Sales & Marketing

Belfast Region City Deal: Opportunities for the construction sector

Posted by Jim on March 07, 2023  /   Posted in Blog, Sales & Marketing

02 March 2023

Events to outline opportunities from the Belfast Region City Deal for construction businesses.

The Belfast Region City Deal is a transformative programme of investment aimed at delivering inclusive economic growth for the region. Deal delivery will provide a suite of opportunities for the construction sector over the next five to 10 years, with some of the most advanced projects preparing to go to market in the year ahead.

To ensure that local businesses are aware of the opportunities that will be brought to market across the next 12 months, the city deal partners are hosting a number of events to:

  • promote the construction pipeline arising from the Belfast Region City Deal capital investment programme
  • communicate the inclusive growth ambitions of the deal
  • showcase the employability and skills support available through the Belfast Region City Deal, council, college, and university partners to help the sector respond to labour and skills challenges, including those relating to social value commitments

Belfast Region City Deal build contracts breakfast event

This event will focus on procurement opportunities linked to build contracts on a number of projects including the Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, Newry City Centre Regeneration and i-REACH Health.

Date: Tue 21 Mar
Time: 8:30am – 11am
Venue: CEF Offices, Belfast
Cost: Free

Belfast Region City Deal professional services contracts breakfast event

This event will focus on procurement opportunities linked to construction professional services contracts. A number of projects will be profiled at this event including Destination Royal Hillsborough, Mourne Mountains Gateway and Bangor Waterfront.

Date: Thu 23 Mar
Time: 9am – 11:30am
Venue: Innovation Factory, Belfast
Cost: Free

To register for either event you must email providing the names and email addresses of those seeking to attend by Wednesday 15 March 2023.

Enterprise Ireland:Strategic Consultancy Grant

Posted by Jim on September 10, 2019  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

One of the many supports provided by Enterprise Ireland to their clients includes the Strategic Consultancy Grant
Overview of the Strategic Consultancy Grant
The SME Strategic Consultancy grant can support the cost of hiring Strategic Consultants to assist in the development and/or implementation of strategic initiatives in the SME. It is designed to facilitate business growth as the consultants can act as coach, mentor, facilitator, analyst, negotiator and/or operator for the company.
Eligible projects must be new assignments of strategic significance to the company such as a specific strategic review of one or more business functions and/or implementation of a new strategic initiative at a corporate or functional level.
The Strategic Consultancy Grant cannot be used to subsidise regular company operating costs. Routine or ongoing outsourced consultancy costs such as PR, marketing, legal, financial costs are not eligible for support.
Consultancy costs relating to an Acumen Consultancy or Acumen Prospector assignment, pre-approved by Intertrade Ireland, must also apply for grant support using the Strategic Consultancy Grant online application forms.

Am I eligible?
Eligible companies include;
A manufacturing or internationally traded services SME company employing 10-249 people.
Companies not eligible to receive the support applied for from An Bord Bia or An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

What costs are eligible and what is the maximum funding available?
Up to 50% of the costs incurred in hiring a consultant to a maximum grant amount of €35,000. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and the level of funding will be determined following assessment of;
(a) the merits of providing grant support to the activity set out in the application
(b) the need for financial support
(c) previous funding provided to the company
(d) potential for employment and sales growth
Receipt of other grants from Enterprise Ireland may impact on your eligibility for support under this initiative.
Eligible Expenditures
Maximum Limits and Notes
Consultancy Fees
Costs of hiring a specialist consultant to input into or undertake the proposed project.
Max. Consultancy rate is €900 per day.
Daily rate to be inclusive of travel and subsistence and all out-of-pocket expenses.
Where more than one consultant is being used from the same firm the daily rate applies to the firm.
Where there is more than one consultancy firm involved on the project, the rate applies to each firm separately.
Acumen Consultancy: Support of up to 50% of the cost of the consultancy at a maximum daily rate of €900, up to a maximum grant of €5,000. The consultancy period can be spread over a six to twelve month period.
Acumen Prospector: Support of up to 50% of the cost of the consultancy at a maximum daily rate of €900, up to a maximum grant of €10,000. The Prospector consultancy period can be spread over a six to twelve month period.

How do I Apply?
Apply via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.
Prior to applying you must do the following:
Contact your assigned Enterprise Ireland Adviser to discuss your application.
First time applicants will be required to register on the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.
Any expenditure incurred prior to receipt of the application will not be eligible for grant aid.

Call close dates
You may apply all year.

