The Business Bulletin


The Business Bulletin
Issue 184 - 21st January 2013

Peter Gay’s Letter from…. Armenia

Editor's Note: We are delighted to include Peter's letters in the Business Bulletin. Over the years, Peter has been a regular correspondent with contributions from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Peter is probably Northern Ireland's most respected and experienced business counsellor, mentor and adviser and has worked all over Europe for a variety of NGOs during the past twenty years. Right now Peter is working in Armenia on a UNICEF project and over the next few weeks, the Bulletin will be carrying his letters on a regular basis.
As my Air France plane gently descended over Yerevan city I could see the snow and ice glittering in the moon light. After a 30 minute anxious wait my luggage eventually appeared and I was happy to see a friendly driver bearing the UNICEF badge.

Off we went into the chill -12° evening. My driver was happy to give me a potted history of the country.

Apparently Armenia was the first country to embrace Christianity some years before Rome making the Armenian Church the oldest in Christendom.

I always wondered why the Americans insist on calling white skinned people Caucasian but I was quickly put right on that, apparently the Caucasus was the cradle of the whites and ancient sites of over 6000 years history are still being discovered all over the country. When asked about the main industry my driver pointed towards the Brandy factory, apparently the Ararat brand is the best. And yes, Mount Ararat is in Armenia.

Now ensconced in my role as consultant in the reform of social services I am learning a lot about the country. Armenia is one of the poorest countries in the region and here are some of the reasons. Armenia went to war with neighbouring Azerbaijan over the Nagoro Karabakh region. You might remember this little war back in the 90s, when after the collapse of the USSR Karabakh was ceded to Azerbaijan even though it had historically been part of Armenia and has an 85% Armenian population. Armenia won that war but continues to pay a heavy price for its victory. Karabakh is now an autonomous territory, a bit like Turkish Cyprus and its recognised by no country except Armenia.

The real sting is that the border with Azerbaijan is closed and mined and the Turkish border is also closed (the Turks coming out in sympathy). Of course Armenia has its own long standing dispute with Turkey over the alleged genocide of Armenian people living in Turkey in 1915. What this means is the Armenia has only 2 borders open, with Georgia and Iran. Everything that is imported or exported must come through these 2 borders and this has had a detrimental effect on the economy. The relationship with Iran is interesting, 2 countries with apparently nothing in common are friends, perhaps a case of my enemy’s enemy……

Sadly the effect of the war and disputes with neighbours is all too apparent in the economy. Also military service is compulsory for all males from 18-20.

Very low wages, high unemployment, almost no manufacturing and a diaspora of folk living all over the world. Apparently there are more Armenians living outside the country that inside it.  So, I see some parallels with our own country and some of them salutary lessons. The world has forgotten this place, it attracts almost no inward investment and its brightest and best want to emigrate.

I visited a special needs school today, a run down Soviet building with staff doing their best with children with various disabilities and none other than poverty. It was the kind of place you really wouldn’t want anyone close to you to ever have to enter.

My job is to lead the project to close these places down and to replace them with community based services. Right now it feels a bit like a big ask. Next week I travel down country to the region beside the Iranian border; its our pilot region. More of that later.

One last thought, Armenia does have one good market; gambling and drinking holidays from folk living south of the border where such things are verboten!

You can send your comments to Peter here -  Peter Gay, Yerevan, January 2013
Where do Astronauts drink?

Get the answer here......

WorldHost Customer Service Training helps businesses gain a competitive advantage

With Northern Ireland currently hosting an impressive series of events, celebrations and new visitor attraction launches, we need to provide worldclass customer service to our visitors. For just £20 per participant, this practical, activity-based, 2-day customer training course will help businesses gain a competitive edge and build repeat business through customer service excellence and providing a world class welcome to all visitors. It also includes a half-day trip to local tourist attractions.

