Ireland to consider the issues impacting the industry locally and in a European context. We’re grateful for the sponsorship of ABP Food Group and of Beauchamps Solicitors in hosting this important event.

Annual Conference and Dinner
Moving into the new year, we will have the Annual Conference and Dinner of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce on Friday 19 February at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge. With the support once again of title sponsor Ulster Bank and Dinner sponsor Lloyd’s, and several supporting firms, we’ll be building on the widely acknowledged success of our 2015 event to deliver another memorable and influential business and social gathering.

King George V Cup Race Day
Last but not least, looking further into 2016, you’ll want to note two Save the Dates for your diary – Friday June 3 for our King George V Cup Race Day at Leopardstown and Thursday September 8 for our British Irish Chamber of Commerce President’s Annual Dinner.

So we’ve certainly got something for all our Members in the weeks and months ahead and our sectoral Policy Groups (spanning our UK Advisory Group, International Affairs, Energy, Technology, Finance & Professional Services, Life Sciences, Food & Agribusiness, SME and Culture, Arts, Sports & Tourism) will also be hosting their own special-interest fora as well. Do let us know if you’d like more information on any of our Events or to get more involved in our sectoral Policy Groups and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Post by John McGrane, www.britishirishchamber.com

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Make the Most of Rapid Market Growth

Strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines, take the bull by the horns…there’s a glut of clichés in the English language to describe the same sort of thing, the need to capitalise on favourable circumstances and make the most of momentum. The fact that such a wide array of sayings exists is perhaps evidence that this is a truism and one that applies clearly to the world of business. But, while it is one thing spotting that this is important and having it as an ambition, it is quite another to know how to go about the process of thriving when market conditions turn in your favour. So, if things do take off and growth comes to you and/or your market, what should you bear in mind when it comes to rapid market growth?

Act fast

When the cards are stacked in your favour you must act fast. By sitting back and doing nothing you risk letting your rapid period of growth pass. As a business you need to be able to analyse the market, recognise when things are going in your favour and be able to react accordingly. That might mean launching new products and services or conducting marketing campaigns – all of which need to be timed just right to succeed.


If your business grows quickly then you’ll need to invest in new staff. Pinpoint people with the right expertise but also the right attitude to complement the employees that you already have on the books. Remember you’re not just looking for someone with the right CV but someone with the right personality to help you move forward.

Don’t over-stretch

It’s so easy to allow yourself to be swept away by enthusiasm and get ahead of yourself yet history shows that businesses who try to go too far too fast are doomed to fail. The Financial Times recently found that most of the SME founders it asked favoured organic growth over acquisitions. A rapid expansion could leave you open to issues if and when the growth dries up.


If the market grows and your sector looks rosy then it is important to remember that you’re unlikely to be the only business looking to cash in on the situation. When times are good it is important to establish your name as a leader in your field. Sometimes that is simply about having the best product or service in your field and sometimes you need a little more than that. Consider, for example, the power of sport to influence finance. Big events are able to show a noticeable impact on financial indices with a feelgood factor that spreads to all involved. Sponsorship of such events gets your name associated with the best in the sporting arena, doing much to establish your brand’s position in the market as well as spreading the word far and wide. When you are experiencing growth, put yourself at the head of the pack by being associated with the best.

Thought leader

When you’re riding the crest of a wave, share your wisdom. This is similar to the last point in that it is about establishing your brand and getting your name set in the mind of others as a market leader. Write about your industry and the successes you’ve had, share it on your blog and through social media. Comment and interact with others in your field and speak at conferences. Build a profile during a period of growth and you’ll establish your brand as a leader in the field when times are not as easy going.

Making the most of rapid market growth is about three things. Firstly, cashing in on the growth. Secondly, it’s about not getting complacent and leaving yourself open to issues when times are tougher. Lastly, it’s about realising that building a reputation is important and taking the opportunities to do just that so that your position is secure in the future.

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