Top speakers for ‘Enterprising Donegal’ week

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Inishowen’s business community will have the opportunity to meet high-profile media commentator Dr. Maureen Gaffney, social media guru Krishna De and Gerry Duffy, Irish winner of the 2011 UK Ironman contest, who are just some of the high profile speakers lined up for this year’s Enterprising Donegal Business Week.

Organised by Donegal County Enterpri Board, in conjunction with its enterprise partners in Donegal, the aim of the week-long programme of free events is to inspire and motivate people to consider starting their own business and to provide a learning and networking forum for those already in business. It will run from Monday 5th March through to Friday March 9th in venues across the county.

“There is a great mix of guests and some brilliant events this year”, said Michael Tunney, Chief Executive of Donegal County Enterprise Board. “We have lined up some really inspirational speakers along with consultants who can give practical day-to-day advice on how to run a business”.

The week kicks off in Letterkenny at lunchtime on Monday 5th with Debra Searle, entrepreneur, author and adventurer. Debra first hit the headlines when she single-handedly rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic.

In an epic 3 ½ month journey she battled 30 foot waves, sharks and force 8 gales in a 23 foot plywood boat before reaching her destination. Since then she has completed the Yukon River Quest and sailed around the Antarctic. Debra has also launched two companies, published a book and presented regularly for BBC television.

Events continue on Tuesday 6th with a workshop in Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) on generating new business ideas, followed later that day by a Failte Ireland seminar on marketing tourism websites held at the Station House Hotel in Letterkenny. That afternoon in Ballybofey Paula Fitzsimons, a consultant with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) project will speak about gender and entrepreneurship.

On Wednesday two of Ireland’s leading digital marketing experts, Krishna De and Gareth Dunlop, will host a workshop and panel discussion on website design and online strategy for small businesses in An Grianan Hotel, Burt.

Krishna De is an award-winning commentator and social media strategist for companies such as RTE, Bank of Ireland and Diageo. Gareth Dunlop is a respected digital marketing consultant and ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ at the Northern Ireland Science Park. He is also former managing director of digital media firms Tibus and ION Online Marketing.

On Thursday morning the focus will turn to the “Student Enterprise Awards 2012” in the Mount Errigal Hotel Letterkenny, during which there will be a showcase of the finalists and the announcement of the overall winners.

There will also be seminars on controlling cashflow, marketing your business and lean manufacturing.

One of the biggest events of the week will take place on the morning of Friday 9th, when leading broadcaster and academic Dr. Maureen Gaffney headlines a seminar on “Maximizing Your Business Potential Through Wellbeing”. Dr. Gaffney is a regular contributor to the Vincent Browne show, appears frequently on RTE television and radio and is an Irish Times columnist. Her most recent book, “Flourishing”, reached number 1 in the Irish best-seller list. Dr. Gaffney will discuss ways to maintain a positive outlook and increase your mental resilience, beneficial advice for any business people. She will be joined by Gerry Duffy, Irish tri-athlete and author. Gerry rose to public prominence last year when he won the inaugural UK Iron man competition, finishing first by over 22 hours after a gruelling week long endurance test. Claire Burge, founder of GetOrganized, will join the seminar to provide advice on how to increase personal productivity.

Enterprise Donegal Business Week 2012 will wrap up on Friday evening with a “Cook Off” between Inishown TDs Padraig MacLochlainn and Charlie McConologue in Redcastle Hotel, hosted by Community Chef Brian McDermott.