Who is WorldHost Training for?
Private businesses in the retail, tourism, hospitality, leisure and passenger sectors with under 250 employees

How much does the course cost?
Only £20 per person - discounted from the full £190 cost as the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) are paying 90% of the course cost (£170). The Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the sector skills council People 1st and the Department of Employment and Learning are working in partnership to provide this WorldHost customer service training.

Course Dates and Venues

Lurgan – 21 & 28 January
Antrim - 4 & 11 February
Lisburn - 5 & 12 February
Ballymena - 18 & 19 February
Banbridge and Cookstown - 25 Feb & 4 March

To find out more, please call Lynda Willis on 07773 423675 or email

Google immersion
25 January 2013, 09:30, Dublin 2, CPD 2.5 hours.
This event has been designed to enhance marketers' understanding of various aspects of digital marketing including search, pay per click, display, video, mobile and the future according to Google. It also includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Google headquarters.

Business change in a digital age
19 February 2013, 12:00, Belfast, CPD 1 hour.
Múirne Laffan, managing director at RTÉ Digital, through innovative examples will show how RTÉ is placing content at the core of its development. Krishna De provides practical guidance on how to integrate social technologies into your marketing and PR communications. In association with CIPR Northern Ireland.

The Pitch NI
22 February 2013, 17:00, Belfast, CPD 1 hour.
The competition grand final in which the remaining three teams of marketing students present a potential marketing strategy for a brief provided by our sponsor, Subway. Will you agree with the judges' decision?


Simply register to come to one of our upcoming information seminars where you will find out more about the Programme. Please note that these are FREE to attend. Details of the information seminars are as follows:
29 January 13
Banbridge Enterprise Agency, Scarva Road Industrial Estate, Scarva Road, Banbridge BT32 3BQ
17:00 – 18:30
6 February 13
SIGNAL, Enterprise House, Balloo Avenue, Balloo Industrial Estate, Bangor BT19 7QT
17:00 – 18:30
13 February 13
Fairways Hotel, Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth .
17:00 – 18:30

Simply call Conor at Full Circle on + 44 28 90 691027 or send us an email at

First Edition Publications specialises in the management, publication and production of books, booklets, company reports, calendars, feasibility studies, manuals and specialist handbooks.

The company has particular expertise in the area of short runs of publications – this can range from as few as twenty to a few thousand. This means that, as far as authors are concerned, the financial risk can largely be taken out of publishing, especially for those authors active in areas of specialist interest.

If you are a professional speaker with an archive of resource material, then First Edition Publications can help you maximise your earning potential. By simply converting these resources into a published work, your audience will have access to a permanent record of your session and what’s more, you will be in a position to command a higher fee by virtue of the fact that you are a published author.

Published speakers, with a published track record, command a premium fee. In many cases, speakers can also offer a copy of the published work at a preferential rate for each participant in the session thereby increasing their yield from a speaking engagement.  Published speakers also generate most of their business from referrals which means that their level of repeat business is also significantly higher than the nor.

In this way, the speaker gains in two ways – the first is a premium rate as a published speaker and the second is an additional margin on the publications supplied as a support resource to the session concerned.

And this is where First Edition Publications can help the professional speaker, business trainer and business coach maximise each speaking and training opportunity.

After all, isn’t your published work the ultimate calling card

Contact Joe at - 0044 7970 430 155


For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.

Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.Ref: AUG374716Ref: OCT397775

