New small business accounts show strong rise, says Bank of Ireland UK
Bank of Ireland UK today announced it has opened more than 3,400 new small business and agri current accounts in the first nine months of 2015, an increase of almost 17% on the same period last year.
The Bank’s figures were released as it launched its latest Enterprise Week, which supports SMEs across Northern Ireland, running from November 13 – 20, 2015.
Bank of Ireland UK is expecting more than 1,500 small businesses to get involved in Enterprise Week by engaging in more than 50 planned events where they will get practical support and guidance to help their businesses to grow.
The Bank’s Show Your Business initiative, which enables small businesses to display their goods and services in bank branches, will once again promote cross-border trade. Businesses on either side of the border will be able to use branches in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland as a shop window.
Sean Sheehan, Regional Director, NI Consumer & Small Business, Bank of Ireland UK, said: “Enterprise Week is taking place at a time when we continue to see confidence in the small business sector but recognise economic challenges remain. Some 40% of the accounts we’re opening are for start-ups and more than 36% are for businesses who have been trading for over two years and are moving to Bank of Ireland to support their growth plans.
“Our week-long initiative is themed ‘Let’s Connect’ and will once again provide businesses with practical support and great networking opportunities. By opening our branches and running a series of clinics and inspirational speaker events, we have a packed programme to suit ambitious small businesses and start-ups right across Northern Ireland.”
One example of a small business start-up Bank of Ireland UK is supporting through its export led growth is Proven Energy Solutions, based in Belfast which was set up by Managing Director, Adrian Brown in 2013.
The company specialises in supplying LED lighting to industry and is a preferred supplier for Carillion plc for their LED lighting supplies to the UK, North America, Africa and the Middle East.
With a background as an electrician and many years’ experience within the lighting industry, Adrian saw a huge opportunity to work with both the public and private sector, who are keen to minimise their carbon footprint and expenditure on energy.
An early focus for the business was on delivering projects in Northern Ireland, however, over the last two years the business has grown from its local base to operate in offices from North America, Africa, the Middle East, China and also supplying to the rest of the UK.
Adrian says: “The support of Bank of Ireland UK and Ciaran Murray, our Business Adviser has been exceptional. We have Commercial Finance to help our cash flow and to support our growth while we’re now in the process of talking to the Global Markets team to open a US dollar account for transactions to China.
“We have new operations starting in San Francisco and Ghana but we’re really focused on expanding our business in the Irish market. As we do that, it’s going to be very helpful that we can have a bank account with Bank of Ireland across the border to help facilitate this too.”
Sean Sheehan says: “We pioneered Enterprise Week as the best way to provide practical on the ground support to new and growing businesses. Throughout Enterprise Week we have planned more than 50 events across Northern Ireland to engage with small business across all sectors.
“Bank of Ireland UK shares the ambitions of small business here in Northern Ireland and we are working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to help realise the potential of so many young and growing businesses
“We have simplified credit applications with a 3-step process, and earlier this year we launched a new small business package for Start-Up and Growth businesses with discounted fees and other benefits.
“Experienced Business Advisers are in every branch and have an in-depth knowledge of their customers’ needs and can provide speedy decision making.
“We have locally based expertise to support companies who want to trade internationally through our specialist Global Markets team.
“Bank of Ireland has a long history of serving Northern Ireland, an exceptional understanding of the local economy and a strong network of connections too, working closely with business groups, government and others to support the development of enterprise, innovation and, increasingly, cross-border trade.”