Key contact/more information
Contact your Enterprise Ireland Adviser.
If you are seeking consultancy grant support for an Acumen Consultancy or Acumen Prospector assignment, go to Acumen Programme.

This information courtesy of Enterprise Ireland 10th September 2019.












30 spaces remaining – Apply for Elevate before the end of September 2012!

Posted by admin on September 06, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Are you a micro business, well-established in the home market with an 18 month trading history and now looking to increase your cross-border sales? Why not apply for one of the few remaining spaces on our Elevate Programme.

Since its launch in 2011, Elevate has helped 70 such companies from across the island to identify new cross-border sales and markets.

Elevate will provide financial assistance to help you identify cross-border markets/customers across the island and win new business by giving you access to advise from a trade and marketing expert who will develop and implement a sales plan for your business. 

Its 100% funded by InterTradeIreland and the application process is very simple.

How do I apply?

All you have to do is complete a short application form and if approved, you will then get to choose one of our approved industry experts who will work with you to develop a winning cross-border sales plan for your business, kick start your sales and get on the fast-track to cross-border trading!

You’ll benefit from free one to one advice and support from your very own expert within your industry or sector to develop your own sales development plan.


To find out more about the programme and to download an application form visit or contact one of the Elevate team on 028 30834143/110 (048 from Ireland). Applications are encouraged before the end of September 2012.

Marketing Is Dead

Posted by admin on August 21, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

First, buyers are no longer paying much attention. Several studies have confirmed that in the “buyer’s decision journey,” traditional marketing communications just aren’t relevant. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews.

Second, CEOs have lost all patience. In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.

Third, in today’s increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn’t work so well, it doesn’t make sense. Think about it: an organization hires people — employees, agencies, consultants, partners — who don’t come from the buyer’s world and whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned with his, and expects them to persuade the buyer to spend his hard-earned money on something. Huh? When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn’t work. Just ask Facebook, which finds itself mired in an ongoing debate about whether marketing on Facebook is effective.

In fact, this last is a bit of a red herring, because traditional marketing isn’t really working anywhere.

There’s a lot of speculation about what will replace this broken model — a sense that we’re only getting a few glimpses of the future of marketing on the margins. Actually, we already know in great detail what the new model of marketing will look like. It’s already in place in a number of organizations. Here are its critical pieces:

Restore community marketing. Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can increasingly approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities. For instance, when you contemplate a major purchase, such as a new roof, a flat screen TV, or a good surgeon, you’re not likely to go looking for a salesperson to talk to, or to read through a bunch of corporate website content. Instead, you’ll probably ask neighbors or friends — your peer network — what or whom they’re using.

Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience. In turn, social media firms, such as Facebook, should become expert at enabling this. They can do this by expanding the buyer’s network of peers who can provide trustworthy information and advice based on their own experience with the product or service.

For example, a new firm, Zuberance, makes it easy and enjoyable for a firm’s loyal customers to advocate for the firm on their social media platform of choice. At the moment one of these customers identifies himself as a “promoter” on a survey, they immediately see a form inviting them to write a review or recommendation on any of several social media sites. Once they do, the Zuberance platform populates it to the designated sites, and the promoter’s network instantly knows about his experience with the firm.

Find your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about. This requires a new concept of customer value that goes way beyond customer lifetime value (CLV), which is based only on purchases. There are many other measures of a customer’s potential value, beyond the money they pay you. For example, how large and strategic to your firm is the customer’s network? How respected is she?

One of Microsoft’s “MVP” (Most Valuable Professional) customers is known as Mr. Excel to his followers. On some days, his website gets more visits than Microsoft’s Excel page — representing an audience of obvious importance to Microsoft, which supports Mr. Excel’s efforts with “insider knowledge” and previews of new releases. In return, Mr. Excel and other MVPs like him are helping Microsoft penetrate new markets affordably.

Help them build social capital. Practitioners of this new, community-oriented marketing are also rethinking their customer value proposition for such MVP (or “Customer Champion” or “Rockstar”) customer advocates and influencers. Traditional marketing often tries to encourage customer advocacy with cash rewards, discounts or other untoward inducements. The new marketing helps its advocates and influencers create social capital: it helps them build their affiliation networks, increase their reputation and gives them access to new knowledge — all of which your customer influencers crave.

National Instruments used an especially creative approach with its customer influencers, who were mid-level IT managers at the companies they did business with. NI engaged with them by providing powerful research and financial proof points they could take to senior management, showing that NI solutions were creating strategic benefits. That got NI into the C-suite. It also increased the reputation of the mid-level advocates, who were seen as strategic thinkers bringing new ideas to senior management.

Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide. Perhaps the most spectacular example of this comes from the non-profit world. Some years ago, with the number of teen smokers nation-wide rising to alarming levels, the State of Florida thought anew about its decades-long effort to reduce the problem. What could be more difficult than convincing teen smokers to quit — a problem that Malcolm Gladwell had said couldn’t be solved. Using the techniques for building a community of peer influence, Florida solved it. They sought influential teen “customers” such as student leaders, athletes, and “cool kids,” who weren’t smoking or who wanted to quit — and instead of pushing a message at them, they asked for the students’ help and input.

Approached in this new way, some 600 teens attended a summit on teen smoking, where they told officials why anti-smoking efforts in the past hadn’t worked — dire warnings about the health consequences of smoking, or describing the habit as “being gross,” left them unimpressed. On the spot, the teens brainstormed a new approach: they were outraged by documents showing that tobacco company executives were specifically targeting teens to replace older customers who’d died (often from lung cancer). And so the teens formed a group called SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) who organized train tours and workshops, sold T-shirts and other appealing activities to take their message into local communities. The result: despite a vicious counterattack by Big Tobacco lobbying firms, teen smoking in Florida dropped by nearly half between 1998 and 2007 — by far the biggest success in anti-teen-smoking in history.

Put another way, Florida won half of the “non-buyers” of its anti-teen-smoking “product” away from its much bigger, much better funded competitor. They did so by tapping the best source of buyer motivation: peer influence.

So can you. Traditional marketing may be dead, but the new possibilities of peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.

Bill Lee

Bill Lee

Bill Lee is president of the Lee Consulting Group, Executive Director of the Summit on Customer Engagement, and author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset (HBR Press, June 2012).

Why succession planning is essential for Farm Family Businesses

Posted by admin on August 20, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

The role of leading a family farming business through succession carries with it a very unique set of challenges. Farm businesses have many things going for them – they tend to be flexible, reliable, and proud, they can think long-term, have a strong culture and their people are committed. But they can also carry a daunting set of disadvantages – they can be rigid, inward-looking, unresponsive to change and sometimes swamped by emotional issues. It’s a complex mixture of advantages and disadvantages, costs and benefits, strengths and weaknesses. It is within this challenging context that effective succession planning must function as a catalyst for change and smooth transition between one generation and the next within family farms in Northern Ireland


ONeill highlights the importance of Succession Planning

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has highlighted to farmers that the lack of a Will can lead to the issue of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) being frozen.

Single Farm Payment is claimed by approximately 38,000 farm business across the north. The death, or mental incapacity of the head of holding where no Will has been made can cause significant delays in receiving payment of entitlements such as the SFP and also increase anxiety in an already difficult situation.

The Farm Family Options Mentoring Programme, which is delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme by Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership, provides free, one to one, independent and confidential support including information on succession planning to farm families. This support is available to all farm families and mentors will visit families in their own homes at a time which suits them.

For further information on the Farm Family Options Mentoring Programme, contact Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership on 0845 026 7539 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0845 026 7539      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email:

 ARC North Wes…

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing


ARC North West opening for applications under measures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 early June


Subject to approval, ARC North West will open for applications at the beginning of June 2012 under the above measures of Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme.

If you are from the Council areas of Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Omagh District Council and Strabane District Council and wish to find out more about funding available visit or contact your local office by telephone:



028 8225 0202




028 7136 5151




028 7776 0306




028 7138 2204


 ARC North Wes…

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing


ARC North West opening for applications under measures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 early June


Subject to approval, ARC North West will open for applications at the beginning of June 2012 under the above measures of Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme.

If you are from the Council areas of Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Omagh District Council and Strabane District Council and wish to find out more about funding available visit or contact your local office by telephone:



028 8225 0202




028 7136 5151




028 7776 0306




028 7138 2204


Facilitation Services Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership

Posted by admin on April 04, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

JCR Network Services are pleased to announce the appointment of their Director James Coyle as a service provider for Group Facilitation services for the Supply Chain Development strategy programme under the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership( CARP).The SCD measure seeks to improve the marketing of agriculture produce through developing a culture of collaboration between producers, processors and stakeholders.This measure is primarily aimed at early stage enterprises/projects (producers – farmers and food producers) which have not yet developed relationships with their supply chain partners.It supports farmers working together, and with others, to improve the rewards from their supply chain. This is achieved by providing expert guidance and financial assistance for the formation and development of new and existing Supply Chain groups with a focus on marketing.

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