71441 - - PLATO EBR Programme Mentoring Expertise
Publication date: 17-01-2013
Response deadline: 06-02-2013 16:00 GMT
Procedure: Competitive Dialogue (NON OJEU)Description: PLATO EBR seeks quotations from suitably qualified Individuals and/or organisations for the provision of mentoring expertise to support the SME participants of PLATO Group Activity. Approximately 15 companies will be recruited into 16 Groups within the East Border Region.
Buyer: Monaghan County Enterprise Board
71502 - Cavan Gathering 2013 Guide - A Gathering Festivals & Events Guide 2013 is currently being compiled
Publication date: 18-01-2013
Response deadline: 04-02-2013 17:00 GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (NON OJEU)Description: A Gathering Festivals & Events Guide 2013 is currently being compiled for County Cavan and this will be a key promotional and marketing tool. The Guide will list all festivals and events (over 120) taking place in Cavan throughout 2013. This guide will be branded as ‘The Gathering Ireland Cavan 2013’ guide and will be widely distributed. In addition to the Guide, various promotional materials will be required.
Buyer: Cavan County Council
71294 - Project_11031 - InterTradeIreland - Creative Design, Advertising, Print and Related Services
Publication date: 15-01-2013
Response deadline: 25-02-2013 15:00 GMT
Procedure: PINDescription: InterTradeIreland wishes to appoint a suitably qualified Contractor to provide creative design, advertising, print and related services for its corporate and programme communications.  To respond to a tender, you will first need to register on this site using the Register button. You will be sent a password via email, giving you secure access to the site. You can then login with your username and password. I have attached the link to the website below.
Buyer: Central Procurement Directorate
NPT Fabio System Software Licence
Friends & Family Test - Nottingham University Hosptials Trust
UK-Gatwick: Public address systems
UK-Warrington: Data services
UK-Glasgow: Industry specific software package
UK-Uxbridge: Software package and information systems
UK-Downpatrick: Ticket-issuing machines
UK-London: Data capture services
UK-Pontypool: Software package and information systems
UK-Ayr: Construction work for buildings relating to health
UK-Manchester: System management software development services
Provision of a Collective Energy Switching Scheme for the Residents of the London Borough of Hackney
UK-Liverpool: Software package and information systems
UK-London: Customer Relation Management software development services
UK-Bristol: Inventory management software package
UK-Bournemouth: Document management software package
UK-Dumbarton: Information systems or technology strategic review and planning services
UK-Loughborough: Customer Relation Management software package
UK-Cardiff: Data capture services
UK-Cwmbran: Software package and information systems
An Impact Evaluation of the High Value Opportunities Programme
Lease of Radio Frequency Identifier (RFID) reader
GB-Trent: Independent Housing Advice and Money Advice
Provision of a Treasury Advisory Service to The Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex
Independent Analysis of the Economic Benefits of the Provision of Crossrail Services to Heathrow Airport
Invitation to Tender for the Provision of an additional storage array to the existing ULCC storage infrastructure
Invitation to Tender - ICT Research Services - HMT1133
GB-Stoke on Trent: Tender for the Supply & Delivery of Office Furniture
Provision of a Collective Energy Switching Scheme for the Residents of the London Borough of Hackney

Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

First Edition Publications


First Edition Publications, The Technology Centre, Townsend Enterprise Park, Townsend St., BELFAST BT13 2ES 

T 028 90435778 | M 07970430155 | | | SKYPE id: gi4cso

The contents of this email and any attachments are the property of the organisation named above and are intended for the confidential use of the named recipients only. If you are not the intended recipient please notify us immediately. Any disclosure, copying or distribution is prohibited. We accept no responsibility or liability in respect of the email other than to the addressee. Any files attached to this email will have been checked with virus detection software before transmission. However, you should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage, which may be caused by software viruses.


Join SERC in Market Square, Lisburn on Thursday 24/1/2013 at 17:30 for a FREE seminar on eCommerce for Retailers. We'll be joined by eCommerce expert, Domingos Ferreira from Quantum Outsource. Domingos will address the following questions and take part in a Q&A to address your individual queries.

  • Where do I start?
  • What do I need my site to do?
  • How do I get paid?
  • How do I manage my site?
  • How do I support my site?
  • How do people get to know about me?
  • How do I measure my sites’ performance?
  • What are some of the key success factors when using e-commerce to sell online?

