Buttimer: Taking Care of Business seminar an opportunity for Cork enterprises

21 March 2014

  • ‘Taking Care of Business’ event, Tuesday April 1, Silversprings Hotel from 8.30am to 2.30pm.
  • 25 Government agencies will be available offering advice on how small businesses can access supports. 

Taking Care of Business Logo and TaglineThe ‘Taking Care of Business’ event on April 1st is great opportunity for entrepreneurs and business people in Cork to find out about the supports that are available to them and how they can access the resources to help them grow their business.  This free half day event brings together 25 Government agencies including Enterprise Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners, Microfinance Ireland and the Office of Government Procurement. Each will present information on the supports available to entrepreneurs, and representatives will also be on hand to answer any questions.

Small and medium enterprises are the driving force that can lead the regeneration of our domestic economy.  In terms of job creation the growth of SMEs is vital; two out of every three new jobs created come from start-up businesses in the first five years of their existence, so it’s really important that we fully support new businesses and help them to get off the ground.

The Government is acutely aware of the hugely important role small businesses play in creating employment in the local community and has put in place many supports to help entrepreneurs. However when someone is busy growing and running their business they may not have the time to find about these supports. Some of the supports that are available include a series of schemes to help small businesses and start-ups to gain access to credit. The ‘Taking Care of Business’ event is an opportunity for business people to find out about the full range of supports in one easily accessible location.

Communicating with businesses and listening to their concerns are an important part of making sure that the supports that have been put in place are being utilised and are having the desired impact.  The interaction between State agencies and businesses at events like this is an important part of that process of communication and mutual understanding.

This is a great opportunity for Cork enterprises to get direct advice about what is on offer to help them to continue to expand and create employment. I encourage all people involved in SMEs in Cork to go along to the event and see what supports are available that might be of help to their business.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Cork City, Douglas, Economic, Jobs Enterprise & Innovation, National Work

Long term flood prevention must be prioritised for Cork – Buttimer

Thursday, February 20th 2014

  • Long term flood prevention plan to protect Cork must be prioritised.
  • Commitment of funding for the project by Minister of State at the OPW, Brian Hayes TD.

In the last few weeks, Cork has again been devastated by flooding, with many businesses and homes in the heart of our city badly affected.  Regrettably, the reaction to the 2009 floods in Cork did not prioritise a long term plan to protect our city.  While criticism of the length of time it is taking to implement a flood defence scheme is legitimate, it is also important to understand that the flood situation in Cork is not straightforward.  Progressing a scheme for the city involves complex and detailed preparations to ensure that the best possible long term solution is found.

The engagement of Minister Hayes is finally bringing about progress.  He said that up to €100 million will be made available to carry out flood protection work for Cork.  I welcome that announcement.  He also stated that a possible starting date for the three-year project will be in 2015.  In the meantime, a forum between the OPW, city council and local businesses is being set up to explore interim measures that can help to alleviate the problem.  It is a pity that it will take three years to get this done but I welcome the Minister of State’s initiative and his commitment to the project.

Since the widespread floods of 2009, we have not yet seen the protection of Cork city being prioritised.  We accept that the city was built on a marsh but today we have a duty of care to protect homeowners, families and city centre businesses.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of Cork’s local economy, unfortunately these have been the hardest hit by the floods.  Since 2009 flooding in Cork has cost an estimated €100 million, but the city remains exposed.  Businesses remain at risk and homes remain vulnerable.

It is no wonder people become frustrated and disenchanted with politics and bureaucracy when, five years after the flood in 2009, we are only now getting to the end of the process.  The President of Cork Chamber of Commerce, Ms Gillian Keating, voiced the frustration of many businesses on local radio.  She spoke about the lack of action and the frustration of business people.  I do not blame business people for speaking out.  The protection of the country’s second city must be prioritised.  No economy can thrive when its business centre is subject to persistent and regular flooding.  The people of Cork need the remedial works to be prioritised and they demand it.  They must finally be given some hope that a long-term solution will be delivered, not promised.

While the development of the scheme must be prioritised and fast-tracked where possible, there must also be an immediate focus on interim measures.  The local forum involving the OPW must play a central role in delivering adequate interim protection.  This body must get to work as soon as possible and without delay to provide ongoing assistance to those most at risk in Cork city, whether in Blackpool, Douglas or Togher, and, in particular, in the city centre.  Let us expedite the situation so that we can end uncertainty and take away the fear people experience when they see a flood warning for Cork.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Development, Douglas, Economic, Floods, National Work

Convention Centre would boost local economy allowing Cork to compete

Friday, 30th August 2013

Funding models which would support the development of a Convention Centre in Cork must be explored.

I have recently raised the issue of a Convention Centre being developed in Cork with Minister Varadkar and Fáilte Ireland, which garnered a favourable response. Minister Varadkar suggested that a similar model to the one used for the Dublin Convention Centre or a loan or equity investment from the Strategic Infrastructure Fund could be explored for possible future development.

The Dublin Convention Centre was developed using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. At the end of the PPP it will be returned to public ownership.  It is imperative that the Department, Fáilte Ireland and Cork City Council actively explore the funding models which could be used to make such a project a reality.  This process should commence as soon as possible so that a project of this scale can deliver jobs, boost tourism and contribute to our local economy.

Convention centres have the potential to contribute substantial financial benefits to local economies, particularly so when larger conferences, which cater for between 1,000 and 6,000 delegates, can be hosted.  International conferences bring high yield visitors, generating revenue of two to three times that of a leisure tourist.  It is important that Cork is in a position to attract these high value events and visitors and that we can compete to host events of this size.

Since 2009, international conferences have generated €405 million for the Irish economy, bringing almost 300,000 visitors to our shores.  Half of this revenue was generated by larger conferences, more than three quarters of which took place in Dublin.  If the plans for a large Conference Centre in Cork become a reality it will enable our local economy to benefit from this significant income stream and create much needed jobs. Now is the time to give consideration to the most appropriate way of funding such a project so that we can examine the best way forward in commencing a project of such scale.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Economic, Infastructure, Tourism