Places are very limited, so click here to book now for this FREE event. Tea, coffee & sandwiches will be provided.


O’Kane Resourcing can now offer an extended range of services including the following:

Executive search & selection (includes technical positions)

Organisational executive outplacement and career support for individuals

Interim management solutions

Transport Manager – FMCG Ulster
Project Engineering Manager – Co. Armagh
PA to Chairman – Co. Down
Maintenance Manager - Food Sector Co. Armagh
NPD / Operations Technical Manager – Food Sector Co. Louth
Senior Electronics Engineer – Belfast
Senior Software Engineer - Belfast
Travel Co-Ordinator – Handle all in-house travel and related logistical requirements
Operations Manager Foodservice – Dublin
Head of Procurement – Food sector
Warehouse Manager – Dublin
Human Resources Manager - Manufacturing GB
Engineering Project Manager – Armagh
Mechanical Design Engineer – Antrim
Logistics Manager with HMRC Import / Export experience, Co. Down
Engineering Manager – Senior Management Position
Senior Product NPD Technologist – based in GB
Cost Accountant –Manufacturing Armagh
Business Unit (Production) Manager - Dungannon
Technical Manager – Mechanical engineering / manufacturing / R&D
Contracts Manager - Belfast
Sales Manager with German – Engineering £40k base plus excellent commission

Contact: Conor MacNamara

O’Kane Resourcing
M: 079 681 60122
T: 028 308 29707

Individual Consulting Contracts

International Experts Evaluation Panel
United Nations. Deadline: 11 January 2013

Ukraine: Agribusiness Finance Training Consultant
World Bank. Deadline: 13 January 2013

Africa: Climate Change Knowledge Management and Reporting Consultant
United Nations. Deadline: 15 January 2013

Caribbean: Regional Training Centre Development - ICT Consultant
World Bank. Deadline: 29 January 2013

Colombia: Port Investment Evaluation Consultant
World Bank. Deadline: 30 January 2013

EU Independent Experts in Research and Innovation - Framework
European Union. Deadline: 18 April 2015

"Is your business struggling?
A new documentary series for BBC Worldwide channels could help.”

BBC Worldwide channels has asked us to tell you that it is making a documentary series about small and medium sized businesses in the UK and the struggles they face.

If your response is YES to the questions below please get in touch!

If you run a company of ten to a hundred staff, they'd love to hear your story!
You can contact them at:

Two free online business performance tools have been launched.

The Business Diagnostic tool and the Leadership and Management Skills Assessment tool.

Read more & acess the diagnostic tools from here...

The Department for Employment & Learning has introduced the new Youth Employment Scheme (YES)

What are the benefits to you, as employer:

You will get financial assistance to either provide the ideal candidate with work experience (£250), with a skills development programme (up to £750); or with an enhanced employer subsidy for giving the right person employment (£5,000 towards their salary).

As you know, the current financial climate makes it ever-more difficult for our youth to find employment and if you have any desire to fulfil a moral obligation to help the workforce of the future YES offers a cost-effective way of 'try before you buy' - ensuring you have the right candidate for any job opportunity that may arise.

The advantage for the Employment Service will be that the young person who volunteers for this opportunity is given some real work experience, gaining knowledge, skills and trialling specific job roles; and also you, as employer, will be able to provide a much-sought after reference at the end of the programme.

I can assure you there is no cost to you should things not work out; and because candidates are not under obligation to apply for these opportunities, you are more likely to meet the right person for the opportunity, someone who will fit into your team and enhance your workforce.

In order to provide you with further information on this a briefing session will be held in Townsend Enterprise Park Belfast on Wednesday 23rd January between 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Staff will in available for you to drop in and have a chat with them .

If you are unable to make it on that date you contact Jacqueline Adamson directly by e-mail:

Kick of the New Year in our New Sunday League!

Come and enjoy getting fit or running of those extra pounds on Sunday Afternoons with NI Football (Northern Irelands largest small sided league provider). We are delighted to announce due to popular demand of our 6 A Side football, that were starting a new division on Sunday Jan 13th at PlayBall Stormont.

The New league will run on Sunday Afternoons from 1.00 to 4.00 on the 6 A side court at 40 minute intervals allowing two periods of 20 minutes each way.

All teams will be required to pay a £30 entry fee Upfront through Paypal to or meeting up on and arranged Ni Football Night. Match costs will be charged at the competitive rate of pay £32 per game, per team.

Every Team is required to fill out our code of conduct which is downloadable from the site and can be emailed back to me at any stage before entering the leagues.

And please be quick as places are limited. To enter Contact Ian in the usual way on 07871966833 or

Pass on this great opportunity to your friends and colleagues.
Ian Martin
NI Football Social Community Leagues
Developing Social Change Through Football
Mobile: 07871966833

Sales Training

The process for converting suspects into prospects, prospects into leads, leads into customers is a process.

Can you perfect it?

See the video here

Are you.....

A Graduate entering the career/job market?
A School leaver entering the career/job market?
Are you a Job Changer?
Are you planning a Career change?
Are you aJob returner?
Are you affected by redundancy?

For us all, seeking employment and the opportunity to put newly, hard won qualifications in practice, is a serious business in a very competitive environment and while academic or vocational achievement is much sought after by employers, this is far from the whole story.

Increasingly, employers find it difficult to differentiate candidates on the grounds solely of academic achievement and this means that a well structured and appropriate CV is a must to get yourself into the frame and on the road to a career.Thereafter, performance at interview becomes the game changer.

And unfortunately, that’s where many excellent job applicants have difficulties – Our colleges and Universities excel at the academic side and while they do their best to embed the importance of a strong CV and an understanding of the interview process on their students, the effort fails in the face of more pressing priorities.

If you need help in this area, then contact Bernadette Hendron right away - she can help with personal coaching on how to present your CV and improve your interview skills. She can provide coaching on a one to one basis either office based or on-line via SKYPE.

Bernadette Hendron
 - Managing Director
Breakthrough Recruitment Ltd
02838 396 544
07970 875 039


The current economic downturn has affected us all to a greater or lesser extent. No one has been left untouched and while those involved in the construction sector have been probably the most affected, the impact has rippled far beyond that.

Many others have felt the cold breeze of recession recently and there is clear evidence that there are many who previously provided professional services to this sector, such as lawyers, architects, surveyors who have also been profoundly affected.

Cuts in the public sector are also contributing to an ever increasing group of professionals from all sorts of backgrounds who are competing for employment in a rapidly contracting economic environment.

Many are competing for jobs that they would never have considered previously and at a much reduced wage or salary. Many are also young people who do not have the buffer of an occupational pension but the common denominator across gender and age is that they all have a choice of five options:

Walk away and smell the coffee
Move elsewhere
Retrain for another skill
Complete for employment in another area at a reduced rate of reward
Consider self employment

The Professionals into Business Programme has been specifically developed to assist those former professionals who wish to pursue self employment as an option.

The programme will also include free business premises at Townsend Enterprise Park for a limited period.While the previous InvestNI “Go for It” programme was very successful, its main weakness was the one size fits all approach.

The five session basic training model does not fit all by any means and theProfessionals into Business Programme recognises and addresses this important shortfall. It is very difficult for even the most motivated aspirant to self employment to produce a detailed business plan after five short training sessions of three hours duration.

Townsend Enterprise Park Ltd has always fully supported business development initiatives which have the potential to create employment and prosperity.

Read the current

You can contact
First Edition Publications
in a number of ways
by phone: +44 (0) 2890 435778,
+44 (0) 7970 430 155,
+353 (0) 862 530 480,
+353 (0) 877 826659

We are located at the Technology Centre,
Townsend Enterprise Park
Townsend Street,


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